WHO CAN CLINCH: The Tampa Bay Lightning can lock down a playoff spot if they beat the Ottawa Senators and the Carolina Hurricanes lose to the Washington Capitals in regulation. The Vancouver Canucks can win the Western Conference by earning at least one point against the Nashville Predators tonight.
ALREADY IN: Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Carolina Hurricanes (35-30-10) at Washington Capitals (44-22-10), 7 p.m. ET
The ‘Canes enter five points in back of the Buffalo Sabres, who hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Carolina has lost each of the first five meetings between these Southeast Division rivals and the ‘Canes are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
The Capitals could get forwards Alex Ovechkin and Jason Arnott back in the lineup tonight. (Both have been sidelined with undisclosed injuries.) Washington coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn’t disclose to reporters at the morning skate if either will see action, but both skated with the team again. The Caps are returning from a season-long six-game trip where they posted a 4-2-0 record. For the month of March, Washington is 11-2-0.
Carolina forwards Eric Staal, Cory Stillman and Erik Cole each enter with four-game points streaks.
ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Dallas Stars (38-26-10) at Phoenix Coyotes (41-25-11), 10 p.m. ET
The Stars enter the night four points out of eighth, making this final regular season meeting between these Pacific Division rivals crucial. Phoenix has won three of the first five meetings and the last three contests were decided by a goal. Dallas enters 1-3-2 over the last five games, a skid that has seen the Stars drop from fourth to 10th in the West.
GOLF WATCH: No new teams will be eliminated today. Ottawa, Florida, New York Islanders, Colorado and Edmonton have already mathematically out of it.