Saturday’s mass of games settled a lot of things, but not everything.
There are two more games on the regular season docket, and a lot of dominoes will fall because of them. Let’s go over what each contest means for the playoff picture, plus a few other factors.
Pacific Division title on the line
The Anaheim Ducks face the Washington Capitals with huge implications for the Pacific.
Simply enough, if the Ducks win, they’ll take the Pacific Division title. With that, they’d face the Nashville Predators in the first round. In this scenario, the Los Angeles Kings would take on the San Jose Sharks in a No. 2 vs. No. 3 Pacific series.
If the Capitals win, then the Kings get the Pacific crown and would face the Predators. The Ducks would face the Sharks in this scenario.
Determining the Pittsburgh Penguins’ opponent
The New York Islanders face the Philadelphia Flyers on NBCSN tonight.
The stakes are lower than that Ducks – Capitals game, but plenty of fans have reason to watch this game.
If the Islanders win, they’ll move to the Metropolitan Division’s third seed and draw the Pittsburgh Penguins. If that happens, the New York Rangers would take on the Florida Panthers.
On the other hand, if the Flyers win, the Islanders would stay put as the first wild card in the East. In this scenario, it would be Penguins – Rangers and Panthers – Islanders.
Questions for Capitals
Braden Holtby won his 48th game this season last night, tying Martin Brodeur’s single-season record. Do the Capitals try to get him lone possession of that record or do they rest Holtby for the playoffs?
Will Alex Ovechkin play after hitting the 50-goal mark?
Barry Trotz’s lineup decisions could make a big impact on the sort of challenge the Ducks face tonight.