NASHVILLE, Tenn. Predators coach Barry Trotz signaled to his team on Monday that the top priority for the regular seasons final week was resting No. 1 goalie Pekka Rinne, rather than trying to secure home ice for the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Entering Wednesdays games, Nashville is fourth with 100 points, Detroit is fifth with 99 and Chicago is sixth with 98. Conceivably, all three Central Division teams could finish in any order from Nos. 4 through 6. Its mathematically impossible for any of them to finish higher or lower than those spots.
So with four days left before all of the games are complete, the jockeying is on. Some say that the most enviable seed is No. 6, as it guarantees facing the Pacific Division champion, which cannot finish with more points than any of the above three Central teams. (The NHL guarantees that a division champion can be seeded no lower than No. 3 in each of its conferences.)
Here is a breakdown of what could happen: