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Maple Leafs, Senators go for Playoff Berths, Ducks go for Division Title

Maple Leafs, Senators go for Playoff Berths, Ducks go for Division Title Dinur/via Flickr

Toronto, Ottawa can secure final playoff spots, Anaheim looking for 5th straight division crown

NHL

With only four days left in the NHL regular season, the playoffs teams are all but set. There are only two playoff berths remaining and those can be secured tonight. There’s a division title within grasp this evening, as well as three playoff seeds.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators can clinch their playoff berths this evening with wins in their respective games. While their playoff spot is already secured, the Anaheim Ducks also have a big game tonight.

The Ducks can clinch their fifth straight Pacific Division title tonight with a win and some help from their in-state rival, the San Jose Sharks. Like Anaheim, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Calgary have their playoff berths already secured. Tonight, they’ll be looking to solidify their seeding.

Here are the scenarios for each of the teams:

OTTAWA SENATORS

The Senators are looking to get back in the postseason for the second time in the last three seasons. They’ll be able to do so if they can get at least point against the Boston Bruins. Should Ottawa fall in regulation, they can still get to the postseason, they’ll just need some help.

A regulation loss would mean the Senators would need the Tampa Bay Lightning to lose to Toronto AND the New York Islanders to lose to the Carolina Hurricanes in any fashion. However, Ottawa can help themselves the best. A win against Boston and they don’t have to worry about needing help from anybody.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

The post-lockout NHL has not been kind to the Maple Leafs. After consistently making postseason appearances prior to the 2004-05 lockout, Toronto has made only one trip to the playoffs since. Tonight, they can get back to the postseason with a win over the Lightning.

There is another scenario that can help the Leafs reach the playoffs. Should they lose in shootout, Toronto would need the Hurricanes to defeat the Islanders in any fashion, or for New York to beat Carolina in a shootout. A shootout loss combined with either result in the Islanders-Hurricanes game gets Toronto to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

ANAHEIM DUCKS

For the last four seasons, the Ducks have been regular season kings of the Pacific Division. They can make it five straight division titles tonight if they defeat the Chicago Blackhawks in any fashion and the Edmonton Oilers lose to the San Jose Sharks in any fashion.

Another way Anaheim can clinch the Pacific this evening is if they get one point against Chicago and Edmonton loses to San Jose in regulation.

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

The defending champions’ first round match up has already been set, as they will face-off against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The only thing that needs to be determined is who will have home-ice in the series. Pittsburgh can make sure it’s them with a win, of any manner, against the New Jersey Devils and a Blue Jackets loss in regulation to the Winnipeg Jets.

If that happens, the Penguins will clinch the second seed in the Metropolitan Division, leaving Columbus with the third spot in the division.

ST. LOUIS BLUES

The Blues will be looking to wrap up the third spot in the Central Division and set a first-round match up against the Minnesota Wild. St. Louis will be able to do so with a win against the Florida Panthers and a Dallas Stars win over the Nashville Predators. Both wins can be in any fashion.

If the Blues are only able to get one point against Florida, then they would need Nashville to lose to Dallas in regulation to get the third spot in the division.

CALGARY FLAMES

The Flames are battling with the Predators for the top wild card spot in the West and a first-round match up with the Pacific Division winner. Calgary can secure the first wild card with a win in any fashion over the Los Angeles Kings and a regulation loss by Nashville.