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Playoff Watch: East race could swing in Raleigh

Posted on: April 3, 2011 1:46 pm
Edited on: April 3, 2011 3:27 pm
 
WHO CAN CLINCH: The idle Washington Capitals will win their fourth consecutive Southeast Division title if Tampa Bay loses in regulation to Chicago. The Detroit Red Wings can clinch the Central Division title if they beat Minnesota (regulation or OT) OR if they win via a shootout and Blackhawks lose to Tampa Bay. If the Anaheim Ducks beat the Dallas Stars, as many as three teams can secure playoff berths. The Ducks and Los Angeles Kings are in with a regulation winand the Phoenix Coyotes can earn a slot with a regulation, OT or shootout win by Anaheim.

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Buffalo Sabres (39-29-10) at Carolina Hurricanes (38-30-10), 5 p.m. ET

Separated by just two points, there's plenty on the line for this fourth and final tilt between these two teams. The Hurricanes enter on a three-game win streak and have won six of their last seven games. The 'Canes are coming off a 4-2 victory over the the New York Islanders on Saturday. They were briefly just a point out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East until the New York Rangers used a 3-2 shootout victory over Philaelphia Sunday to push that margin back to three points and move up a spot to seventh. 

The Sabres -- who enter in seventh place in the East -- felt the absence of starting goalie Ryan Miller, who missed his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury. Buffalo still managed to pick up a point in an OT loss to the Washington Capitals on Saturday, but Jhonas Enroth was shaky at times in net.

ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Dallas Stars (38-28-11) at Anaheim Ducks (44-29-5), 8 p.m. ET
This game means a lot to plenty of teams (see above).  The Stars are fighting to stay in the playoff hunt heading into the final week of the season. (Dallas’ only hope with a loss would be to catch eighth-place Chicago, but that would be a major stretch.) The Ducks have won four of the first five meetings, although they could be without defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, who left Saturday’s 4-2 loss to San Jose with an upper-body injury. The Stars have enter on a six-game skid. 

GOLF WATCH: The Calgary Flames will be eliminated if they lose to Colorado in regulation AND Chicago defeats Tampa Bay. Atlanta, New Jersey, Minnesota Columbus, Ottawa, Florida, New York Islanders, Columbus, Colorado and Edmonton are already mathematically eliminated. 
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:47 pm
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