NHL Morning Skate for Monday, April 10. 2017: Regular season ends; Playoffs set; Ducks win 5th straight Pacific Division title; Joe Louis Arena closes as Red Wings win finale; Bickell scores in final game of career
* The Maple Leafs overcame a third-period deficit to defeat the reigning Stanley Cup champion Penguins and clinch the final berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* The Blues registered a shootout win to clinch the No. 3 seed in the Central Division and set up a First Round matchup with the Wild, who have home ice as the No. 2 seed. Minnesota won the only other postseason meeting between the Blues and Wild, a six-game series in the 2015 First Round.
* The Predators locked up the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference by virtue of their regulation loss and will face the Blackhawks, owners of the No. 1 seed, in the First Round. Chicago defeated Nashville in six games in the 2010 Conference Quarterfinals and 2015 First Round, their only other postseason meetings.
* The Senators clinched the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Division by virtue of their win over the Rangers. Ottawa will face either the Maple Leafs or Bruins in the First Round.
* The Sharks clinched the No. 3 seed in the Pacific Division by virtue of Edmonton’s win. San Jose will face either the Ducks or Oilers in the opening round.
* The Flames clinched the No. 1 Wild Card spot by virtue of Nashville’s regulation loss. Calgary will start the opening round on the road against either the Ducks or Oilers.
Confirmed First Round Matchups
(No. 1 Central) Blackhawks vs. (No. 2 Wild Card) Predators
(No. 2 Central) Wild vs. (No. 3 Central) Blues
(No. 1 Atlantic) Canadiens vs. (No. 1 Wild Card) Rangers
(No. 2 Metropolitan) Penguins vs. (No. 3 Metropolitan) Blue Jackets
Potential First Round Matchups
(No. 1 Pacific) Ducks OR Oilers vs. (No. 1 Wild Card) Flames
(No. 2 Pacific) Ducks OR Oilers vs. (No. 3 Pacific) Sharks
(No. 1 Metropolitan) Capitals vs. (No. 2 Wild Card) Bruins OR Maple Leafs
(No. 2 Atlantic) Senators vs. (No. 3 Atlantic) Bruins OR Maple Leafs
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Home Team in Caps
Ottawa 2, BOSTON 1 (SO)
Pittsburgh 7, NEW JERSEY 4
NY Islanders 3, CAROLINA 0
Winnipeg 5, COLUMBUS 4
Tampa Bay 4, TORONTO 1
St. Louis 6, FLORIDA 3
Nashville 7, DALLAS 3
Minnesota 4, COLORADO 3
ARIZONA 4, Vancouver 3
ANAHEIM 4, Chicago 0
Calgary 4, LOS ANGELES 1
Edmonton 4, SAN JOSE 2
SENATORS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH IN POTENTIAL FIRST ROUND PREVIEW
Alexandre Burrows, acquired via trade on Feb. 27, scored the tying goal and CraigAnderson made 28 saves through overtime to help the Senators clinch a playoff berth for the 16th time in franchise history.
* At 43-27-10 (96 points), the Senators moved one point ahead of the Bruins (44-30-7, 95 points) for second place in the Atlantic Division. Ottawa holds a game in hand on Boston – a potential First Round opponent – and swept the season series for the first time in franchise history (OTT: 4-0-0, BOS: 0-3-1).
* All of Ottawa’s 16 playoff appearances have come in the past 20 seasons. Elias says the Red Wings (19) and Sharks (17) are the only teams that have qualified for the postseason more times in that span.
ISLANDERS, LIGHTNING STAY ALIVE IN RACE FOR FINAL PLAYOFF SPOT
The Islanders (39-29-12, 90 points) and Lightning (40-30-10, 90 points) earned victories in must-win games to stay in the race for the 16th and final berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tampa Bay’s triumph came against Toronto (39-26-15, 93 points), who holds a three-point lead over both clubs for the second Eastern Conference Wild Card spot:
* Brock Nelson (GWG) scored just 87 seconds into the contest and Jaroslav Halak denied all 29 shots he faced as the Islanders extended their win streak to four games. Halak registered his second shutout of the season to extend his personal win streak to five games and improve to 5-1-0 since rejoining the Islanders on March 24 (1.51 GAA, .949 SV%, 1 SO).
* Nikita Kucherov (GWG) scored his 39th goal of the season (tied for second in the NHL) to help the Lightning improved to 6-1-1 in their past eight games overall and finish their season series against Toronto with a 2-1-1 record (TOR: 2-2-0). Victor Hedman tallied 0-3—3 to take the League lead for assists among defensemen and become the first blueliner in Lightning history to reach the 70-point mark in a season (15-55—70).
