The Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs or a division title on Saturday. Here are the scenarios:
The Bruins clinched the Atlantic Division title by beating the Washington Capitals 4-2 on Saturday afternoon.
The Blackhawks (idle) would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if the Dallas Stars lose to the St. Louis Blues in any fashion OR if the Minnesota Wild defeat the Phoenix Coyotes in any fashion OR if the Coyotes defeat the Wild in a shootout.
The Avalanche clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs by beating the San Jose Sharks 3-2 on Saturday afternoon.
The Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins are the only teams in the Eastern Conference to have clinched a postseason spot. The Blues, Anaheim Ducks and Sharks already were in from the Western Conference.
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.