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Flames to face Avalanche with NHL playoff matchups set

Flames to face Avalanche with NHL playoff matchups set
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The Winnipeg Jets will settle for a Stanley Cup playoff matchup with the St. Louis Blues after the Nashville Predators captured the Central Division title on Saturday.

Nashville finished off a tight three-team race for the division crown with a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. That result left the Jets playing for a chance to finish second — and getting home-ice advantage against the Blues in the first round — later Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes. The Jets gave up their division lead by losing five of their last six before their date in Arizona.

The Colorado Avalanche, celebrating Thursday’s overtime win over the Jets, will face off against the West-leading Calgary Flames in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.  (Joe Mahoney / AP)

Nashville, with the win on Saturday, also overtook the Blues in the standings. St. Louis temporarily moved into first with a 3-2 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks in the afternoon.

The Predators will face Dallas in the opening round after the Stars secured the first wild-card spot with 3-0 win over the Minnesota Wild.

That result set up a Calgary Flames-Colorado Avalanche clash in the first round of the playoffs.

The other West series will pit the San Jose Sharks against the Vegas Golden Knights.

In the East, Columbus coach John Tortorella will get a chance to face one of his old teams in the Tampa Bay Lightning. Columbus finished with the second wild-card spot in the East, while the Lightning finished atop the league standings.

The defending champion Washington Capitals will open against the Carolina Hurricanes, who got the first wild-card spot in the East.

The New York Islanders clinched second in the Metropolitan Division with a 3-0 win over Washington, meaning they’ll get home-ice advantage for a first-round series for the first time since 1988 when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins. In the other East matchup, the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs square off in a first-round series for the second year in a row.
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