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Wednesday's spotlight shines on playoff race in West

NHL.com @NHL
The Colorado Avalanche own the last playoff spot in the West. The Calgary Flames are scrambling to catch them. Both teams see action Wednesday night, with each in desperate need of two points.

Colorado, coming off weekend losses at Phoenix and San Jose but still four points ahead of the Flames in the race for eighth, returns home for a visit from Anaheim. The Ducks are all but eliminated from the playoff race, but they're coming off a solid 3-1 home victory over Dallas on Monday.

That game starts at 9 p.m. ET, a half-hour before the Flames and Phoenix Coyotes drop the puck at the Pengrowth Saddledome. The Flames lost two of three on their Eastern swing, but are coming off a 5-3 win at Washington on Sunday to stay in the race. The Coyotes lost 4-1 at Vancouver on Tuesday.

The evening starts with a pair of games at 7 p.m. Buffalo, which won 3-2 at Boston on Monday, tries to move two points closer to winning the Northeast Division title when it hosts slumping Florida. The Panthers lost 3-2 in overtime to Nashville at home on Monday.

In Montreal, the Canadiens can claim sixth place in the East with a win over visiting Carolina. The Hurricanes, one of the NHL's best teams since the Olympic break, won 4-1 at Atlanta on Monday. The game can be seen on TSN and RDS.

At 7:30 p.m. ET,  Versus will be on hand at Mellon Arena as Pittsburgh hosts Tampa Bay. The Penguins have been idle since back-to-back weekend wins over Philadelphia and Toronto, while the Lightning lost 3-2 at Columbus on Tuesday.

A half-hour later, Chicago will try to bounce back from a 4-2 loss at St. Louis on Tuesday when the Hawks visit Minnesota. The Wild is all but gone from the playoff picture in the West, but has 25 home wins -- including a 3-2 victory over Los Angeles on Monday.

At 8:30 p.m., San Jose starts a four-game road trip with a visit to Dallas. San Jose has taken a five-point lead in the race for first place in the West, while the Stars, Wild and Ducks are all nine points out of a playoff berth.





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