Apr 25, 2013, 1:40 PM EDT
Thursday night could be a dramatic one for the National Hockey League.
Depending on how the results shake out, the entire postseason field could be set this evening, leaving teams with the final three days of the regular season to sort out seeding and home-ice advantage.
Here’s what needs to happen for all 16 spots to be clinched:
Ottawa needs to…
Defeat Washington in any fashion, or earn a point and have Montreal beat Winnipeg in any fashion, or have Montreal defeat Winnipeg in regulation.
New York Rangers need to…
Defeat Carolina in any fashion, or earn a point and have Montreal beat Winnipeg in any fashion, or have Montreal defeat Winnipeg in regulation.
Minnesota needs to…
Have Dallas defeat Columbus in regulation.
Detroit needs to…
Defeat Nashville in any fashion and have Dallas beat Columbus in any fashion, or earn a point and have Dallas defeat Columbus in regulation.
If all this happens…
Your eight playoff teams in the East would be Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington, Montreal, Toronto, New York Islanders, Ottawa and the New York Rangers.
Your eight playoff teams in the West would be Chicago, Anaheim, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Jose, St. Louis, Minnesota and Detroit.
What it would mean…
The Wild would snap a four-season playoff drought and qualify for their first postseason since 2008.
The Red Wings would extend their record playoff appearance streak to 22 consecutive seasons.
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