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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2017: NHL Playoff bracket projection heading into final day

Stanley Cup Playoffs 2017: NHL Playoff bracket projection heading into final day

UPDATE: The 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff bracket is officially set. Click here

The final day of the 2016-17 NHL season is here, which means the Stanley Cup Playoff picture is coming into focus. The Capitals are all set, having clinched home-ice advantage, the Metropolitan Division title and the President's Trophy.

But they still don't know who their first-round opponent will be. That's because the Toronto Maple Leafs still have one game left, and the result could impact who the Capitals play in the first round.

The Capitals play the Florida Panthers at 7:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, and by the time the game ends, they will know who their opponent is.

That's because the Maple Leafs face the Columbus Blue Jackets at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Here is what we know: The Maple Leafs (40-26-15, 95pts) and Boston Bruins (44-31-7, 95pts) have clinched spots in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

We also know that the New York Islanders (40-29-12, 92pts) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (31-30-10, 92pts) have been eliminated from the playoff race.

The Capitals, Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers are all locked into their playoff seeds.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF SCENARIOS

If the Maple Leafs win or take the game into overtime, the Capitals will face the Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Maple Leafs will face the Ottawa Senators.

If the Blue Jackets beat the Maple Leafs, the Capitals will face the Maple Leafs in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Bruins will play the Senators.

2017 NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF BRACKET PROJECTION

Eastern Conference (As of Saturday night 4/8):

1M Washington Capitals (118pts) vs. WC2 Boston Bruins (95pts)

2M Pittsburgh Penguins (111pts)  vs. 3M Columbus Blue Jackets (106pts)

1A Montreal Canadiens (103pts) vs. WC1 New York Rangers 100pts)

2A Ottawa Senators (98pts) vs. 3A Toronto Maple Leafs (95pts)

Western Conference (As of Saturday night 4/8):

1C Chicago Blackhawks (109pts) vs. WC2 Nashville Predators (94pts)

2C Minnesota Wild (104pts) vs. 3C St. Louis Blues (97pts)

1P Anaheim Ducks (103pts) vs. WC1 Calgary Flames (94pts)

2P Edmonton Oilers (99pts) vs. 3P San Jose Sharks (97pts)

RELATED: ARE THESE THE 10 BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL TIME?

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

The Capitals are the Eastern Conference Champions!

After dispatching Tampa Bay in Game 7, the Caps claimed the conference crown for just the second time in franchise history. But they're not done yet. Now it's on to Vegas to face the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps' win over the Lightning and look ahead to the matchup with the Knights.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

In what is perhaps the most unexpected Stanley Cup Final pairing in recent memory, the Washington Capitals and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are going to make history this year.

Either it is going to be the first expansion team to win a title in their first season, or it will be a team looking to end a 27-year title drought for one of the biggest cities in the United States.

But what it will not be is the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup.

Going even farther back than the Capitals last Stanley Cup appearance (1998), the Georgetown Hoyas and UNLV Rebels met in the 1991 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Sin City took the first, and up until now, the only postseason bout between these two cities. The Larry Johnson-led University of Las Vegas squad powered right past the Hoyas in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.

[D.C. sports and Second Rounds, I know right?]

Coming fresh off the NCAA title in 1990, UNLV waltzed right to the Final Four before meeting their demise against Duke. It also ended up being the last game for Dikembe Mutombo in a Georgetown uniform.

While in all likely-hood this will not be the final game/ series for Alex Ovechkin rocking the red, it may be his last and only chance for him to play this far into a postseason.

In the past two seasons, Vegas has gone from zero professional teams to having a Stanley Cup contender, a WNBA franchise, and lined up to take over the Oakland Raiders in 2020. 

Now time for the Golden Knights' Cinderella story to come up a little bit short. 

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