With a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues, the Dallas Stars clinched the last remaining playoff spot available in the NHL. All 16 teams that will participate in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs are now known. All that's left to decide is final seeding, which could take until Sunday to settle.
The Stars' win knocks the Phoenix Coyotes out of the postseason, unfortunately spoiling what could have been great theater on Sunday as the Stars and Yotes are due to meet in the regular-season finale.
For Dallas, clinching a spot was extra sweet Friday night. The Stars punched their ticket in front of a sold-out crowd at American Airlines Center while ending a five-year-long postseason drought.
The Blues meanwhile have been backsliding having lost five straight games, giving the Avalanche a chance to win the Central Division. That could set up a date between the Blues and rival Chicago Blackhawks.
Officially, the Western Conference Playoffs will include the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild and the Stars.
On the Eastern Conference side, the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings will all play for the Stanley Cup.
The regular season will wrap up on Sunday, making way for the NHL's second season which will begin the middle of next week. It's the most wonderful time of the year, you know.