Pacific Division title, playoff seeding at stake on last day
The NHL playoff picture with the regular season ending Sunday:
EAST: The Toronto Maple Leafs filled the final vacant playoff spot by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 on Saturday night in dramatic fashion after losing goaltender Frederik Andersen to injury. They'll face either the Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington Capitals or the rival Ottawa Senators in the first round. The Montreal Canadiens, winners of the Atlantic Division, will have home-ice advantage against the New York Rangers. The Penguins have home ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Depending on the Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins will face either Ottawa or Washington. The Senators beat the Rangers on Saturday to lock up second in the Atlantic and home-ice advantage in the first round.
WEST: With a victory Saturday, the St. Louis Blues ensured a third-place finish in the Central Division and will open the playoffs at the Minnesota Wild. The Central Division champion Chicago Blackhawks will face the Nashville Predators. The Anaheim Ducks or Edmonton Oilers will win the Pacific Division and face the Calgary Flames, while the team that finishes second will open against the San Jose Sharks.
WHAT TO WATCH
-Toronto controls its first-round opponent and playoff path Sunday. It will face the Senators if it gets at least a point against Columbus. A regulation loss sends the Maple Leafs to Washington and the brutal Metropolitan Division side of the draw and the Bruins to Ottawa.
-The Ducks, who are 10-0-3 in their past 13, need only a point in their finale Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings to wrap up their fifth consecutive Pacific Division title. If they lose in regulation and the Oilers beat the Canucks in regulation or overtime, Edmonton finishes first.
The Maple Leafs' victory eliminated the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders. ... On a season-best 13-game point streak, Edmonton's Connor McDavid needs two in the finale for 100 on the season. ... The Capitals have won nine consecutive games against the Bruins. ... Boston rookie defenseman Brandon Carlo left the team's loss to the Capitals on Saturday after being injured on a hit by Alex Ovechkin. ... The Maple Leafs recalled goalie Garret Sparks on an emergency basis after Andersen's injury. ... Washington recalled forwards Garrett Mitchell and Chandler Stephenson and is expected to play defenseman Taylor Chorney and rest other players Sunday night against Florida, which is playing its final game with Tom Rowe as coach.
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