NHL Playoff Push: Blues look to leapfrog Avs before Saturday matchup

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Only one game on the schedule Friday night has playoff implications, while the other three could have an affect on final seeds as we enter the last weekend of the regular season. Saturday is the big night when clinching scenarios come back into play.

Here’s an updated look at the standings:

EAST

The Columbus Blue Jackets and New Jersey Devils earned playoff berths on Thursday, leaving the race between the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers to complete the Eastern Conference field. Philly holds a four-point advantage ahead of Saturday’s finale against the New York Rangers. The Panthers, meanwhile, have a tragic number of 1 with games against Buffalo and Boston remaining.

[The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]

WEST

The Chicago Blackhawks get another opportunity to play spoiler against their Central Division rivals in the St. Louis Blues. Following a come-from-behind 4-3 victory on Wednesday night, the Blackhawks — who announced on Thursday that Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman will be back next season — host Friday night’s meeting at United Center. The Blues, who have a tragic number of 3, have two games remaining and currently sit one point behind the Colorado Avalanche for the final wild card spot. The Avs have one game to play, which comes Saturday against the Blues where things could get real fun.

If The Playoffs Started Today

Eastern Conference
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Washington Capitals vs. New Jersey Devils
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Western Conference
Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche
Winnipeg Jets vs. Minnesota Wild
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Anaheim Ducks
San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings

Friday’s Key Game
St. Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. ET

Tank Watch
1 – Sabres
(18.5 percent), 62 points, 80 games, 24 ROW
2 – Senators (13.5), 67 points, 80 GP, 26 ROW*
3 – Coyotes (11.5), 70 points, 81 GP, 27 ROW
4 – Canadiens
 (9.5) 71 points, 81 GP, 27 ROW
5 – Red Wings (8.5) 72 points, 81 GP, 25 ROW
6 – Canucks (7.5), 72 points, 81 GP, 31 ROW
7 – Oilers (6.5) 76 points, 81 GP, 31 ROW
8 – Blackhawks (6.0) 76 points, 80 GP, 32 ROW
9 – Rangers (5.0), 77 points, 81 GP, 31 ROW
10 – Islanders (3.5) 78 points, 81 GP, 31 ROW
11 – Hurricanes (3.0) 81 points, 81 GP, 32 ROW
12 – Flames (2.5) 82 points, 81 GP, 34 ROW (*Pick owned by NYI)
13 – Stars (2.0) 90 points, 80 GP, 37 ROW
14 – Panthers (1.5) 92 points, 80 GP, 39 ROW
15 – Blues (1.0) 92 points, 80 GP, 40 ROW*

• Senators can keep their 2018 first-round pick and give the Avalanche their 2019 first-round pick as part of the Matt Duchene trade.

• Following the Brayden Schenn trade, St. Louis can move their 2018 first-round pick to 2019 if it falls in the Top 10.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.