Now, the three teams that could have clinched on Thursday night came close, but no one officially made the jump into playoff security with the combinations of wins and losses not quite going the way they would have hoped. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean that hope has abandoned them at all.
On Friday night, the Chicago Blackhawks can clinch their spot in the West, while being idle. The Blackhawks will need the Los Angeles Kings to drop their game against the Edmonton Oilers, bringing the Kings' maximum point totals down to 86 points, along with the San Jose Sharks, and since both teams will play each other at least once in the final four or five games, a point will be dropped, which in turn, gets the Blackhawks to clinch tonight.
The Boston Bruins can also clinch their playoff spot with a Buffalo Sabres regulation loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, which would give the Bruins the edge in the regulation and shootout wins tie-breaker with the same amount of points and that would be that.
Now, if the Sabres can pull out a win against the Penguins tonight, that would eliminate Tampa Bay, Carolina and Long Island, officially. The Winnipeg Jets can also be eliminated in the East, if the Sabres win and the Jets lose either in regulation or overtime against the Hurricanes.
The Calgary Flames play host to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night, loser hits the brink of playoff elimination. Neither can be eliminated tonight, but they will draw a game closer to the end, especially if Los Angeles beats Edmonton tonight.