Cecil Whig - - ATHLON SPORTS -

SATUR­DAY: Detroit at N.Y. Rangers

The Red Wings are bat­tling Bos­ton and Philadel­phia for the last Wild Card spot in the East, while the Rangers are try­ing to stay in front of the Is­lan­ders in the Metropoli­tan. Or are they? Play­ing the At­lantic Di­vi­sion cham­pion Pan­thers looks like a bet­ter op­tion com­pared to fac­ing red-hot Pitts­burgh to open the playoffs.

SATUR­DAY: Nashville at Dal­las

The Preda­tors are locked in to fac­ing the Pa­cific Di­vi­sion cham­pion in the first round, but this game could be huge for the Stars. Tied with St. Louis atop the Cen­tral, Dal­las would love to win the di­vi­sion and face the fad­ing Wild to open the postseason. A loss here could give the Blues the edge and pit the Stars against the Black­hawks.

SUN­DAY: Philadel­phia at N.Y. Is­lan­ders

As we noted above with the Rangers, the Is­lan­ders might be best off sit­ting right where they are and not mov­ing up to face Pitts­burgh in the first round. The Fly­ers need ev­ery point they can get just to get into the playoffs. Philadel­phia has won its last two meet­ings with the Isles by a com­bined 8–1, so this is a nice matchup to close the sea­son.

SUN­DAY: Ana­heim at Wash­ing­ton

The fi­nal game of the NHL’s reg­u­lar sea­son could very well end up be­ing a Stan­ley Cup Fi­nal pre­view. The ques­tion is, will the Caps rest their best play­ers to get them ready for the postseason? The Kings, tied with the Ducks atop the Pa­cific, won’t be happy if they do. Los An­ge­les holds the tiebreaker, so Ana­heim needs to with the di­vi­sion out­right.

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