The Minnesota Wild have clinched a playoff spot and cemented their place as the first wild card participant.
The Wild have two games remaining while the rest of the Western Conference playoff contenders have three.
The Wild will face the worse of the two Western Conference division winners.
St. Louis Blues (52-20-7; 111 points)
The Blues looked destined for the top spot. They have fallen back to earth and have just a 5-5-0 record in their last 10 games, including three straight losses. The Wild will play the Blues Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center.
The Blues have won all four previous games between the two teams this season, including three in regulation.
The Wild have lost nine straight games against the Blues.
The Blues final three games includes road games at the Wild and Dallas Stars Thursday and Friday before finishing with a home game against the Detroit Red Wings.
The Blues are clinging to a one-point lead for the Western Conference’s best record.
Anaheim Ducks (51-20-8; 110 points)
The Ducks have played well over the last 10 games with a 6-3-1 record, but that can be taken with a grain of salt. They have not had the toughest schedule over that span with nine games against non-playoff teams. They have played the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers (three times), Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, Vancouver Canucks (twice) and Winnipeg Jets in that span. The only playoff contender was the San Jose Sharks.
The Ducks will play much tougher final games with home games against the Sharks Wednesday and Colorado Avalanche on Sunday bookending a road game at the Los Angeles Kings.
The Wild have a 1-1-1 record against the Ducks this season. The two teams split the two games in Anaheim and the Ducks won the game in St. Paul in overtime.
Colorado Avalanche (51-21-7; 109 points)
The Avalanche have put the pressure on the Blues with a 7-1-2 record in the last 10 games, including a lopsided win in St. Louis. The schedule has not been overly easy for the Avalanche with six games against current playoff teams. The three losses have come against the Boston Bruins (regulation), Winnipeg Jets (overtime) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (shootout). The seven wins include two shootout and two overtime victories.
The Wild have a 1-3-1 record against the Avalanche this season, including one shootout win and one shootout loss.
The Avalanche will finish the regular season with three games on the west coast. They are at the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks, Thursday and Friday, respectively, before finishing at the Ducks on Sunday.
San Jose Sharks (49-21-9; 107 points)
The Sharks have been jockeying for the Pacific Division lead with the Ducks for quite some time. However, a 4-4-2 record in the last 10 games has pushed them three points back.
The Sharks schedule over the last 10 games has not been difficult with six games against non-playoff teams. The Sharks lost five of those six games (three in regulation and two in a shootout).
The Wild have a 1-1-1 record against the Sharks this season.
The Sharks finish the regular season with road games at the Ducks on Wednesday and the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday with a home game against the Avalanche in between on Friday.
Chicago Blackhawks (45-19-15; 105 points)
The Blackhawks need a lot to go right to catch the Blues and Avalanche, but it is mathematically possible. They have been okay over the last 10 games with a 6-4 record with seven games against teams currently in the playoffs.
The Blackhawks finish the regular season with a home game against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday and road games at the Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators, Friday and Saturday, respectively.
The Wild have a 3-1-1 record against the Blackhawks this season.