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Sabres Out, Capitals Panthers Qualify in East

April 5, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals salute the crowd after their game against the Florida Panthers at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 4-2 and clinched a playoff birth. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

We have our eight in the east.

With the Buffalo Sabres losing 2-1 against the Philadelphia Flyers coupled with a 4-2 win by the Washington Capitals over the Florida Panthers, the Eastern conference playoff teams are set.

Though the teams are set, the seeding is still up in the air for three spots. The New York Rangers and Boston Bruins will be 1 and 2, respectively. The Penguins clinched the No. 4 slot with a win over the Rangers, and the Flyers clinched No. 5 with their win. The New Jersey Devils will be No. 6.

Slots three, seven and eight are still anyone’s guess. The Florida Panthers at 92 points lead the Capitals by just two points. The Panthers need just one point Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes to clinch their first division title in team history. If the Panthers lose the division, they can finish no higher than eight and face the Rangers in the first round.

The Panthers have now blown two chances at locking up the division. Tuesday night, Florida blew a 3-0 lead against the Winnipeg Jets, ultimately losing in overtime.

The Capitals need to beat the Rangers Saturday in New York and the Panthers to lose against the Canes to take over the division. If they lose, either in regulation or overtime, they’d take the eight seed and face the same Rangers in the first round.

The forgotten team in all of this are the Ottawa Senators, who also have 92 points, hold a 2 point lead over the Capitals, but don’t hold a tie-breaker over Washington. If Ottawa drops its final game against New Jersey on Saturday and the Capitals win and the Panthers gain at least one point, Ottawa would drop to eight and the Capitals would sneak into the seventh slot.

If the Senators win and the Capitals win and the Panthers get at least one point, the Senators would stay in seventh and face the Bruins.

Get all that? See you Saturday.

Follow Matt Calamia on Twitter @MattCalamia

Topics: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets

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