The Philadelphia Flyers and Minnesota Wild can secure a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday. Here are the scenarios:
The Flyers would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they defeat the Florida Panthers in any fashion.
The Wild would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they get at least one point against the Boston Bruins OR if Phoenix Coyotes lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets in any fashion or defeat the Blue Jackets in a shootout OR if the Dallas Stars lose to the Nashville Predators in any fashion.
In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers have already qualified for the playoffs. The St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings have locked down a spot in the postseason from the Western Conference.
As has been the case since 1979-80, 16 teams will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This season, however, the format is a set bracket that is largely division-based with wild cards.
IF THE PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY ...
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 record and regardless of division. It is possible for one division in each conference to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends just three.
In the First Round, the division winner with the best record in each conference will be matched against the wild-card team with the lesser record; the wild card team with the better record will play the other division winner.
The teams finishing second and third in each division will meet in the First Round within the bracket headed by their respective division winners. First-round winners within each bracket play one another in the Second Round to determine the four participants in the Conference Finals.
Home-ice advantage through the first two rounds goes to the team that placed higher in the regular-season standings. In the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final, home-ice advantage goes to the team that had the better regular-season record -- regardless of the teams' final standing in their respective divisions.