NHL playoff picture: Jets season on brink against Canadiens

Bruce Bennett

The NHL playoffs are a week away and there are two spots remaining in each conference. The Winnipeg Jets could decide the Eastern Conference race on Thursday night with a regulation loss.

There are four spots remaining in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, with two spots available per conference.

The Chicago Blackhawks clinched the Presidents' Trophy following the team's victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night. At the other end of the spectrum, the Detroit Red Wings reclaimed the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

Los Angeles remains tied with the San Jose Sharks in total points, with the Kings holding the tie-breaker. The two division rivals could meet in the first round of the playoffs and potentially will be battling for home-ice advantage on Saturday. However, the St. Louis Blues have a game in hand on both teams and could climb as high as fourth. The Blues will host the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.

In the Eastern Conference, the New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets are competing for the two final playoff spots. All three teams will be in action on Thursday night. Winnipeg will be playing their final game of the season. A regulation loss will effectively end the race in the East.

Eastern Conference

1. Pittsburgh Penguins, 70 points (46 games played) Z
2. Boston Bruins, 59 points (45 GP) X
3. Washington Capitals, 54 points (46 GP) Y
4. Montreal Canadiens, 59 points (46 GP) X
5. Toronto Maple Leafs, 55 points (46 GP) X
6. New York Islanders, 54 points (46 GP) X
7. Ottawa Senators, 52 points (45 GP)
8. New York Rangers, 52 points (46 GP)
----
9. Winnipeg Jets, 51 points (47 GP)

Western Conference

1. Chicago Blackhawks, 75 points (46 GP) P
2. Anaheim Ducks, 64 points (46 GP) Y
3. Vancouver Canucks, 59 points (46 GP) Y
4. Los Angeles Kings, 57 points (47 GP) X
5. San Jose Sharks, 57 points (47 GP) X
6. St. Louis Blues, 56 points (46 points) X
7. Minnesota Wild, 53 points (46 GP)
8. Detroit Red Wings, 52 points (46 GP)
----
9. Columbus Blue Jackets, 51 points (46 GP)
10. Dallas Stars, 48 points (46 GP)

P- denotes Presidents' Trophy winner
Z- denotes conference championship
Y- denotes division championship
X- denotes playoff berth

Here's a look at Thursday night's schedule:

New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m., ET

New York Islanders at Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m., ET

Ottawa Senators at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m., ET

Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins, 7:30 p.m., ET

Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils, 7:30 p.m., ET

Toronto Maple Leafs at Florida Panthers, 7:30 p.m., ET

Nashville Predators at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m., ET

Montreal Canadiens at Winnipeg Jets, 8 p.m., ET

Calgary Flames at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m., ET

Columbus Blue Jackets at Dallas Stars, 8:30 p.m., ET

Anaheim Ducks at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m., ET

More in the NHL:

A day in the life of an off-ice official

On being wrong about the Blue Jackets

Six (!) outdoor games in 2014

The best of our hockey network

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