On the final night of the National Hockey League’s regular season the matchups for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs were finally determined.
With the Carolina Hurricanes’ loss to the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators’ win over the New York Rangers, Ottawa claimed the Eastern Conference’s top spot. They matchup with the Tampa Bay Lighting, who lost to the Washington Capitals to keep from passing the Montreal Canadiens, who will now face Carolina.
The Rangers’ loss to the Senators, combined with wins by the Philadelphia Flyers over the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils over the Canadiens, dropped them from the third spot to number six while the Devils jumped to the third-seed to match up against them.
Philadelphia ended up with the fifth seed and will face Buffalo, who had already locked up the fourth seed.
The Western Conference pairings had been decided a night earlier, when a loss by the Colorado Avalanche to the Edmonton Oilers combined with a win by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim over the Calgary Flames locked Colorado into the seventh seed and Anaheim into the sixth, the final open seeds.
The top-seeded Detroit Red Wings will meet the eighth-place Edmonton Oilers. The number two Dallas Stars will match up with Colorado while third-place Calgary will get a rematch with Anaheim. The fourth-seeded Nashville Predators will face the streaking San Jose Sharks.