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Playoff Platter: Capitals can be first to clinch

Washington hosts Hurricanes; Philadelphia can tighten wild-card race @NHL

The end of the NHL regular season is less than four weeks away, and not one team has clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, setting up what should be a wild finish.

Each day, will take a closer look at the playoff races.


The Washington Capitals, who had a chance to clinch a spot in the playoffs Saturday and Sunday, will try to do it Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, CSN-DC, NHL.TV). The Capitals can clinch a playoff berth:

* If they get at least one point against the Hurricanes; OR

* If the Flyers defeat the Red Wings in regulation; OR

* If the Islanders defeat the Penguins in regulation; OR

* If the Red Wings defeat the Flyers in regulation AND the Islanders defeat the Penguins in any fashion.


Detroit at Philadelphia (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, FS-D, CSN-PHI): The fact the Flyers are in the playoff picture this late is the season is a testament to the job first-year coach Dave Hakstol has done and the roster general manager Ron Hextall has put together. The Flyers, 7-2-1 in their past 10 games, trail the Red Wings by three points for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference with two games in hand. A win against Detroit, which was shut out by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday, would put the Flyers in great shape. A loss would drop them five points behind the Red Wings with 14 games to go. 

Video: NYR@DET: Richards ties it with 32 seconds left


The Nashville Predators opened up a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche for the first wild card from the Western Conference with a 3-2 win at the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. Nashville, 7-1-2 in its past 10, trails the Chicago Blackhawks by five points for third place in the Central Division.


Jonathan Quick made 32 saves Monday in the Los Angeles Kings' 5-0 win against the Blackhawks. It was his 41st career shutout, the most by a U.S.-born goalie. The Kings, 7-2-1 in their past 10, maintained a two-point lead over the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division and trail the Dallas Stars by four points (with two games in hand) for the No. 1 seed in Western Conference. The St. Louis Blues, tied with Dallas at 91 points, are second in the conference.


The Vancouver Canucks, with a chance to climb to within six points of Colorado and Minnesota for the second wild card from the Western Conference, lost at home 5-2 against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday. The Canucks, who have a game in hand on the Wild and two on the Avalanche, host Colorado on Wednesday.

Video: WPG@VAN: Virtanen hammers home turnover in the 3rd

Best potential first-round matchup: 

It has been 22 years since the New York Rangers and New York Islanders last met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs - the Rangers swept the four-game first-round series on their way to the Stanley Cup in 1994 - and it's about time for another series. The Islanders, who were a Game 7 win away from playing their rivals in the second round last season, have won all three meetings against the Rangers this season, including two at Barclays Center. With their 3-2 win against the Florida Panthers on Monday, the Islanders trail the Rangers by one point for second place - and the chance for home-ice advantage in the first round -- in the Metropolitan Division with two games in hand.

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