Remaining Games for Teams in Playoff Contention
Toronto: Saturday vs. PIT and Sunday vs. CBJ
NY Islanders: Saturday at NJD and Sunday vs. OTT
Tampa Bay: Friday at MTL and Sunday vs. BUF
DUCKS, OILERS EARN WINS IN PURSUIT OF PACIFIC DIVISION TITLE
The Pacific Division title will be decided within the final two days of the regular season following wins by the Ducks (45-23-13, 103 points) and Oilers (45-26-9, 99 points):
* John Gibson (37 saves) posted his sixth shutout of the season and Corey Perry netted the game-winning goal to help the Ducks extend their point streak to 13 games (10-0-3) dating to March 12. Anaheim, who has clinched home ice in the opening round, also moved to 8-0-1 in their past nine contests at Honda Center.
* Milan Lucic (3-0—3) registered a natural hat trick in the third period to help the Oilers rally past the Sharks (45-29-7, 97 points) and stay in the race for the No. 1 seed in the division. Connor McDavid (1-1—2) reached the 30-goal mark for the first time to extend his point streak to 12 games (7-15—22) and open a nine-point lead in the race for the Art Ross Trophy (30-67—97).
* Edmonton will contest a home-and-home set against the Canucks on the weekend, while Anaheim hosts the Kings in their regular-season finale on Sunday. The Ducks hold a 42-41 advantage in ROW, but the Oilers lead the season series tiebreaker.
WESTERN CONFERENCE SEEDING TO BE DECIDED ON FINAL WEEKEND
The Blues (44-29-7, 95 points), Flames (45-32-4, 94 points) and Predators (41-28-12, 94 points) earned wins to maintain their positions in the Western Conference playoff picture. St. Louis owns the ROW tiebreaker against both clubs (STL: 43, CGY: 41, NSH: 39).
* Jaden Schwartz collected 1-2—3 to help the Blues improve to 13-2-2 in their past 17 games and strengthen their grip on third place in the Central Division. St. Louis plays Saturday at CAR and Sunday vs. COL, needing only one point to clinch the No. 3 seed.
* Jon Gillies, a third round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft (75th overall), made 27 saves in his NHL debut to help the Flames maintain the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Calgary plays its final game of the regular season on Saturday at SJS.
* Viktor Arvidsson (2-2—4) established a career high for points in a game as the Predators raced to a 5-0 lead en route to victory. Nashville closes the 2016-17 regular season on Saturday at WPG.
PENGUINS LOCK UP HOME ICE AGAINST BLUE JACKETS
Pittsburgh won its fourth straight game to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Metropolitan Division and home ice in their First Round series against Columbus.
* The Penguins (50-19-11, 111 points) reached the 50-win mark for the fourth time in franchise history (also 1992-93, 2011-12 and 2013-14). They will finish with the No. 2 seed in the NHL and the second-most points in franchise history behind the 1992-93 campaign, in which they established franchise records for wins (56) and points (119) in a season.
* Sidney Crosby (0-2—2) collected 5-5—10 in the five-game season series against the Devils and now shares second in the NHL with 43-45—88 this season (74 GP).
Bryan Little (1-3—4) matched a career high for points in a game and Eric Comrie made 35 saves while making his NHL debut as the Jets extended their win streak to six games, their longest such run since relocating to Winnipeg in 2011-12 . . . San Jose’s Brent Burns, who leads NHL blueliners with 29-46—75 (81 GP), matched his own single-season franchise record for points by a defenseman (27-48—75 in 2015-16). He is the first defenseman to record back-to-back 75-point seasons since Brian Leetch achieved the feat with the Rangers in 1995-96 and 1996-97 . . . Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot recorded his 41st win to establish a single-season franchise record, surpassing the mark set by Grant Fuhr (40 in 1987-88) . . . Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk became the first goaltender in franchise history to reach 40 wins in a season . . . Oscar Klefbom (0-4—4) became the first Oilers defenseman to record four assists in a game since Chris Pronger (0-4—4) on Dec. 31, 2005 . . . Blake Wheeler (0-1—1) extended his point streak to seven games (3-7—10) . . . Penguins rookie Jake Guentzel (1-1—2) scored for a fourth straight game . . . Bruins forward Brad Marchand has been suspended for two games for spearing Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin . . . Denver will face Minnesota-Duluth in the championship game at the NCAA Frozen Four on Saturday . . . The Blues announced that forward Vladimir Sobotka will return to the team and has signed a three-year contract extension.
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