WHO CAN CLINCH: The idle Tampa Bay Lightning can lock down a berth if the Carolina Hurricanes lose in regulation to the Montreal Canadiens.
ALREADY IN: Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: New York Rangers (41-30-5) at Buffalo Sabres (38-29-9), 7 p.m. ET
The Sabres could tie the seventh-place Rangers points-wise with a victory. Both enter with 33 regulation/overtime wins -- the first tiebreaker -- so if this game goes to a shootout it becomes even more convoluted. But with five games left for each team after tonight, there’s plenty of time sort things out. Buffalo, which fell to Toronto on Tuesday, is probably more worried about the team behind them. The Carolina Hurricanes are just three points back. One thing the Sabres have going for it is that they haven’t lost consecutive games since Feb. 18-20. The Rangers have won two of the first three meetings between the clubs.
ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Montreal Canadiens (41-29-7) at Carolina Hurricanes (36-30-10), 7 p.m. ET
The Eastern Conference is not as bunched up for the final playoff seeds as the West, but games like this make things interesting. The ‘Canes beat the Washington Capitals --- for the first time in six meetings this season --- on Tuesday, a victory powered by rookie Jeff Skinner and the goaltending of Cam Ward. Skinner knotted the game at the end of regulation and scored one of Carolina’s two shootout goals in the 3-2 win at Verizon Center. The Hurricanes face another team that they have gone winless against this season, this time in the previous three meetings.
GOLF WATCH: The New Jersey Devils will be eliminated a couple different ways tonight: If New Jersey loses (in regulation or overtime) and the Buffalo Sabres defeat OR if the Devils lose in regulation and the Sabres earn at least one point. The St. Louis Blues will be eliminated if: they lose to the Detroit Red Wings, in any manner. Ottawa, Florida, New York Islanders, Colorado and Edmonton have already mathematically out of it.
-- A.J. Perez