Who will the Russian stars play in the NHL playoffs? All pairs of the first round of the Stanley Cup. LIVE
In the Eastern Conference, opponents for Russian players are determined, and in the Western Conference, the fate of the last ticket to the playoffs is decided.
Another game day in the NHL regular season removed many questions about the formation of pairs in the first round of the Stanley Cup. After the end of today’s matches, two more Western Conference teams, Los Angeles and Nashville, secured a place in the playoffs. Thus, 15 out of 16 playoff participants have already been determined.
Eight contenders for the main NHL trophy in the East have been identified for quite some time. The Carolinas, Rangers, Pittsburgh, Florida, Toronto, Tampa, Boston and Washington will compete for the Stanley Cup from this conference. In the West, Colorado, Calgary, St. Louis, Minnesota, Edmonton and the two above-mentioned teams, Los Angeles and Nashville, can already prepare for the main matches of the season.
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It remains to close only one vacancy, which is claimed by Dallas and Vegas. At the same time, all mathematical layouts play into the hands of the “stars”, who today beat the “knights” in a head-to-head match in a shootout. The Stars are now four points ahead of the Golden Knights with two games to go in the smooth part of the season. And any point scored guarantees Dallas participation in the playoffs.
We remind you that according to the rules, in the first round, the second and third places of each division meet each other, the best team of the conference plays with the team that took the second wild card position, and the winner of the other division meets with the team that is in the first wild card position. At the moment, two pairs of the first round of the playoffs have already been precisely determined: Minnesota will play with St. Louis, and Edmonton will meet with Los Angeles. In turn, in the East, the situation is much more complicated – and there, in the last days of the regular season, it will be determined how the Russian league stars will distribute rivals among themselves. As of now, the pairs look like this:
Rangers – Pittsburgh
Toronto – Tampa
Florida – Washington
Carolina – Boston
Minnesota – St. Louis
Edmonton – Los Angeles
Colorado – Dallas
Calgary – Nashville.
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Intrigue at the end of the regular season
The gap between the Lightning and the Bruins with two games before the end of the regular season is three points. Moreover, if points are equal, Tampa will have an advantage over Boston in the standings, so with a 99% probability, Tampa Bay will play Toronto, and Boston will play Carolina.
The only real intrigue in the East lies in the battle between Pittsburgh and Washington for third place in the Capital Division:
- The Penguins scored 101 points and were left to face Columbus at home;
- the Capitals have 100 points and two games in hand (against the Islanders and Rangers);
- if points are equal, Pittsburgh will be ranked higher.
Thus, it may and most likely will turn out that it is the Rangers who will choose their opponent in the first round of the playoffs in a head-to-head match with the Capitals.
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In the West, it remains to decide who in the Minnesota-St. Louis pair will have the advantage of home ice.
Also, will Nashville take the top spot in the wild card rankings?
And finally, who will make the playoffs: Dallas or Vegas?
The last match of the regular season will take place on May 1, but two teams will take part in it, which have long lost their chances for the playoffs – Winnipeg and Seattle. All remaining key matches of the regular season will be completed by April 30th. In real time, we will monitor how the situation in the NHL standings is changing.
On the night of April 27-28, the NHL will host five regular season games:
02:30 (Moscow time) – New York Rangers – Montreal;
02:30 – “Winnipeg” – “Philadelphia”;
03:30 – “Chicago” – “Vegas”;
03:30 – Dallas – Arizona;
05:00 – Seattle – Los Angeles.
The third and fourth matches of the game day are of great interest to themselves, because the fate of the last trip to the NHL playoffs depends on their results. If Dallas scores even a point against Arizona or Vegas loses even a point against Chicago, then the 16th Stanley Cup runner-up will be clear.