Stanley Cup first round set on final day of season
(Reuters) - The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs were set on Sunday after Colorado clinched the West's Central Division and Tampa Bay tied up second spot in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic with a win over Washington.
The postseason gets underway on Wednesday with the Lightning hosting Montreal, Columbus traveling to face Pittsburgh and Anaheim hosting Dallas.
The Avalanche entered the day tied with St. Louis on 111 points but clinched the division when the slumping Blues suffered a sixth straight defeat, falling 3-0 to the Detroit Red Wings. The Avs face wildcards Minnesota in the first round.
In the East, the Lightning secured second place in the Atlantic Division and home ice advantage in their first round series against the Canadiens with a 1-0 shootout win over the Capitals on Sunday, the last day of the regular season.
Other first round matchups will see the top seeded Boston Bruins, winners of the Presidents' Trophy for finishing with the best regular season record (54-19-9), take on the wildcard Red Wings, who reached the postseason for the 23rd consecutive year.
The Bruins and Red Wings, two of the NHL's Original Six franchises, clash in the playoffs for the first time since 1957.
Metropolitan Division champions Pittsburgh face the East's other wildcards Columbus, who head to the postseason for just the second time.
The other East matchup will see bitter rivals New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers renew hostilities.
The Anaheim Ducks assured themselves of the top seed in the Western Conference on Saturday with a 4-3 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings and open the postseason against the Stars, winners of the second wildcard. Continued...