The Pittsburgh Penguins can clinch the Metropolitan Division on Tuesday, while the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning can secure a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Here are the scenarios:
The Penguins would clinch the Metropolitan Division title if they defeat the Hurricanes in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Hurricanes AND the Flyers lose to the Blues in any fashion OR if the Flyers lose to the Blues in regulation.
The Canadiens would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they defeat the Lightning in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Lightning AND the Capitals lose to the Stars in any fashion OR if the Capitals lose to the Stars in regulation AND the Devils lose to the Sabres in any fashion.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
The Lightning would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they defeat the Canadiens in any fashion AND the Capitals lose to the Stars in regulation AND the Devils lose to the Sabres in any fashion.
The Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins are the only teams in the Eastern Conference to have clinched a postseason spot. The St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks are in from the Western Conference.
IF THE PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY ...
The Stanley Cup Playoffs consist of 16 teams, eight in each conference, but it is now division-based and a wild-card system has been added.
The top three teams in each division will make up the first 12 teams in the playoffs. The remaining four spots will be filled by the next two highest-placed finishers in each conference, based on regular-season points and regardless of division. It is possible for one division to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends three.
Seeding of the wild-card teams within each divisional playoff will be determined on the basis of regular-season points. The division winner with the most points in the conference will be matched against the wild-card team with the fewest points; the division winner with the second-most points in the conference will play the wild-card team with the second-fewest points.
The teams finishing second and third in each division will play in the first round of the playoffs. There is no reseeding as the tournament moves to the second round and winners of that series advance to the conference championship series and the right to play in the Stanley Cup Final.