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NHL Playoff Teams Set, Bruins to Play Postponed Game Against Senators

It’s a wrap for the 16 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff teams but final pairings for first-round games still need to be decided for some teams.

Joining the party at the last minute from Saturday’s play was the Detroit Redwings (24-16-8, 56 points). They will now undergo their 22nd straight playoff visit. This is the longest active playoff streak for any professional sports team.

The Redwings are in the seventh spot for the Western Conference, which isn’t business as usual for them but instead the lowest playoff seed for the team since 1993.

Redwings Henrik Zetterberg

Redwings Henrik Zetterberg

The Redwings won 3-0 against the Dallas Stars (22-22-4, 48 points) and center Henrik Zetterberg was the game’s MVP with his two goals while goalie Jimmy Howard had 17 saves, grabbing his fifth shutout for the season.

Zetterberg said via ESPN, “We’re happy the way we’re playing right now but still, we haven’t really done anything. This is not the end. We want to put a good run here. We’ve got to keep playing well. We face a good team and we have to play good hockey if we want to continue playing.”

For the Stars, they had already been eliminated from the playoffs by Thursday night. This is the fifth consecutive season they’ve done so–a record for the team.

The Red Wings will begin postseason play next week out West against the No. 2 seed Anaheim Ducks (30-12-6, 66 points). They have a long road ahead as they are +3000 to win this year’s Stanley Cup while the Ducks are +1075.

Also sneaking in for a last-minute spot was the Minnesota Wild (26-19-3, 55 points) thanks to Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche (16-25-7, 39 points). They had blown a chance on Friday to advance to the playoffs, losing 6-1 to Edmonton.

The Wild are returning to the playoffs after a five-year drought with the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Their Saturday win was assisted by right wing Devin Setoguchi’s break of a second-period tie and 29 saves by goalie Niklas Backstrom.

As for the Avalanche, they end their season as the West’s last-place team. Questions are swirling whether the team’s coach, Joe Sacco, will return next season. This comes as Colorado has missed the playoffs for a third consecutive season.

Unfortunately for the Wild, they will play the President Trophy-winning Chicago Blackhawks in Round 1.

The Hawks are +420 to win the Stanley Cup while the Wild are +2200.

Additional Saturday wins enabled the Los Angeles Kings (27-16-5, 59 points) to take the fifth seed. They will now meet the St. Louis Blues, who defeated the Blackhawks 3-1 last evening, and earned the No. 4 seed and the advantage of home ice.

From their 3-2 loss against the Kings, the San Jose Sharks (25-16-7, 57 points) are now a sixth seed and will play the Vancouver Canucks (26-15-7, 59 points). During this year’s regular season, the Sharks defeated Vancouver three times but ended the regular season losing their last three of four games.

As for the Canucks, they didn’t fare much better, losing their last three of five games. Top goalie Cory Schneider missed the team’s last two games with an injury but will supposedly be ready for the playoffs.

The Kings are +1100 for a repeat while the Sharks are +1400 to win this year’s Stanley Cup and the Canucks are +1200.

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Looking ahead to Sunday’s game for final determination of playoff matchups in the Eastern Conference is the Boston Bruins (28-13-6, 62 points) hosting the Ottawa Senators (24-17-6, 54 points).

The Bruins will need a victory to take the Northeast Division and the No. 2 seed. They are 5 to 7 to win the division.

The No. 1 seed Pittsburgh Penguins (36-12-0, 72 points) will play either the Senators or New York Islanders (24-17-7, 55 points). With a point against the Bruins, Ottawa could see a seventh-place finish but a regulation loss would kick them down to No. 8.

The Penguins are +355 to win the Stanley Cup while the Bruins are +675.

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