Mar 29, 2011, 4:38 PM EST
With the season winding down and the playoff picture sorting itself out, we’ll be taking a look at the night’s games and how they’ll potentially affect the playoff races. This is ProHockeyTalk’s “Race for the Playoffs.”
For the Eastern Conference breakdown, click here. Now let’s get to the West’s biggest games.
1. Vancouver – 109 pts (76 Games Played)
2. Detroit – 98 pts (76 GP)
3. San Jose – 97 pts (76 GP)
4. Phoenix – 93 pts (77 GP)
5. Los Angeles – 92 pts (75 GP)
6. Nashville – 92 pts (76 GP)
7. Anaheim – 91 pts (76 GP)
8. Chicago – 90 pts (75 GP)
9. Calgary – 87 pts (77 GP)
10. Dallas – 86 pts (74 GP)
7:30 pm ET
Chicago @ Boston
This is the tough second half of challenging back-to-back games for the Blackhawks, who beat the Red Wings on the road last night. They might have earned two points last night, but this is just another game in a must-win stretch for the team. Dallas is four points behind them right now, but the Stars have a game in hand and play a game late tonight. If Chicago loses, that cushion could get dangerously small in one night.
8:00 pm ET
Vancouver @ Nashville
The Predators are currently on a six-game winning streak and the Canucks don’t have much at stake in this game, but Vancouver is never an easy out. This team built a nice lead by beating the Stars and Ducks last week, but cannot rest on their laurels just yet. They play four of their last six games in Nashville, so maybe the Preds could move up the ladder a bit?
9:30 pm ET
Los Angeles @ Edmonton
The Kings begin life without Anze Kopitar in this game, while Dustin Penner gets to play against his former pals in the Oilers. Los Angeles has a great chance to earn the fourth seed and an outside shot at winning the Pacific Division, but it won’t be easy for them to reach that objective without their leading scorer, though.
10:00 pm ET
Dallas @ Phoenix
The Stars hope to close the gap between themselves and the Blackhawks while the Coyotes only have five games left to make sure that they don’t fall to one of the West’s lower seeds. Surely Dave Tippett would like to make life difficult for his former team by beating them in this big game tonight. It’s a more desperate situation for Dallas, but the Yotes still have plenty to play for too.
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- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) 74
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand 64
- Penguins announce Brooks Orpik ‘alert and conscious’ (Updated) 41
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ 74
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty 170
- Report: Salary cap ‘may be around’ $70 million next season 17
- TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend 5
- Report: Laviolette a candidate to replace Capuano 25
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (170)
- Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’ (89)
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand (83)
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ (77)
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) (74)