WHO CAN CLINCH: The Philadelphia Flyers can clinch the Atlantic Division with a victory over the Ottawa Senators tonight combined with a win by New Jersey Devils, who face the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers can also win the division with an overtime or shootout loss to the Sens coupled with regulation loss by the Penguins.
The Washington Capitals can clinch the Southeast three different ways:
- a regulation victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- a point against the Leafs via a shootout/overtime loss and a Tampa Bay Lightning loss to the Buffalo Sabres (in any manner).
- a Lightning loss in regulation.
The Montreal Canadiens can secure a playoff berth with any kind of victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
The idle Phoenix Coyotes are in if the Dallas Stars lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Los Angeles Kings, also idle, are also in with a Stars loss, as long as it’s in regulation.
The Nashville Predators can dance in the land of milk and honey if they beat the Atlanta Thrashers (in regulation, OT or shootout) and the Stars lose in any fashion. The Preds are also in with a shootout/overtime loss and a regulation loss by Dallas.
ALREADY IN: Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Detroit and Washington.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Tampa Bay Lightning (44-24-11) at Buffalo Sabres (40-29-10), 7 p.m. ET
The Sabres will again be without goalie Ryan Miller, who will miss his fourth consecutive game with an upper body injury. Of course, with the way rookie Jhonas Enrothm (pictured above) has been playing, he doesn’t exactly have to rush back. Enroth is 2-0-1 with a 1.94 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in Miller’s absence. Enroth has gotten points in his last six starts overall and the Sabres, who enter three points ahead of idle Carolina in the eighth place, would like to see that trend to continue.
Tampa Bay enters on a five-game win streak. Captain Vincent Lecavalier, who took a high-stick to the eye in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, will play in tonight’s game, according to The St. Petersburg Times. He had been listed as day-to-day since he received stitches and was examined by an eye doctor.
ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Washington Capitals (46-22-11) at Toronto Maple Leafs (37-32-10), 7 p.m. ET
The Caps don’t need a victory to clinch the Southeast for a fourth consecutive season, but the Leafs do need one to stay alive in the playoff picture. Of course, even that may not be enough to keep the Leafs from missing the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season (see below).
GOLF WATCH: The Toronto Maple Leafs will be eliminated if they lose (in any form) to the Capitals in regulation or overtime. Toronto is also out if the Sabres manage to get one point tonight. Atlanta, New Jersey, Minnesota Columbus, Ottawa, Florida, New York Islanders, Columbus, Colorado and Edmonton are already mathematically eliminated.
-- A.J. Perez
Photo: Getty Images