WHO CAN CLINCH: The Washington Capitals can seize the Southeast Division crown wiht a victory over the Buffalo Sabres combined with a regulation loss by the Tampa Bay Lightning, who take on the Minnesota Wild. The Boston Bruins can win the Northeast with either a point against the Atlanta Thrashers or if the Montreal Canadiens lose to the New Jersey Devils. The Detroit Red Wings can clinch a playoff berth if they get one point against the Nashville Predators or if the Dallas Stars lose to the Los Angeles Kings.
ALREADY IN: Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia, San Jose, Tampa Bay and Washington.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Buffalo (39-29-7) at Washington Capitals (45-22-11), 7 p.m. ET
The Buffalo Sabres will face at least the first game of this vital this two-game trip minus starting goalie Ryan Miller. It possible he could join the team in Ralaiegh, where the Sabres play tomorrow, The Buffalo News reports. Miller was injured when he took a shot near his collarbone on Tuesday. The team has described it as an upper-body injury. Backup Jhonas Enroth is coming off a 1-0 shutout victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday.
While the Sabres have to battle to hold one to one the final two seeds in the East, the Capitals remain in the hunt to repeat as conference champs. The Caps could pull ahead of the idle Philadelphia Flyers with a victory.
ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Dallas Stars (38-27-11) at Los Angeles Kings (44-27-6), 4 p.m. ET
The Kings’ final five games are against Pacific Division opponents, starting with the Stars tonight. Los Angeles have lost Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams -- their two top scorers -- likely for the season over the last couple weeks and the team finally felt the lack of production as Vancouver beat the Kings, 3-1, on Thursday. Now, Los Angeles faces a Dallas team desperate to stay in playoff contention. The Stars are winless over their last five games and are 1-4-3 over the last eight. The San Jose Sharks embarrassed the Stars, who enter five points behind eighth-place Chicago, with a 6-0 victory on Thursday.
GOLF WATCH: A regulation or OT loss by the Devils will officially end their playoff hopes. The Thrashers are done if they lose in regulation to the Bruins. The Wild are done with any sort of loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Columbus, Ottawa, Florida, New York Islanders, Columbus, Colorado and Edmonton are already mathematically eliminated.
-- A.J. Perez
Playoff Watch: Sabres to face Caps minus Miller
Posted on: April 2, 2011 12:42 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2011 1:24 pm