Only two teams — Washington and Los Angeles — have punched their tickets to the postseason thus far, but that number could grow to as many as five teams by the end of Tuesday night’s action.
The Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks all have playoff clinching scenarios at hand. For Dallas and San Jose, it would represent a return to the postseason after missing last year and, for Anaheim, it would mark the franchise’s fourth consecutive invite to the dance.
The scenarios, courtesy NHL.com:
The Stars will clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Blackhawks in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Blackhawks AND the Wild lose to the Kings in any fashion OR if the Wild lose to the Kings in regulation.
The Ducks will clinch a playoff berth if they get at least one point against the Canadiens OR if the Coyotes lose to the Oilers in any fashion.
The Sharks will clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Blues in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Blues AND the Coyotes lose to the Oilers in any fashion OR if the Coyotes lose to the Oilers in regulation.
It’s also worth noting that Washington can clinch the Metropolitan Division and top seed in the Eastern Conference if it beats Ottawa in any fashion tonight. The Caps also need just three more wins to match their franchise record of 54, set during the 2009-10 campaign.