It was fun while it lasted, Columbus.
The Blue Jackets' furious charge in the final month of the season was all for naught, as the Minnesota Wild and Detroit Red Wings clinched the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference with wins on Saturday.
Columbus did their part, defeating the Nashville Predators with a last-minute pair of goals. Sergei Bobrovsky saved 19 of 20 shots en route to yet another win, and Nick Foligno managed to bank one in with four minutes remaining (with a little help from Shea Weber) for the game-winning goal.
Unfortunately, the Jackets had to depend on two non-playoff teams to give them the push needed to clinch. The Stars had already gotten completely run over by Detroit in their own barn, losing 3-0 without much effort. So that left just one spot left as the Wild tried to hang on to a 2-1 lead in the third period in Colorado. The Avs tried, even pulling their goalie with two minutes left, but Minnesota held on.
So the Western Conference playoff teams are set, with Columbus on the outside looking in. As of Saturday's final games, only two playoff matchups are official. Chicago will play Minnesota, and Anaheim will play Detroit. Los Angeles and San Jose still play tonight, and that could shape how the rest of the matchups play out. The winner of that game will play the St. Louis Blues, and the loser will play the Vancouver Canucks.