With only three games left in the season for the majority of teams, it’s hard to believe that there are still eight playoff spots that have yet to be clinched. However, tonight there are two divisions and four playoff spots on the line. Here is a look at a handful of games with playoff-clinching implications.
Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs: The Caps will look to win their fourth straight Southeast Division title by beating the ever persistent Leafs. They can also clinch with a Tampa Bay Lightning regulation loss to the Buffalo Sabres, or by getting one point and having the Lightning lose to Sabres in regulation, overtime or a shootout.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Ottawa Senators: The Flyers will also look to wrap things up in the Atlantic Division with a victory against the Sens and a loss by the Pittsburgh Penguins to the New Jersey Devils in either regulation, overtime or a shootout.
Montreal Canadians vs. Chicago Blackhawks: The Habs can become the sixth team to earn a playoff spot in the East with a victory over the Hawks. However, Chicago is barely clinging on to their No. 8 spot out West and desperately needs the points.
Nashville Predators vs. Atlanta Thrashers: Once again, the Preds are among the most unlikely of teams to compete for a playoff spot, and yet, a win tonight coupled with a Dallas Stars loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets will punch their ticket to the postseason.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Dallas Stars: Strangely, there will be two teams more interested in the outcome this game than the two teams actually playing: the Phoenix Coyotes and the Los Angeles Kings. The Coyotes get in if the Stars lose to the Blue Jackets in regulation, overtime or a shootout; the Kings are in if the Stars lose in regulation.