All the pieces are falling into place in the West. Vancouver and Chicago were both eliminated last night, locking in Calgary and Nashville as the final two playoff teams. Detroit clinched the top seed and Minnesota clinched the NW title with a win - in regulation, thank you - over Calgary.
The top 3 seeds - Detroit, San Jose and Minnesota - are now set. Anaheim and Dallas are, for all intents and purposes, the 4th and 5th seeds (Dallas can still grab home ice advantage against the Ducks). Technically, the Avs can still catch the Stars in 5th...but they'd have to win by about 40 goals on Sunday for that to happen.
The 6th, 7th and 8th seeds are a little more fluid. The Avs have a 2-win lead on the Flames so need just a point on Sunday to clinch the 6th spot. However, Calgary plays in Vancouver tomorrow night and a Vancouver win would make Sunday's game meaningless. If the Avs do fall out of 6th, they'll be in 7th; Nashville can't catch them. So, if the Avs get to overtime on Sunday OR if the Flames lose on Saturday the Avalanche face the Wild in the first round. Otherwise, they'll face the Sharks.
The Predators can't catch the Avs (the Avs have too many wins), but they can still pass the Flames. Calgary holds the head-to-head matchup against Nashville, so the Predators have to pull ahead in either points or wins to get in. Nashville needs to beat Chicago tonight and then have the Flames lose tomorrow to get to 7th.
So, your first round matchups will be:
- Nashville / Calgary vs Detroit
- Calgary / Nashville / Colorado vs San Jose
- Calgary / Colorado vs Minnesota
- Dallas vs Anaheim
Certainly some interesting matchups there...
EDIT: The Stars website and the AP have both stated that the Stars have clinched 5th. If they have, I just can't see it. While the Avs catching Dallas is more improbable than, say, me marrying Jenna Fischer, it still is technically possible. Just not very likely. Sorry, Jenna.