NHL playoff picture: Bruins, Canadiens can earn postseason berth


With the 2013 season winding down, the push for the playoffs is starting to heat up.

There are nine games in the NHL on Thursday night, with six games in the Eastern Conference and three games in the West.

The Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins are the only teams to officially qualify for the playoffs, but two more clubs will have an opportunity to do so on Thursday. The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens have a shot at punching their ticket, but will require some assistance from the Florida Panthers.

Here's a look at the playoff picture:

Eastern Conference

1. Pittsburgh Penguins, 60 points (40 games played) Y
2. Boston Bruins, 56 points (39 GP)
3. Washington Capitals, 44 points (40 GP)
4. Montreal Canadiens, 55 points (39 GP)
5. Toronto Maple Leafs, 49 points (40 GP)
6. Ottawa Senators, 44 points (39 GP)
7. New York Islanders, 44 points (40 GP)
8. New York Rangers, 44 points (40 GP)
9. Winnipeg Jets, 42 points (41 GP)
10. New Jersey Devils, 40 points (40 GP)

Western Conference

1. Chicago Blackhawks, 64 points (39 GP) X
2. Anaheim Ducks, 59 points (41 GP)
3. Vancouver Canucks, 52 points (40 GP)
4. Los Angeles Kings, 48 points (40 GP)
5. San Jose Sharks, 47 points (39 GP)
6. St. Louis Blues, 46 points (38 GP)
7. Minnesota Wild, 46 points (39 GP)
8. Detroit Red Wings, 43 points (39 GP)
9.Phoenix Coyotes, 42 points (40 GP)
10. Dallas Stars, 41 points (39 GP)
11. Columbus Blue Jackets, 41 points (40 GP)
12. Edmonton Oilers, 39 points (40 GP)

Y- denotes division winner
X- denotes playoff berth

Here's a look at the games with playoff implications:

Islanders vs. Bruins, 7 p.m., ET

Boston can clinch a playoff spot with a single point or a Jets loss to the Panthers.

Canadiens vs. Sabres, 7:30 p.m., ET

Montreal can clinch a spot with a win. They can also gain a point and get in with a Panthers win.

Panthers vs. Jets, 8 p.m., ET

In case you weren't aware, this game has implications on whether the Bruins and Canadiens earn playoff spots.

Sharks vs. Red Wings, 7:30 p.m., ET

San Jose can move up the standings dependent upon the Kings' game against the Colorado Avalanche.

More in the NHL:

Complete Frozen Four coverage

An NHL rink broken down: Sens edition

Eric Wellwood’s horrifying injury

Why puck possession matters

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