Cleat Geeks

NHL; Down to the Last Day

It took until the last day of the season, but finally everything is decided. The Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins won their way into the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday. While the New York Islanders and Calgary Flames lost on Saturday to hand over home-ice advantage to their first-round opponents.

The Montreal Canadiens clinched the Atlantic Division with a 4-3 shootout win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They will now face the Ottawa Senators who capped an amazing run closing out the season with a record of 23-4-4 in their last 31 games, are the second wild card from the Eastern Conference. Pittsburgh became the second wild card by defeating the Buffalo Sabres 2-0. The Penguins victory not only put them into the play-offs but also eliminated the Boston Bruins from the play-offs. The Penguins will play the New York Rangers, who won the Presidents’ Trophy and Metropolitan Division.

You may be a little confused by the above paragraph. The top three teams in each division will make up the first 12 teams in the playoffs. The remaining four spots are filled by the next two highest-placed finishers in each conference, based on regular-season points and regardless of division. It is possible for one division to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends just three. Seeding of the wild-card teams within each divisional playoff will be determined on the basis of regular-season points. The division winner with the most points in the conference will be matched against the wild-card team with the fewest points; the division winner with the second-most points in the conference will play the wild-card team with the second-fewest points.

The Anaheim Ducks clinched the top seed from the Western Conference with a 2-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes. The Ducks will face the wild-card Winnipeg Jets. That left the St. Louis Blues with the second seed and a first-round series against the Minnesota Wild. The loss by the Wild assured the Chicago Blackhawks of finishing third in the Central Division. Chicago will face the Nashville Predators.

The Tampa Bay Lightning finished second in the Atlantic and will play the Detroit Red Wings, who clinched third place with a 2-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Also on Saturday, the Calgary Flames finished third in the Pacific Division after losing to the Jets 5-1. The second-place Vancouver Canucks will have home ice against the Flames in the first round.

In another game that had play-off implications on Saturday, the New York Islanders lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4 in a shootout, squandering a chance to wrap up second place in the Metropolitan Division and the home ice that would come with it. Instead, the Islanders will start on the road against the Washington Capitals, who finished second despite a 4-2 loss to the Rangers.

So after everything was said and done on Saturday here are the play-off match-ups;


New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders

Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings


Anaheim Ducks vs. Winnipeg Jets

Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames

St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild

Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks



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