Apr 072012
 

On the one hand, the St. Louis Blues’ loss to the Phoenix Coyotes gave the Vancouver Canucks control of their own destiny (at least part of it). But that’s just part of the equation. Heading into today’s games, all but one of the league’s first round playoff match-ups are set, and there are a myriad of different scenarios that could play out before teams can find out who they are facing next week.

For Canucks fans, there are 4 games of particular interest (besides, obviously, the Canucks’ game against the Edmonton Oilers): New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals, Phoenix Coyotes vs Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues vs Dallas Stars, and Los Angeles Kings vs San Jose Sharks.

Despite blowing a third period lead against the Calgary Flames a couple of nights ago – their first regulation loss in 102 games when taking a lead into the final frame – the Canucks still have a chance to clinch the top seed in the Western Conference, and also, a chance to repeat as the NHL’s President’s Trophy winners.

  • If the Canucks get at least a single point against the Oilers, they will lock down the top spot in the Western Conference.
  • If the Canucks lose in regulation and the Blues win, the Blues get the top seed in the conference.
  • If the Canucks win and the New York Rangers lose, the Canucks will win the President’s Trophy.
  • The Canucks will also win the President’s Trophy if they get at least a single point against the Oilers and the Rangers lose in regulation.

Determining the rest of the Western Conference playoff seedings isn’t so cut-and-dry. Taking a stab at identifying the Canucks’ potential first round opponent, here are the different scenarios:

  • If Phoenix and LA win: Phoenix wins the Pacific Division (3rd seed), LA gets the 7th seed, and San Jose gets the 8th seed.
  • If Phoenix and SJ win: Phoenix gets the 3rd seed, San Jose gets the 7th seed, and LA gets the 8th seed.
  • If Phoenix loses in OT or the SO, and LA wins in regulation or in OT: LA gets the 3rd seed, Phoenix gets the 7th seed, and San Jose gets the 8th seed.
  • If Phoenix loses in OT or the SO, and LA wins in the SO: Phoenix gets the 3rd seed, LA gets the 7th seed, and San Jose gets the 8th seed.
  • If Phoenix loses in OT or the SO, and San Jose wins: Phoenix gets the 3rd seed, San Jose gets the 7th seed, and LA gets the 8th seed.
  • If Phoenix loses in regulation, and LA wins: LA gets the 3rd seed, Phoenix gets the 7th seed and San Jose gets the 8th seed.
  • If Phoenix loses in regulation, and San Jose wins: San Jose gets the 3rd seed, Phoenix gets the 7th seed and LA gets the 8th seed.

As for the rest of the playoff seeds in the West, the Nashville Predators face the Colorado Avalanche, and the Detroit Red Wings host the Chicago Blackhawks. Here are the possible scenarios:

  • If Nashville gets at least a point, they’ll get the 4th seed.
  • If Nashville loses in regulation, and Detroit wins: Detroit gets the 4th seed, Nashville gets the 5th seed, and Chicago gets the 6th seed.
  • If Chicago beats Detroit in regulation: Nashville gets the 4th seed, Chicago gets the 5th seed, and Detroit gets the 6th seed.
  • If Chicago beats Detroit in OT or in the SO: Nashville gets the 4th seed, Detroit gets the 5th seed, and Chicago gets the 6th seed.

In the Eastern Conference, the games of interest are: Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers, Florida Panthers vs Carolina Hurricanes, and Ottawa Senators vs New Jersey Devils.

  • If Florida gets at least a single point, they’ll win the Southeast Division and get the 3rd seed in the East.
  • If Ottawa gets at least a single point, they’ll clinch the 7th seed.
  • If Washington wins and Florida loses in regulation: Washington gets the 3rd seed and Florida gets the 8th seed.
  • If Florida gets at least a single point, Washington wins, and Ottawa loses in regulation: Florida gets the 3rd seed, Washington gets the 7th seed, and Ottawa gets the 8th seed.

Clear as mud?

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