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Tonight's playoff scenarios

Apr 8, 2010, 5:15 PM EDT

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It seems like playoff scenarios are changing on a day-to-day basis this week since there’s such little separation between certain teams. Every point seems precious. (Or, useless, if you’re the home-ice clinching Washington Capitals or a member of the growing legion of teams waiting to go on vacation.)

We’ll try to keep you up-to-date with each situation, but today Kukla’s Korner already did a superb job of summarizing what can happen with Thursday’s slate of games. Here’s how they broke down the possibilities (which I must say, kind of reminds me of the last few weeks of NFL playoff battles).

EASTERN CONFERENCE
#2 New Jersey Devils would clinch the Atlantic Division…
* if they defeat the Florida Panthers AND the Pittsburgh Penguins lose in regulation to the New
York Islanders
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins would clinch home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs…
* if they get at least one point against New York Islanders
OR
* if the Ottawa Senators lose (in regulation or overtime/shootout) to Tampa Bay
#6 Montreal Canadiens would clinch a playoff berth…
* if they get at least one point against the Carolina Hurricanes

Now, here’s a quick rundown of each conference’s seeding situations (also broken down slightly differently in that KK post).

East

1. Washington (clinched)

2-3. Could go to New Jersey, Pittsburgh or Buffalo

4. NJ, Pitt or Ottawa

5. Pitt or Ottawa

6-8. Montreal, Philadelphia, Boston or Rangers

West

1-2. San Jose or Chicago

3. Vancouver (clinched)

4. Phoenix (clinched)

5. Nashville, Detroit or LA

6-7. Nashville, Detroit, LA or Colorado

8. LA, Detroit or Colorado

OK, so there’s your playoff race cheat sheet.

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