NHL playoff picture: Capitals, Jets battle for division title

Marianne Helm

With the regular season down to its final week, the playoff races are at their most intense.

The Southeast Division could be decided on Tuesday night, as the Washington Capitals host the Winnipeg Jets at Verizon Center.

Winnipeg sits one point off the division lead, as well as a playoff spot. However, a regulation win by Washington would clinch the Southeast in their favor and all but end the Jets playoff hopes. Of the five teams still vying for a playoff spot, Winnipeg is the only one who has played 46 games. A regulation loss against Washington would only allow the team to collect a maximum of 53 points this season.

Obviously, with both New York teams having two games left following action on Tuesday and Ottawa having three games remaining on its schedule, Winnipeg's opponents will have more opportunities to collect points.

In the Western Conference, the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues can clinch a playoff berth with a a single point on Tuesday night.

Here's a look at the playoff picture entering action on Tuesday night:

Eastern Conference

1. Pittsburgh Penguins, 70 points (45 games played) Z
2. Boston Bruins, 59 points (44 GP) X
3. Washington Capitals, 52 points (45 GP)
4. Montreal Canadiens, 59 points (45 GP) X
5. Toronto Maple Leafs, 55 points (45 GP) X
6. New York Islanders, 53 points (45 GP)
7. New York Rangers, 52 points (45 GP)
8. Ottawa Senators, 52 points (45 GP)
----
9. Winnipeg Jets, 51 points (46 GP)

Western Conference

1. Chicago Blackhawks, 73 points (45 GP) Z
2. Anaheim Ducks, 64 points (46 GP) Y
3. Vancouver Canucks, 59 points (46 GP) Y
4. Los Angeles Kings, 57 points (45 GP) X
5. San Jose Sharks, 55 points (45 GP)
6. St. Louis Blues, 54 points (45 GP)
7. Minnesota Wild, 51 points (45 GP)
8. Columbus Blue Jackets, 51 points (46 GP)
----
9. Detroit Red Wings, 50 points (45 GP)
10. Dallas Stars, 48 points (45 GP)
11. Phoenix Coyotes, 46 points (45 GP)

Z- denotes conference championship
Y- denotes division championship
X- denotes playoff berth

More in the NHL:

The Bruins’ luck with goalies

Six (!) outdoor games in 2014

Dissecting the Caps’ penalty kill woes

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