With only three days left in the NHL regular season, the pieces of the playoff puzzle are finally falling into place. Each team has only 2 games remaining and 28 teams will be in action tonight. Of those 14 games this evening, there are a few in particular that have some extra significance.
1. Florida Panthers @ Washington Capitals 4pm PST:
These two teams have a ton at stake tonight. The Florida Panthers have 4 points on the Capitals and are just 1 point away from clinching the division for the first time in their franchise history. With a win tonight of any kind, the Capitals can solidify a playoff spot. With a regulation win, they can keep their hopes alive in the race for the southeast division. However, if Buffalo loses in regulation to Philadelphia, the Panthers will clinch the division title regardless.
2. Buffalo Sabres @ Philadelphia Flyers 4pm PST:
The Sabres will stay alive in the playoff race if they get at least a point tonight, but if they fail to do so, then they will be eliminated from the race as the Capitals will clinch the eighth and final spot in the east.
3. San Jose Sharks @ Los Angeles Kings 7:30pm PST:
The team that wins tonight will automatically clinch a playoff berth. The losing team will not be eliminated from the race, but will have to leave their fate in the hands of the other competing teams. The pacific division title will not be settled tonight as the Phoenix Coyotes do not play until tomorrow night. (Go Kings)
4. Dallas @ Nashville / Columbus @ Colorado:
Dallas and Colorado both need wins tonight to stay alive. If they lose, they will be eliminated from the playoff race. A Dallas loss will also send the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes into the playoffs, regardless of the outcome of their remaining games. If Dallas loses in regulation and Colorado loses in any way, the Sharks will find themselves in a playoff spot as well.
5. The Race For The President’s Trophy:
The New York Rangers can win the President’s trophy with a victory tonight over the Pittsburgh Penguins, but only if the Canucks lose in regulation to the Calgary Flames. If all this happens, it will be their first President’s Trophy win since the 1993-1994 season when they won the Stanley Cup.
6. Will Steven Stamkos hit 60?
The former first round pick leads the league with 58 goals. With two games left, will Stamkos be able to hit 60? Puck drops between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs at 4pm PST.