Joe Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Playoff races heating up in final week

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Just two games left in the regular season, so it’s last call for the final few playoff spots. In the Eastern Conference it’s basically Columbus and Montreal playing for the final spot with the Blue Jackets enjoying an upper hand they should rightly own right now. Sure Carolina could blow it, but let’s assume they’re going to make it even though they’re no longer a bunch of jerks.

After all the stuff they did at the trade deadline both trading for others and holding onto their own players, it would be an absolute disaster for the Blue Jackets if they don’t make it.

But Montreal is winning and pushing their hand, so credit to Claude Julien and his crew for that. On the other side it’s much more clear-cut with the Arizona Coyotes teetering on the edge of playoff elimination that would lock in the top eight spots, including a red-hot Colorado Avalanche crew that earned their spot by winning at the end.

By this time next week we’ll know all the matchups and there will be playoff hockey. Now that is something to be excited about.

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