From the perspective of the Nashville Predators learning their playoff opponent on the penultimate day of the regular season, things could have gone a lot smoother.
A Kings win in any fashion versus the Jets yesterday would have meant Nashville and L.A. would square off in the First Round. The Ducks falling to the Avalanche in regulation would have set up a Preds and Kings matchup as well. Instead, the opposite occurred in both cases.
Anaheim took out Colorado 5-3 on Saturday afternoon, while the Kings fell to the Jets in a shootout later that night, meaning the Predators will not learn their Western Conference Quarterfinal opponent until the final game of the regular season on Sunday night. A snowstorm earlier in the season caused the Ducks at Capitals game to be rescheduled until the day after the season was originally supposed to have concluded. Mother Nature's delay of a certain regular season contest is now ripe with significance for the NHL club from Music City.
The scenarios are straightforward when Washington hosts Anaheim tonight at 6:30 p.m. (CT) (with coverage on NHL Network). Whichever team wins the Pacific Division will play the Predators in Round One.
- A Ducks win in any fashion on Sunday gives them the Pacific title
- A Ducks loss on Sunday (including overtime/shootout) means the Kings win the Pacific
The Capitals, like the Ducks, also played yesterday with Alex Ovechkin hitting 50 goals and Braden Holtby tying the season-single wins record in a 5-1 victory over the Blues. It's likely neither of the Caps' superstars will play in Sunday's contest with Washington already winning the President's Trophy. Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz said after Saturday's win he had not made up his mind on whether Holtby or Ovechkin will suit up again in the regular season, according to NHL.com.
Finally, a look at the playoff opponent percentages. Sports Club Stats
uses a statistical model to “play out” all the remaining regular season games millions of times and then reports the percentages of the likeliness something will happen. The below numbers are based on their statistics.
According to Sports Club Stats, the Preds have:*
— A 63.3 percent chance of meeting the Kings in the first round
— A 36.7 percent chance of taking on the Ducks in round one
The two possible playoff opponents for the Preds in the Western Conference Quarterfinals:
— Los Angeles Kings: (82 gp: 48-28-6, 102 pts)**
Leading scorer: Anze Kopitar (74 pts)
Remaining schedule: (No remaining games)
Preds record vs. Kings: 1-0-2
— Anaheim Ducks: (81 gp: 44-25-11, 101 pts)**
Leading scorer: Ryan Getzlaf (63 pts)
Remaining schedule: (@WSH)
Preds record vs. Ducks: 2-1-0
*All Sports Club Stats percentages change daily
**Clinched a playoff berth