Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz: Bruins, Penguins, Lightning, Flames can clinch

Stanley Cup Playoffs clinch scenarios for Thursday:

That Boston Bruins will win a playoff spot if:

They defeat the Ottawa Senators in every way (19:00 ET; NESN, TSN5, RDS, ESPN +, NHL LIVE) AND the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the New York Islanders in every way or if they get a point against the Senators and Penguins defeat the islanders in regulation.

That Penguins will clinch if:

They defeat the Islanders in every way (19:00 ET; ATTSN-PT, MSG +, ESPN +, NHL LIVE).

That Tampa Bay Lyn will clinch if:

They defeat the Anaheim Ducks in every way (19:00 ET; SNP, BSSUN, BSSC, BSSD, ESPN +, NHL LIVE) or get a point against the Ducks AND the Penguins defeat the Islanders in every way, or the Islanders lose to the Penguins in regulation.

That Calgary Flames will clinch if:

They get at least one point against the Vegas Golden Knights (21:00 ET; SN360, ATTSN-RM, ESPN +, NHL LIVE).

That Colorado avalanche will win the central division if:

They defeat the New Jersey Devils in every way (21:00 ET; ALT, MSG, ESPN +, NHL LIVE) AND the Buffalo Sabers defeat St. Louis Blues in every way, AND the Dallas Stars defeat the Minnesota Wild in regulation.

In print

There are 12 matches on the program on Thursday, all with playoff implications

Ottawa Senators at the Boston Bruins (19:00 ET; NESN, TSN5, RDS, ESPN +, NHL LIVE)

The Bruins have a chance to move into third place in the Atlantic Division with a win and a loss of any kind by the Tampa Bay Lightning, who play against the Anaheim Ducks at the Amalie Arena, or if Boston gets at least one point and Tampa Bay loses in regulation. The Bruins come after a 4-2 loss to the Blues on Tuesday and have lost three of four in the regulation. The Senators have been eliminated from the playoffs.

St. Louis Blues at the Buffalo Sabers (19:00 ET; MSG-B, BSMWX, ESPN +, NHL LIVE)

The Blues have won six in a row and have points in nine consecutive games (8-0-1). They have a chance to move past the Minnesota Wild and into second place in the Central Division. The Blues and Wild each have 96 points, but Minnesota has one game in hand. The Wild visits the Dallas Stars on Thursday. St. Louis is 14-to-14 with two shorthanded goals on the penalty kill in its nine games. The Sabers have been eliminated from the playoffs.

Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs (19:00 ET; TVAS, TSN4, NBCSWA, ESPN +, NHL LIVE)

The Capitals have won four in a row to move three points behind the Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division, and they have the second wild card in the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. The Maple Leafs’ points series in eight games ended with their loss to the Sabers. They are number two in the Atlantic Division, four points ahead of Lightning and five ahead of the Bruins. Toronto city center Auston Matthews needs two goals to become the first 60-goal scorer in the NHL since Lightning center Steven Stamkos (60) in 2011-12. Capitals forth Alex Ovechkin is four goals away from reaching 50 for the ninth time in his NHL career. At least one point earned by Washington will eliminate the Columbus Blue Jackets from the playoffs.

Anaheim Ducks at Tampa Bay Lightning (19:00 ET; SNP, BSSUN, BSSC, BSSD, ESPN +, NHL LIVE)

Lightning comes after a 1-0 loss to Stars on Tuesday and dropped to 1-3-2 in their last six games. They will retain third place in the Atlantic with a win, or if the Bruins lose in regulation. The Ducks have been eliminated from the playoffs, have 2-11-4 in 17 games since March 8 and have not won against a team in the playoffs since January 24 (5-3 at the Bruins).

New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins (19:00 ET; ATTSN-PT, MSG +, ESPN +, NHL LIVE)

Pittsburgh are 2-5-1 in their last eight games, including a 5-4 shootout loss to the Islanders at UBS Arena on Tuesday. Kyle Palmieri scored the shootout winner for the Islanders. The Penguins must play their second of four games without a center Evgeni Malkinwho was suspended for cross-checking.

Detroit Red Wings at Carolina Hurricanes (19:00 ET; ESPN +, HULU, NHL LIVE)

The Hurricanes have a two-point lead and a game in hand at the New York Rangers for first place in the Metropolitan Division. They want to get their powerplay going against the Red Wings. They are 0-to-14 in their last six games. The Red Wings have been eliminated from the playoffs.

Edmonton Oilers at Nashville Predators (20:00 ET; BSSO, SNW, ESPN +, NHL LIVE)

The Oilers are trying to secure second place in the Pacific Division, and the Predators hope to hold on to the first wild card from the Western Conference. Edmonton has a three-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings as number two. The Predators have a one-point lead on Stars for the first wild card. Edmonton comes after a 5-1 loss to Minnesota on Tuesday that ended a streak of seven games (6-0-1). Nashville won 1-0 in overtime against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. The Predators are 5-2-1 in their last eight.

