We took a look at what will start to shake loose in the Eastern Conference playoffs with today’s games already today, but we know for sure how the West will stack up after tonight. The battle for the final two spots will be figured out between Columbus, Detroit, and Minnesota but there is still one spot left for home ice advantage to be decided.
Here’s how the Western Conference sets up going into tonight’s games:
No. 1 – Chicago: They’re the top seed Central Division champs and Presidents’ Trophy winners. They’ll face either Columbus, Detroit, or Minnesota in the first round.
No. 2 – Anaheim: The Ducks won the Pacific Division and locked down the second seed in the West. They too can face any of Columbus, Detroit, or Minnesota in the opening round.
No. 3 – Vancouver: The Canucks won the Northwest Division and have the third seed locked down. They’ll get to face either Los Angeles, St. Louis, or San Jose in the first round.
St. Louis: The Blues can lock down the No. 4 seed with a victory of any kind over Chicago tonight. The Blackhawks should be resting plenty of guys so they may have an easy go of it. If they lose and San Jose beats L.A. in overtime or a shootout, the Blues could land in sixth. If the Kings win and the Blues lose, those two will meet up in the first round starting in California.
Los Angeles and San Jose: These two face each other tonight with the winner potentially getting home ice in the first round or a date on the road against the Blues should St. Louis win. San Jose can move up to fourth with a win and Blues loss.
The only way the Sharks can host the Kings in the first round is to beat L.A. in overtime or a shootout and have the Blues lose in regulation to Chicago. No matter how things shake out with St. Louis, if the Kings win they’re getting the Blues.
We already glossed over what can happen with the seventh and eighth seeds today. You’d have to think Chicago and Anaheim are hoping to see the Dallas Stars step up and help find a way to get Detroit out of the playoffs for the first time since 1990.