The Eastern Conference's Boston Bruins lead the race for the
Presidents' Trophy, given to the team with the NHL's best record and
guaranteeing home-ice advantage during their journey through the
playoffs, with only the Anaheim Ducks left as a threat.
The Bruins have a three-point lead over the Ducks and close out
their season with games against two non-playoff teams while Anaheim
plays the Los Angeles Kings and Central Division-leading Colorado
Top seed in the Western Conference, which guarantees home-ice
advantage through at least the first three of four playoff rounds,
has come down to a three-team race between Anaheim, Colorado and the
St. Louis Blues.
The Avalanche and Blues are battling for the West's Central Division
title, which gives the winner a more favorable first-round opponent.
The teams both have 111 points with two games to play but Colorado
owns the tiebreaker by virtue of having more non-shootout wins,
One of the 16 playoff seeds, eight per conference, has yet to be
decided but the Dallas Stars, looking to snap a five-year postseason
drought, can wrap up the final playoff berth with a victory of any
sort against St. Louis later on Friday.
The Phoenix Coyotes, the only team who can catch Dallas for the
West's second and final wild-card playoff berth, gave the Stars a
chance to clinch given their loss to the Nashville Predators on
[to top of second column]
The tight gap in the standings between several of the playoff-bound
teams means the eight matchups for the first-round of the
postseason, which begins on April 16, will likely not be determined
until the regular season concludes on Sunday.
The NHL implemented a new format this season that gives the top
three teams from each division automatic berths while the next two
highest-placed finishers in each conference, regardless of division,
advance as wild cards.
The top ranked team in each conference will play the lowest wild
card while the other division winner faces the higher-ranked wild
card. The other matchups will have the second- and third-place teams
in each division play each other.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Gene Cherry)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.