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Playoff picture taking shape on final day of season

NHL news and notes

by NHL Public Relations @PR_NHL / NHL.com

Brown's go-ahead redirect

PIT@TOR: Brown roofs perfect deflection late in 3rd

Connor Brown perfectly redirects Jake Gardiner's shot into the upper part of the net, giving the Maple Leafs a 4-3 lead late in the 3rd period

  • 01:12 •
WHERE WE STAND

One Stanley Cup Playoff berth, five playoff positions and two first round matchups were decided during games Saturday:

* The Toronto Maple Leafs overcame a third-period deficit to defeat the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and clinch the final berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

* The St. Louis Blues earned a shootout win to clinch the No. 3 seed in the Central Division and set up a Western Conference First Round matchup with the Minnesota Wild, who have home ice as the No. 2 seed. Minnesota won the only other postseason series between the Blues and Wild, a six-game series in the 2015 first round.

* The Predators locked up the second wild card into the playoffs from the West by virtue of their regulation loss and will face the Chicago Blackhawks, owners of the No. 1 seed, in the first round. Chicago defeated Nashville in six games in the 2010 Conference Quarterfinals and 2015 first round, their only other postseason series.

* The Ottawa Senators clinched the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Division by virtue of their win against the New York Rangers. Ottawa will face either the Maple Leafs or Boston Bruins in the first round.

* The San Jose Sharks clinched the No. 3 seed in the Pacific Division by virtue of the Edmonton Oilers' win against the Vancouver Canucks. San Jose will face either the Anaheim Ducks or Oilers in the opening round.

* The Calgary Flames clinched the first wild card from the West by virtue of Nashville's regulation loss. Calgary will start the opening round on the road against either the Ducks or Oilers.

Video: Elias and Cunningham honored, Matthews records 40th

 

Confirmed First Round Matchups

Western Conference
(No. 1 Central) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (No. 2 wild card) Nashville Predators
(No. 2 Central) Minnesota Wild vs. (No. 3 Central) St. Louis Blues

Eastern Conference
(No. 1 Atlantic) Montreal Canadiens vs. (No. 1 wild card) New York Rangers
(No. 2 Metropolitan) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (No. 3 Metropolitan) Columbus Blue Jackets

 

Potential First Round Matchups

Western Conference
(No. 1 Pacific) Anaheim Ducks OR Edmonton Oilers vs. (No. 1 wild card) Calgary Flames
(No. 2 Pacific) Ducks OR Oilers vs. (No. 3 Pacific) Sharks

Eastern Conference
(No. 1 Metropolitan) Washington Capitals vs. (No. 2 wild card) Boston Bruins OR Toronto Maple Leafs
(No. 2 Atlantic) Ottawa Senators vs. (No. 3 Atlantic) Bruins OR Maple Leafs

 

SNEAK PEEK AT SUNDAY'S ACTION

All Times Eastern
New Jersey @ Detroit, 5 p.m., SN1, FS-D, MSG+ 2
Buffalo @ Tampa Bay, 5 p.m., SUN, MSG-B
Ottawa @ NY Islanders, 5 p.m., MSG+, RDS2, TSN5
Colorado @ St. Louis, 6 p.m., FS-MW, ALT2
Columbus @ Toronto, 6 p.m., SN, TVA Sports, FS-O
Pittsburgh @ NY Rangers, 7 p.m., MSG, ROOT
Carolina @ Philadelphia, 7 p.m., CSN-PH, FS-CR
Florida @ Washington, 7 p.m., CSN-DC, FS-F
Los Angeles @ Anaheim, 8:30 p.m., SN1, PRIME, FS-W
Vancouver @ Edmonton, 9 p.m., SN

 

PACIFIC DIVISION TITLE TO BE DECIDED ON FINAL DAY OF 2016-17

The final two games of the 2016-17 regular season will determine first place in the Pacific Division when the Ducks (45-23-13, 103 points) and Oilers (46-26-9, 101 points) vie for the No. 1 seed. Anaheim welcomes the Los Angeles Kings (39-35-7, 85 points) to Honda Center, where they have earned points in nine straight games (8-0-1); the Ducks also have earned points in their past 13 games (10-0-3). Edmonton, meanwhile, hosts the Canucks in the finale of a home-and-home; the Oilers have won eight consecutive home games -- equaling their record -- and 11 of their past 13 games overall. The teams hold 42 ROW apiece, however the Oilers lead the season series tiebreaker.

