The Florida Panthers needed a win against the Jets to clinch the Southeast Division and their playoff spot on Tuesday night, but instead, they only picked up a single point, losing in overtime and it left the door open a crack for the Washington Capitals and the Buffalo Sabres to pass them and possibly keep them out of the playoffs. A cliffhanger of Eastern Conference proportions.
The Sabres were able to pull out a win against the Leafs in overtime, keeping their hopes alive. With two games left, the Sabres need to win both to have a shot at the Panthers, who will need to lose both their remaining games in regulation for anything to happen, but the Sabres have the tie-breaker on them, so it is relatively possible at this point. The Capitals also have the tie-break on the Panthers, but more importantly, they have the tie-break on the Sabres, who they are duelling with at the end of the season.
In the West, the Avalanche have been pushed to the brink, where 1 point in the standings will be enough to knock them out, either in an overtime loss from themselves or the San Jose Sharks in the last two games for either side. The Avalanche can top out at 92 points, what San Jose has right now and Colorado has the tie-break on them, the one thing keeping them in, technically speaking.
The Dallas Stars also have the tie-break on Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Jose, which keeps their slim playoff hopes alive as well. The Stars do not have an easy two games, Nashville and St. Louis, so their hopes are slimmer than slim.
On Wednesday night, there are only two games on the schedule and neither have any impact on these races. Tampa is in Montreal for a non-playoff tilt and the Red Wings are in St. Louis for a Central Division clash of teams already in the playoffs. Not much going on here, other than possibly a playoff preview... if the stars were to align.