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Practice Report: Still Plenty to Play For

Avalanche Set to Face Minnesota on Sunday in Regular Season Finale

Friday, 04.04.2008 / 3:27 PM / Fan Zone
By Aaron Lopez  - Special to ColoradoAvalanche.com
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Practice Report: Still Plenty to Play For
All eight teams are now locked into the Western Conference Playoff picture, while each of the three division titles in the conference has been decided as well.

Even so, there is still plenty at stake over the final three days of the regular season.

While some playoff-related scenarios are still up in the air, many other questions have been answered over the past few days.

For starters, the Avalanche will most likely head into the postseason with either the No. 6 or No. 7 seed. Current No. 8 seed Nashville cannot catch Colorado in the standings, while the Avalanche almost certainly cannot overtake No. 5 Dallas.

Even if the Stars lose their final two games and the Avalanche tops the Minnesota Wild on Sunday (which would give the teams an even number of both points and wins, along with a split of the season series), the Stars would still hold the tie-breaker in goal differential. Dallas has scored 35 more goals than its opponents through Thursday’s games, while Colorado sits at a +11 goal differential.

If the Avs finish the regular season where they currently sit – in the No. 6 spot – they will face Northwest Division champion Minnesota in the first round. But if Colorado drops to No. 7, the club will take on the San Jose Sharks in Round One.

Colorado plays its final game of the regular season on Sunday when the Wild pays a visit to the Mile High City in a potential first-round playoff preview. While Minnesota has clinched the Northwest Division title and the Avalanche has wrapped up a spot in the postseason, there will still be plenty on the line.

“We still have a lot to play for, including playoff seeding,” said Avalanche center Tyler Arnason. “You don’t really want to look too far ahead, but it can also help with having home-ice advantage down the road. The higher up you can get (in the standings) the better off you’ll be.”

As for a preference of a first-round playoff opponent?

“Playing the Wild would mean having a higher seed, but I don’t really have a preference of who we play,” said Arnason. “Both San Jose and Minnesota are tough teams.”




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