Playoff Hunt: What's At Stake This Weekend

Saturday, 03.24.2012 / 10:00 AM / Features
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
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Playoff Hunt: What\'s At Stake This Weekend
With three weekends left in the regular season only one Western Conference team has officially clinched a playoff spot (St. Louis) and only two teams in the Conference have been mathematically eliminated from contention (Columbus and Edmonton). The other 12 teams are still battling for a shot at post-season participation.

Tracking The Playoff Hunt
March 2 - Weekend Preview
March 5 - The Week Ahead
March 9 - Weekend Preview
March 12 - The Week Ahead
March 16 - Weekend Preview
March 18 - The Week Ahead
This weekend's NHL schedule has 12 games featuring Western Conference teams; 11 of the 12 hold major playoff implications (only Sunday's Edmonton at Columbus game fails to hold significance in the playoff race).

We're tracking all teams within four points of the Preds or within six points of the No. 8 seed in the conference standings heading into Saturday's games.


Team Points* ROW^ Games Remaining* Max Pts** This Weekend's Schedule
#3^^ Los Angeles^^ 86^^ 31 8 (3H/5A) 102 Sat vs BOS
#4 Detroit 93 37 8 (6H/2A) 109 Sat vs CAR
#5 Nashville 92 38 8 (4H/4A) 108 Sat vs WPG, Sun at CHI
#6 Chicago 92 37 7 (3H/4A) 106 Sun vs NSH
#7 Phoenix 86 31 7 (4H/3A) 100 Sat at SJ, Sun vs STL
#8 Dallas 85 33 8 (3H/5A) 101 Sat vs CGY
#9 Colorado 85 31 6 (3H/3A) 97 Sat vs VAN
#10 San Jose 84 30 8 (4H/4A) 100 Sat vs PHX
#11 Calgary 83 31 7 (5H/2A) 97 Sat at DAL
* as of all games played on Friday, March 24     ^ the first tie-breaker is regulation/OT wins (excluding shootout wins)
^^ Los Angeles currently sits in the No. 3 seed by virtue of leading the Pacific Division; division champions are guaranteed the top-3 seeds in both conferences
** the most points a team can finish with in the '11-12 regular season (based on games played as of Friday, March 24)

Hawks, Kings On The Rise: The LA Kings have won six straight games heading into this weekend to move into the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference ... The Chicago Blackhawks have won five straight heading into this weekend's action to improve to 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. The Hawks remain in the No. 6 seed, but have opened up a six point lead on the No. 7 seed and a seven point advantage over the playoff cutline. At the same point, Chicago has moved just one point behind No. 4 seed Detroit for first round home ice.


East vs. West: There are six out-of-conference games on the schedule this weekend with Western Conference teams playing host in four of the six. On Saturday, Detroit hosts Carolina, Nashville hosts Winnipeg, and Los Angeles hosts Boston, while Minnesota visits Buffalo. On Sunday, Anaheim hosts Boston, while Minnesota visits Washington.


Head-to-Head: There are three head-to-head match-ups this weekend between teams in direct competition for playoff seeding in the Western Conference ... Calgary visits Dallas on Satuday afternoon with the teams separated by two points in the standings. Dallas enters the weekend in the No. 8 slot, while Calgary enters in the No. 11 slot in the Conference ... Phoenix visits San Jose on Saturday night with the teams separated by two points in the standings. Phoenix enters the weekend in the No. 7 seed (points tie with No. 3 seed LA for the Pacific Division lead), while San Jose comes in at No. 10 in the Conference ... Nashville visits Chicago on Sunday; entering the weekend the teams are tied in points (Nashville plays Saturday night, while Chicago is idle).


Clinching Scenarios: Nashville has already secured a higher seed than four teams in the Western Conference (Anaheim, Columbus, Edmonton, Minnesota). To clinch a playoff spot, the Preds need to secure a higher seed over at least three of the six teams listed below as long as at least one of the three are either Calgary or Colorado ... The Pacific Division winner is guaranteed the No. 3 seed in the Conference playoffs regardless of point total; Nashville could finish with a higher point total than the division winner but still hold a lesser seed for the playoffs...

   vs. No. 11 Calgary: magic number of 6 points (5 points to force tie breaker) ... any combination of 6 points earned by the Preds or lost by the Flames would secure Nashville a higher placement than Calgary in the final standings ... Nashville has secured the head-to-head tie-breaker vs. Calgary --- with 2 Preds games and 1 Flames games on the schedule this weekend, Nashville would need the correct combination in all 3 games to clinch over Calgary this weekend

    *vs. No. 10 San Jose: magic number of 9 points (8 points to force tie breaker) ... any combination of 10 points earned by the Preds or lost by the Sharks would secure Nashville more points than San Jose in the final standings ... Nashville leads the first tie-breaker (ROW) 38-to-30 (+8 wins, Sharks have 8 games remaining) --- Nashville cannot clinch over the Sharks this weekend; the earliest the Preds could possibly clinch over the Sharks would be Tuesday night

   vs. No. 9 Colorado: magic number of 6 points (5 points to force tie breaker) ... any combination of 6 points earned by the Preds or lost by the Avalanche would secure Nashville a higher placement than Colorado in the final standings ... Nashville has secured the head-to-head tiebreaker with Colorado --- with 2 Preds games and 1 Avs game on the schedule this weekend, Nashville would need the correct combination in all 3 games to clinch over Colorado this weekend

  
*vs. No. 8 Dallas: magic number of 10 points (9 points to force tie breaker) ... any combination of 10 points earned by the Preds or lost by the Stars would secure Nashville more points than the Stars in the final standings ... Nashville leads the first tie-breaker (ROW) 38-to-33 (+5 wins, Stars have 8 games remaining) --- Nashville cannot clinch over the Sharks this weekend; the earliest the Preds could possibly clinch over the Stars would be Wednesday night

   *vs. No. 7 Phoenix: magic number of 9 points (8 points to force tie breaker) ... any combination of 9 points earned by the Preds or lost by the Coyotoes would secure Nashville more points than Coyotes in the final standings ... Nashville leads the first tie-breaker (ROW) 38-to-31 (+7 wins, Coyotes have 7 games remaining) --- Nashville cannot clinch over the Coyotes this weekend; the earliest the Preds could possibly clinch over the Coyotes would be Tuesday night

  *vs. No. 3 Los Angeles: magic number of 11 points (10 points to force tie breaker) ... any combination of 11 points earned by the Preds or lost by the Kings would secure Nashville more points than LA in the final standings ... Nashville leads the first tie-breaker (ROW) 38-to-31 (+7 wins, Kings have 8 games remaining) --- Nashville cannot clinch over the Kings this weekend; the earliest the Preds could possibly clinch over the Kings would be Wednesday night

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