Minnesota Wild at Dallas Stars (20:00 ET; ESPN, NHL LIVE)

The Wild will keep their team in second place in the Central Division with a win and can stay in second place by getting a point and the Blues losing in every way to the Sabers. Minnesota has a game in hand at St. Louis. Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov has scored 12 goals in 14 matches since 16 March. Dallas is looking to move ahead of Nashville and into the first wild card.

San Jose Sharks at the Chicago Blackhawks (20:30 ET; NBCSCH, NBCSCA, ESPN +, NHL LIVE)

The Sharks will be eliminated from combat if they lose to the Blackhawks in any way or win in overtime or a shootout, and either the Stars or Golden Knights earn at least one point. San Jose has lost seven in a row (0-5-2). Chicago has lost eight in a row (0-6-2) and has been eliminated from the playoffs.

New Jersey Devils at Colorado Avalanche (21:00 ET; ALT, MSG, ESPN +, NHL LIVE)

Avalanche can win back-to-back division titles for the first time in almost 20 years. They have completed the first 12 times, including a race of nine right from 1994-95 to 2002-03. Colorado has won seven games in a row, including 9-3 against the Kings on Wednesday. The Devils have been eliminated from the playoffs.

Vegas Golden Knights at Calgary Flames (21:00 ET; SN360, ATTSN-RM, ESPN +, NHL LIVE)

The Golden Knights are 6-1-1 in their last eight games and three points behind Stars for the second wild card and three points behind the Kings for third place in the Pacific Division. Vegas forward Jack Eichel has points in five games in a row (four goals, two assists). The Flames are moving closer to reaching first in the Pacific Division. Calgary has won five in a row, surpassing opponents 20-10. It has a nine-point lead with one game left in second place Edmonton.

Arizona Coyotes at Vancouver Canucks (22:00 ET; SNP, BSAZ, ESPN +, NHL LIVE)

The Canucks have stayed alive in the playoffs with four wins in a row and points in five consecutive games (4-0-1). They are six points out of a wild card spot and third in the Pacific Division. Vancouver’s powerplay has come to life and goes 7-to-18 (38.9 percent) in the five-game point series. The Canucks are also 16-to-17 (94.1 percent) with a shorthanded goal on the penalty shootout. The Coyotes have been eliminated from the playoffs.

If the playoffs started on Thursday

Here is a look at the matches for the first round as they stand and enter the matches on Thursday:

Eastern Conference

(1A) Florida Panthers vs. (WC2) Washington Capitals
(1M) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (WC1) Boston Bruins
(2A) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (3A) Tampa Bay Lightning
(2M) New York Rangers vs. (3M) Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference

(1C) Colorado Avalanche vs. (WC2) Dallas Stars
(1P) Calgary Flames Vs. (WC1) Nashville Predators
(2C) Minnesota Wild vs. (3C) St. Louis Blues
(2P) Edmonton Oilers vs. (3P) Los Angeles Kings

About last night

There were three matches on Wednesday, all with playoff implications:

New York Rangers 4, Philadelphia Flyers 0: Rangers moved within two points of first place in the Metropolitan Division. They have 102 points in 75 games; The Carolina Hurricanes have 104 points in 74 games. Cape Kakko scored two goals, the striker’s first goal since scoring two in a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 15. Kakko missed 31 games from January 22 to April 7 with an upper body injury. Artemi Panarin scored to give the striker nine points (four goals, five assists) in his last six games. Alexander Georgiev made 28 saves for his second shutout in five starts.

Columbus Blue Jackets 5, Montreal Canadiens 1: The Blue Jackets stayed alive in the playoffs for at least one more day. They got two goals from the striker Jack Roslovicwhich gave him five in his last two games. Patrik Laine had one goal and two assists and Elvis Merzlikins made 20 rescues. Columbus forward Kent Johnsonelection No. 5 in the 2021 NHL Draft and exhausted defender Nick Blankenburg each made his NHL debut. Blankenburg had an assist in 16:46 ice time. Johnson played 11:05.

Colorado Avalanche 9, Los Angeles Kings 3: Nathan MacKinnon had a hat-trick and tied his NHL career high with five points, and Avalanche set records for wins in a season (53) and at home (29). MacKinnon, a striker, scored in the first period and twice in the third. Colorado had a 4-0 lead before Los Angeles scored twice in the second to make it 4-2. Avalanche scored the next five goals. Defender Cale Makar had one goal and three assists. Colorado took a two-point lead over the Florida Panthers as first place in the overall NHL standings. The Kings are still two points behind the Oilers for second place in the Pacific Division, with Edmonton having two games left. The Kings are also three points ahead of the Golden Knights in third place, with Vegas having two games in hand.

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