The Nashville Predators face off against the NHL's best team, the St. Louis Blues, on Tuesday night, so while it won't be an easy task, they can clinch a playoff spot if they're able to pull just a point away from the contest. Nashville has had success against the Blues so far this season, winning four of the five games played thus far. This is the last meeting between the two clubs on the year.
The Predators (96 points, 76 games played) and Red Wings (97 points, 76 games played) can still catch the Blues (103 points, 76 games played), but a St. Louis win on Tuesday night will almost certainly take Nashville out of the running for the Central Division title and the No. 1 overall seed. A Nashville win, however, makes things much more intriguing.
Every game in the NHL on Tuesday night has some sort of playoff significance. Details on all of them:
- Sabres at Capitals: It's the big one tonight. The winning team will take control of its own destiny for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Full preview here.
- Blackhawks at Devils: Both teams need the points. New Jersey might be comfortable with the No. 6 seed in the East, given that the Devils will play the Southeast Division winner, and Chicago might be comfortable in the same spot out West, set to face the Pacific Division champion, but neither team has clinched a playoff spot just yet.
- Panthers at Canadiens: With Washington and Buffalo breathing down their necks, the Florida Panthers see two much-needed points against the Montreal Canadiens, the worst team in the East. The winner of Sabres vs. Caps can pull within one point of the Panthers should Florida lose in regulation to Montreal.
- Islanders at Penguins: Pittsburgh will be without Kris Letang, but the Pens can open a commanding six-point lead on the rival Philadephia Flyers in the East with a victory over the lowly Isles.
- Rangers at Wild: A Pittsburgh win and a Rangers loss puts the Penguins in first-place in the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division, which would drop New York to fourth-place.
- Lightning at Bruins: The Lightning are all but done, while the Bruins are just three points ahead of the Ottawa Senators for the No. 2 seed and the Northeast Division title. With several games in hand over Ottawa and a three-point lead in the standings, a Bruins win on Tuesday could put the division title out of reach.
- Hurricanes at Maple Leafs: Neither the Toronto Maple Leafs nor the Carolina Hurricanes will make the postseason, but the loser of Tuesday's contest between the two clubs will officially be eliminated from playoff contention.
Stick with our NHL playoff race StoryStream for all the storylines leading up to the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.