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Lightning, Islanders, Wild could be next in playoffs

Plus Panthers can clinch first place in Atlantic Division @NHLdotcom

With less than a week to go in the regular season, five Stanley Cup Playoff berths remain available, but three of them can be earned Tuesday.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, who missed a chance to clinch a berth Monday, play at the New York Rangers (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports, MSG) needing one point or a Boston Bruins loss against the Carolina Hurricanes (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, NESN, NHL.TV) to get in. The New York Islanders, who defeated Tampa Bay on Monday, also can clinch a berth Tuesday against the Washington Capitals (7 p.m. ET; MSG+2, CSN-DC, NHL.TV).

In the Western Conference, the Minnesota Wild can clinch the final available berth. The Wild, who play the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; CSN-CA+, FS-N, NHL.TV), have a five-point lead on the Colorado Avalanche, who have a game in hand and play Tuesday against the Nashville Predators (8 p.m. ET; ALT, FS-TN, NHL.TV).

On Monday the New York Rangers became the fourth team in the Eastern Conference to gain a berth into the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 4-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It's the sixth straight season the Rangers have made it to the postseason. The Rangers trail the Pittsburgh Penguins by three points for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

Each day, takes a look at the playoff picture.


* The Lightning will clinch a playoff berth if they get at least one point against the Rangers OR if the Bruins lose to the Hurricanes in any fashion.

* The Islanders will clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Capitals in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Capitals AND the Bruins lose to the Hurricanes in any fashion OR if the Bruins lose to the Hurricanes in regulation.

* The Florida Panthers will clinch the Atlantic Division title if they defeat the Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, RDS, SNE, NHL.TV) in any fashion AND the Lightning lose to the Rangers in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Canadiens AND the Lightning lose to the Rangers in regulation.

* The Wild will clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Sharks in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Sharks AND the Avalanche lose to the Predators in any fashion OR if the Avalanche lose to the Predators in regulation.


Carolina Hurricanes at Boston Bruins: The Bruins, who have three regular-season games remaining, are one point behind in two races. The Bruins have 90 points, one fewer than the Detroit Red Wings for third place in the Atlantic Division with an equal amount of games played (79). The Philadelphia Flyers, who hold the final wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference, also have 91 points as well as one game in hand on the Bruins. Following the Bruins' game against the Hurricanes, the Flyers and Red Wings will play Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena, and then the Red Wings play the Bruins at TD Garden on Thursday.

Video: BOS@CHI: Bergeron deflects home shot to trim deficit


The Florida Panthers won their third straight game Monday and 700th in history, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 at Air Canada Centre. The win, combined with the Lightning loss to the Islanders at Barclays Center, allowed the Panthers to move four points ahead of the Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division. The Panthers can clinch the division title Tuesday. The Panthers' 99 points are a team record, surpassing the 98 points of 1999-00.


The St. Louis Blues scored five goals in a row, including four in the third period, to beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-2 on Monday. It was the Blues' seventh win in their past eight games (7-1-0). The win gave the Blues 105 points, the same as the Dallas Stars. But the Stars remain atop the division and the Western Conference because they have 46 regulation/overtime wins (ROW) to 43 for the Blues. The Blues and Stars each have two regular-season games remaining


The Los Angeles Kings lost 3-2 to the Vancouver Canucks on Monday, missing a chance to move ahead of the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division. Ryan Miller made 40 saves and the Canucks, who trailed 2-1 midway through the second period, won their third straight game. The Kings, who play the Calgary Flames on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; KCOP-13, SNW, NHL.TV), have 97 points with two games remaining. The Ducks have 98 points and one game in hand; they play the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN3).


The Islanders not only can clinch a playoff berth Tuesday, they have a chance to pass the Rangers for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Islanders have one game in hand on the Rangers because of a blizzard makeup game they will play Sunday against the Flyers. The New York teams will play Thursday at Madison Square Garden; the Islanders have won the first three games this season.

Best potential first-round matchup:

New York Rangers vs. Florida Panthers: If the Islanders pass the Rangers in the Metropolitan Division, this rematch of a 1997 first-round series could happen. The Panthers were the higher seed but the Rangers had Wayne Gretzky, and his hat trick in Game 4 helped the Rangers advance. If they play this time the Panthers would again be the higher seed but they would have Jaromir Jagr.

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