The Eastern Playoff race has been decided. The Carolina Hurricanes have drawn the first wildcard spot and will face the Metropolitan Division-leading Washington Capitals in the first round of the playoffs. The New York Islanders will be the second seed in the Metro and will have to square off against the Pittsburgh Penguins. In the Atlantic Division, the Columbus Blue Jackets end up with a tough match-up as they will face the Tampa Bay Lightning, while the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs will meet once again, as everyone has known about for quite some time. The final results of the night will determine how the Western Conference Shakes out.
- The Colorado Avalanche’s Mikko Rantanen was spotted on the ice Saturday in San Jose wearing a non-contact jersey, according to The Athletic’s Ryan S. Clark. The injured forward, who hasn’t seen action since March 21st with an undisclosed injury, traveled with the team but will sit out once again. While that doesn’t sound like great news, considering the playoffs are right around the corner it is better to have him skating than not. If Colorado has any chance of advancing out of the first round, they will need their young scorer. The 22-year-old will have played eight less games than last year, but has a career high 31 goals and 87 points in his sophomore season. Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said later today that he is hopeful that Rantanen will be available for the playoffs, according to BSN’s Adrian Dater.
- Speaking of injuries, the Pittsburgh Penguins got some good news as defenseman Brian Dumoulin skated on his own after missing the past three games with a lower-body injury, according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Dumoulin, who normally skates alongside Kris Letang, would make a big impact on a lineup that is preparing for the playoffs and could use the player tied for fifth in the NHL with a +31 rating. “The fact that Dumo is on the ice is really encouraging from our standpoint,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. He added that the injury isn’t considered major and Doumolin remains day-to-day.
- The St. Louis Blues expect to get back defenseman Colton Parayko, who has sat out the past two games with an undisclosed injury. The 25-year-old defender is expected to play in the playoffs, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas. Thomas added that Tyler Bozak was just held out for precautionary reasons Saturday after he was in a car accident getting to the game. The veteran center was rear-ended, but wasn’t seriously hurt. He too is expected back for the playoff opener.