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Updated playoff scenarios

Nothing earth-shattering in the West happened last night. Detroit could have clinched the top seed and Chicago could have been eliminated from contention, but Chicago's 6-2 victory over the Wings put a hold on both of those.



The Avalanche, of course, have until Sunday to nurse their collective groins. With just one game left, where the Avs end up in the standings will have a lot to do with the way the rest of the teams play out. I'm not 100% sure I have all this correct (ping: Selanne), but I think the Avs now are guaranteed at least a 7th seed, with Calgary the only team that could pass us. That leaves us falling in either the 3rd, 5th, 6th or 7th and having the following as potential first round opponents: Detroit, San Jose, Minnesota, Anaheim, Dallas or Calgary. As soon as Detroit clinches the top spot (hint, hint) we can drop them from the list as well. For us to hit 3rd or 5th, though, we'll need help from other teams.

It is possible that we'll know all 8 playoff teams after tonight. A Nashville win and a Vancouver loss will lock in the top 8.

Games tonight:

Columbus at Detroit (7:30 eastern): The Wings need one point to clinch the #1 seed. And that would mean we wouldn't have to face Detroit in the first round.

St Louis at Nashville (8pm eastern): Not really much of an impact to us either way, really. Nashville can't catch us (they can match us in points but not wins) and there's no scenario that would have us facing the Predators in the first round. The Preds can catch Calgary, though, and that would be extremely gratifying to see. A Nashville win would eliminate the Blackhawks and also put the Canucks on the brink.

Calgary at Minnesota (8pm eastern): This is a game that essentially screws us either way. If Minnesota gets a point, they clinch the NW and the #3 seed. And if Calgary wins, they drop us into 7th and a likely first round playoff death against San Jose. But, if Calgary wins in regulation, we'd (strangely) control our own destiny for that #3 seed, locking up the top spot with a regulation win on Sunday no matter what the Flames do the rest of the way (EDIT: We need Calgary to beat the Wild in regulation AND then lose their final game. Or something). The worst-case scenario here would be for the Flames to win in overtime - it clinches the #3 for the Wild and drops the Avs into that dreaded 7-hole. As long at that doesn't happen, I think I'll be happy with the outcome. Note that a 3-point game in the other direction (a Wild OT win) would still leave the Avalanche in 6th by virtue of having more wins than Calgary.

Dallas at Phoenix (10pm eastern): The Stars have been slumping, but a win here essentially means that the Avs can't get to 5th (Calgary still has a shot). A Dallas win would put them at 95 points and 44 wins, the max the Avalanche could get to. Neither team has the advantage in the head-to-head points tiebreaker, so goal differential would resolve it and the Stars have a big lead in that area (+33 to +11). And, again, a 5th round seed means Anaheim so missing out here is not a heartbreaking loss (I'm not afraid to play the Ducks. I just hate them and don't want to have to watch them).

San Jose at Los Angeles (10:30pm eastern): The Sharks need to win to remain in the hunt for the #1 seed.

Edmonton at Vancouver (10:30pm eastern): Edmonton is done - literally and figuratively, as this is their final game of the season. Vancouver can still catch Calgary (they own the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Flames), but need to win their final two games to have a chance. However, a Nashville win and Vancouver loss of any type eliminates the Canucks.