As play begins in the Western Conference on the NHL's final day of the regular season, absolutely nothing is settled as far as seeding goes.
Sure, we know that the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues can raise spiffy division champs banners if that's what they're into; but everything from the conference top spot to the first-round matchups is still undetermined.
Here's the schedule for Saturday's games. We'll gain some clarity when that Chicago vs. Detroit game goes final. Until then, here's what's on the line:
Vancouver Canucks (109 points, 42 ROW): If the Canucks beat the Edmonton Oilers at home, or lose in overtime or a shootout, they win the Western Conference. If they lose in regulation and the St. Louis Blues get a regulation, OT or shootout win at the Dallas Stars, the Blues are the top seed through the ROW tiebreaker.
St. Louis Blues (107 points, 44 ROW): What, you didn't read the Canucks' thing? Once more, with feeling: The only way the Blues win the conference is with a Canucks regulation loss and a win over Dallas.
Phoenix Coyotes (95 points, 35 ROW): They control their own destiny. A victory at the Minnesota Wild gives them 97 points at the Pacific Division title, along with the confirmation that Coach Dave Tippett is a [expletive] sorcerer. A regulation loss means the Kings/Sharks game is for the division title. An overtime or shootout loss leaves them with 35 non-shootout wins, meaning that they'd win a tie-breaker with the Sharks should they beat LA, but if the Coyotes and Kings end up with 96 points and 35 ROW, then the next tie-breaker is head-to-head points, and that goes to the Kings: 8 points to seven points. (Note: We had this reversed in yesterday's Death Watch.) If the Coyotes and Kings end up tied with 96 points but the Kings win in a shootout, then the Coyotes win the division based on having more non-shootout wins.
Nashville Predators (102 points, 42 ROW): They're locked into the No. 4 vs. No. 5 series, either against the Red Wings or Blackhawks. The Predators clinch the No. 4 seed with one point against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday or one point lost by the Red Wings to the Blackhawks. If Detroit beats Chicago, Nashville will need a point against the Avs to regain home ice.
Detroit Red Wings (101 points, 39 ROW): The Red Wings can clinch at least fifth with one point against Chicago, tying the Predators in points (102) but losing the ROW tie-breaker. With a victory over the Blackhawks, they move into sole possession of fourth place pending the Predators' game at Colorado. With a regulation loss to the Blackhawks, Detroit drops to the No. 6 seed.
Chicago Blackhawks (99 points, 38 ROW): If the Blackhawks win in regulation, they'll tie the Red Wings in points and ROW and will snag the No. 5 seed based on head-to-head points in their season series. If they win in overtime or a shootout, or lose in any situation to Detroit, they're the No. 6 seed and will face the Pacific Division champ.
Los Angeles Kings (94 points, 34 ROW): The Kings win the Pacific Division with a win over the Sharks in regulation or overtime and a Phoenix loss in either regulation, OT or the shootout, thanks to having earned eight points to the Coyotes' seven in the season series. The Kings finish seventh if the Coyotes win in regulation and they beat the Sharks; or with a Phoenix OT/shootout loss and a Kings' shootout win over the Sharks. The Kings finish eighth if (a) the Coyotes beat the Wild and they lose to the Sharks; (b) the Coyotes pick up a point and the Kings lose to the Sharks in a shootout; or (c) the Coyotes lose in regulation and the Kings lose to the Sharks.
San Jose Sharks (94 points, 33 ROW): If Phoenix wins in regulation, OT or a shootout, then the best the Sharks can do is seventh, with a win over the Kings. If the Coyotes lose to Minnesota in OT or a shootout and the Sharks beat the Kings, then San Jose is the seventh seed based on the ROW tiebreaker. If the Coyotes lose to the Wild in regulation, then the Sharks can win the Pacific with a victory over the Kings; with a loss, they'd be the No. 8 seed.