The potential playoff matchups are still a mess. However, a couple races could end tonight, with a few teams on the verge of either clinching or dropping out. While we sit here, enjoying our crumpets and tea (probably more like pizza and beer for a few of you), waiting for the playoffs, we might as well keep tabs on what is happening. Here are the games tonight:
4:00 pm PDT Islanders visit Bruins. With Boston already having claimed the NE division, and Long Island being long since eliminated, the most entertaining part of this game would be seeing how much potential Calder nominee Michael Grabner can embarass Vezina front-runner Tim Thomas.
4:00 Maple Leafs visit Devils. With both these teams now eliminated, they probably both want to end the season on a high note. Viewable on TSN.
4:00 Panthers visit Capitals. Hey look, it's almost like the Canucks-Oilers matchups! Washington is currently holding 1st place in their conference, and would like to strengthen that lead against division-rival Florida, who is sitting in 15th.
4:00 Red Wings visit Hurricanes. Now, here's the important one to watch out East. With Toronto already eliminated, 9th-place Carolina is the only threat remaining to the unclinched playoff spots in that conference. A win for Carolina will push them to within 2 points of the 8th-place Rangers. A win for Detroit would let the Sabres clinch their playoff spot, and Carolina will be pushed to the edge of elimination. The Wings also in a fight with San Jose for 2nd place in the West.
5:00 Blues visit Blackhawks. 8th-place Chicago needs to gain some ground on Dallas and Calgary, who are both only 2 points behind for 9th and 10th in the West. However, being a division rival who's already been recently eliminated from playoff contention, St. Louis would probably love to play spoilers.
6:30 Oilers visit Flames. This is the biggest game of the night out West, because 10th place Calgary can be officially eliminated by losing to provincial rival Edmonton AND/OR Chicago winning their game. But, should everything go in Calgary's favour, they could be a in 3-way tie with Chicago and Anaheim at the end of the night, with their Saturday night matchup against us possibly being the final straw.
7:00 Sharks visit Ducks. Despite holding the tie-breakers for 7th, Anaheim is still tied with Chicago at 93 points, and would also like to gain ground on Dallas and Calgary. If the Sharks and Blackhawks both win, the Ducks could be in a tricky situation where the Stars could still pass them for 8th place.
7:30 Coyotes visit Kings. Both teams are at 96 points, one point behind 4th-place Predators, and the winner will clinch their playoff berth tonight.