 

JOE LOUIS ARENA SET FOR FINAL NHL GAME

Henrik Zetterberg will skate in his 1,000th regular-season game when the Detroit Red Wings host the New Jersey Devils in the final NHL game at Joe Louis Arena. The 36-year-old captain, who has spent his entire career with the Red Wings, leads them with 66 points (16 goals, 50 assists) in 81 games this season. Current players and alumni will walk a red carpet to enter The Joe during a pregame event, with the celebration for the "Farewell Weekend at The Joe" culminating with an hour-long "Farewell to the Joe Ceremony" immediately following the game.

 

SATURDAY'S RESULTS

Home Team in Caps
OTTAWA 3, NY Rangers 1
PHILADELPHIA 4, Columbus 2
Washington 3, BOSTON 1
LOS ANGELES 3, Chicago 2 (OT)
NY Islanders 4, NEW JERSEY 2
WINNIPEG 2, Nashville 1
TORONTO 5, Pittsburgh 3
Montreal 3, DETROIT 2 (OT)
FLORIDA 3, Buffalo 0
St. Louis 5, CAROLINA 4 (SO)
DALLAS 4, Colorado 3 (SO)
Minnesota 3, ARIZONA 1
Edmonton 3, VANCOUVER 2
SAN JOSE 3, Calgary 1

 

MATTHEWS SCORES 40TH GOAL, MAPLE LEAFS CLINCH FINAL PLAYOFF BERTH

Rookies Kasperi Kapanen, Connor Brown and Auston Matthews each scored in the final 5:30 of the third period to help the Maple Leafs erase a 3-2 deficit and clinch the final berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the 66th postseason appearance in their history.

Video: PIT@TOR: Matthews seals crucial win with empty-netter

* Matthews (1-1-2) scored his 40th goal of the season to move into a share of second in the NHL, four back of Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby (44). He is the second Maple Leafs player to reach the 40-goal mark in the past 22 seasons, joining former captain Mats Sundin, who scored 41 goals in 1996-97 and 2001-02 (82 GP in each).

* Matthews, 19, leads all rookies with 69 points (40 goals, 29 assists) this season (81 GP). Elias notes that Matthews became the fourth rookie in NHL history to score 40 goals in a season before celebrating his 20th birthday, following Dale Hawerchuk (45 G in 1981-82), Sylvain Turgeon (40 G in 1983-84) and Mario Lemieux (43 G in 1984-85).

* Kapanen tied the game with his first NHL goal (16 GP), while Brown became the third Maple Leafs rookie to reach the 20-goal mark this season.

 

McDAVID, OILERS CONTINUE PURSUIT OF SCORING AND DIVISION TITLES

Connor McDavid earned an assist in the third period to extend his point streak to 13 games (7-16-23) and move the Oilers (46-26-9, 101 points) to within two points of the idle Ducks (45-23-13, 103 points) for first place in the Pacific Division.

* Edmonton has won 11 of its past 13 games to hit the 100-point mark for the seventh time in its history and first since 1986-87 (50-24-6, 106 points).

Video: EDM@VAN: McDavid, Letestu connect for power-play goal

* Elias notes that McDavid is the first Oilers player to earn points in at least 13 consecutive games since Esa Tikkanen had an equal run from Feb. 17 - March 15, 1989 (7-14-21). His point streak is the longest by an NHL player since Shayne Gostisbehere had 15-game run from Jan. 19 - Feb. 20, 2016 (5-13-18).

