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NHL Playoff Update: Big Day Ahead

Apr 3, 2010, 11:10 AM EDT

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I generally don’t like being the melodramatic type, but today is a pretty huge day for playoff jockeying. I’m not going to go off the deep end and call it an “epic” day, but there’s a lot of things that can get squared away in both conferences.

eastplayoffs.jpg Things get started early this afternoon for the Atlanta Thrashers as they continue their schedule from hell to try and muscle their way into the playoffs and take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Luckily for the Thrashers, the Pens have been less-than impressive of late losing five of their last eight games.

Tonight, Montreal will try to keep things going against Buffalo. With the Habs’ win over Philadelphia last night, they were able to keep down another team looking to make the playoffs and improve their own standings in the race.  Montreal currently sits in sixth place in the East, two points ahead of both Boston and Philadelphia.  The Bruins face off with the Maple Leafs tonight as the Leafs will continue to try and play spoiler.

The Rangers are in Sunrise, Florida to take on the Panthers and after beating the Lightning in convincing fashion last night, one has to wonder if perhaps the Rangers are getting warm at the right time. I won’t say they’re hot because no one in this playoff race in the East is hot, but if anyone can even get lukewarm a playoff spot could be had.

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In the Western Conference, Calgary helped get themselves back into the playoff picture by beating the Avalanche.  As for others still jockeying for position, Detroit takes on Nashville in a game where one point can clinch a playoff spot for the Predators, meanwhile a win in regulation for the Red Wings could vault them ahead of the Predators for fifth place in the meantime.

Los Angeles can make life for themselves a lot less stressful if they can beat the Ducks later tonight. The Ducks come into the game with nothing but pride to play for but have won seven of their last ten games. Meanwhile, the Kings have lost six of their last ten games but are coming off a definitive 8-3 win over Vancouver on Thursday night.

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