The 2014-15 NHL regular season concludes Saturday with a 15-game schedule with game play stretched across approximately 12 hours. Final positioning and numerous individual accomplishments and milestones are left to be determined before the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 15.
The Ottawa Senators can win to complete an extraordinary run into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins can win to avoid an unlikely fall from them.
Ottawa will clinch a berth from the Eastern Conference by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
The Senators and Flyers play at 12:30 p.m., so the Penguins and Boston Bruins will know where they stand before playing at night. If Ottawa wins or gets to overtime, only one of Pittsburgh and Boston can qualify. If the Senators lose in regulation, the Penguins and Bruins each can get in with a victory.
Pittsburgh, 3-9-2 since March 12 and winless in April, plays at the Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m. ET); Boston plays at the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 p.m. ET). The Penguins lead the Bruins by one point and would make the playoffs for a ninth straight season with a win.
Ottawa, 22-4-4 since Feb. 10, can finish third in the Atlantic Division with a win and a regulation loss by the Detroit Red Wings at the Carolina Hurricanes.
Almost every other playoff position will be set Saturday.
The St. Louis Blues or Anaheim Ducks will clinch the top seed in the Western Conference.
The Montreal Canadiens would clinch the Atlantic Division with a win or post-regulation loss against the Toronto Maple Leafs. If the Canadiens lose in regulation, the Lightning could take the division, and the second seed in the East, with a win against the Bruins.
The Washington Capitals and New York Islanders will meet in the Eastern Conference First Round, with home-ice advantage to be determined by games Saturday. Same is true for the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference.
The Chicago Blackhawks would clinch third in the Central Division with a win or post-regulation loss to the Colorado Avalanche. A regulation loss would give the Minnesota Wild a chance at third place and a first-round matchup against the Nashville Predators.
The Winnipeg Jets will face either the Blues or Ducks, whoever emerges with the No. 1 Western seed. It would be Anaheim if it defeats the Arizona Coyotes in regulation.
Here's a closer look at the action Saturday:
Ottawa Senators at Philadelphia Flyers (12:30 p.m.; SN, RDS2, TSN5, CSN-PH)
New York Rangers at Washington Capitals (12:30 p.m.; TVA Sports, MSG, CSN-DC)
Calgary Flames at Winnipeg Jets (3 p.m.; SN, SNW, TSN3)
San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings (3 p.m.; NBC)
Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues (3 p.m.; NBC)
Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m.; CITY, ROOT, MSG-B)
Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs, (7 p.m.; CBC, TVA Sports)
New Jersey Devils at Florida Panthers (7 p.m.; MSG+2, FS-F)
Columbus Blue Jackets at New York Islanders (7 p.m.; NHLN-US, FS-O, MSG+)
Detroit Red Wings at Carolina Hurricanes (7 p.m.; FX-CA, FS-D, FS-CR)
Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 p.m.; NBCSN, SN1, NESN)
Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars (8 p.m.; FS-TN, TXA 21)
Chicago Blackhawks at Colorado Avalanche (9 p.m., TVA Sports 2, WGN, ALT)
Anaheim Ducks at Arizona Coyotes (9 p.m.; FS-W, FS-A PLUS)
Edmonton Oilers at Vancouver Canucks (10 p.m.; CBC)
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 teams finishing second and third in each division will play in the first round of the playoffs. There is no reseeding as the tournament moves to the second round and winners of that series advance to the conference championship series and the right to play in the Stanley Cup Final.
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