* McDavid (30-68-98 in 81 GP) leads the NHL in assists and holds a nine-point lead over Patrick Kane (34-55-89 in 82 GP) and Sidney Crosby (44-45-89 in 75 GP) in the race for the Art Ross Trophy as the League's top point-getter. Only one Oilers player has reached the 100-point mark over the past 26 seasons: Doug Weight in 1995-96 (25-79-104 in 82 GP).

 

NEW FACES GUIDE PLAYOFF-BOUND TEAMS

The Capitals, Wild and Senators received winning goals from players added before or during the 2016-17 regular season:

* Kevin Shattenkirk helped the Capitals to an 11-1-1 record in their past 13 games and they became became the second team in NHL history to earn at least 55 wins in consecutive seasons. At 55-18-8 (118 points), the Presidents' Trophy-winners sit one victory shy of matching a single-season Capitals record set in 2015-16 (56-18-8, 120 points).

Tweet from @PR_NHL: The @Capitals are the second team in NHL history to register 55+ wins in consecutive seasons, joining Montreal (1975-76, 1976-77, 1977-78). pic.twitter.com/1oXMVvRuJP

* Eric Staal (GWG) helped the Wild (49-25-8, 106 points) finish 2016-17 with four straight wins and Wild records for wins and points in a season. Martin Hanzal, who was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes on Feb. 26, scored against his former team to reach the 20-goal mark for the first time in his NHL career.

* Derick Brassard scored the winning goal against his former team -- with assists to fellow Senators newcomers Viktor Stalberg and Alexandre Burrows -- when Ottawa clinched the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Division.

 

KINGS MOUNT COMEBACK WIN IN FINAL HOME GAME CALLED BY BOB MILLER

With play-by-play announcer Bob Miller back in the broadcast booth for the penultimate game of his Hall of Fame career, Dustin Brown tied the score with 55 seconds left in the third period and Drew Doughty scored 27 seconds into overtime to help the Kings win their final home game of the season.

* The voice of the Kings for the past 44 years, Miller was honored with a pregame Fan Fest, on-ice logos and special warmup jerseys.

Video: CHI@LAK: Miller calls a comeback in final home game

 

PLAYERS, CLUBS MATCH AND SET RECORDS IN SEASON FINALES

* Forward Alex Galchenyuk scored in overtime to lift the Canadiens to victory in their regular-season finale and last visit to Joe Louis Arena. Galchenyuk tied an NHL record with his fifth overtime goal of the season, equaling a mark set by Steven Stamkos in 2011-12 and matched by Jonathan Toews in 2015-16.

* Captain Blake Wheeler scored the go-ahead goal with 44.6 seconds left in the third period to help Winnipeg end the season on a seven-game winning streak, establishing a new Jets/Thrashers franchise record. Wheeler ended the season with points in eight straight games (4-7-11).

* San Jose's Brent Burns (0-1-1) earned his 76th point of the season (29-47-76) to lead it to victory and establish a single-season Sharks record for points by a defenseman.

 

LOOSE PUCKS

Jeff Skinner (2-0-2) scored for the 14th time in his past 13 games (14-3-17). He ranks sixth in the NHL with an NHL career-high 37 goals, the most by a Carolina Hurricanes player since Eric Staal scored 40 in 2008-09 . . . Penguins rookie Jake Guentzel (1-1-2) scored for a fifth consecutive game (5-3-8) . . . Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr (0-2-2) reached the 30-assist mark for the 22nd time in 23 NHL seasons . . . Seth Jones scored his 12th goal to match a single-season Blue Jackets record for goals by a defenseman . . . Members of the Hurricanes organization surprised Bryan Bickell byparticipating in the 2017 MS Walk outside PNC Arena. Bickell announced Saturday that he will retire from the NHL after Carolina's final game . . . Kraft Hockeyville USA announced the top 10 finalists . . . Former Devils forward Patrik Elias, who announced his retirement last week, skated one last lap at Prudential Center.

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