191 down, 1 to go
It all comes down to Day 192.
The American Hockey League's 2014-15 regular season has seen some incredible races as it steamed towards the finish line, and there is still plenty up for grabs as it reaches its conclusion today.
Today's complete AHL Playoff Primer with full clinching scenarios is here, but here's a snapshot of the playoff picture:
In the Eastern Conference, the 16th and final ticket to the postseason will be punched this afternoon at the conclusion of Portland's game in Worcester (3:00 ET). The Pirates need a single point to clinch eighth place and a date with Manchester in the first round; a regulation loss would send Portland home and put idle Springfield into the eighth spot.
Worcester is playing for its own seeding as well. The Sharks are currently one point behind Providence for sixth place in the East; the Bruins host Manchester this afternoon (3:05 ET). The #6 seed will meet Hartford (#3) in the conference quarterfinals, while the #7 seed will take on Hershey (#2).
The fourth series in the Eastern Conference is set: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (#4) will meet Syracuse (#5) in a rematch of the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, won by the Crunch.
The top six teams in the Western Conference fell into place on Saturday night, leaving one game today with playoff implications. Chicago hosts Toronto (5:00 ET), with the winner earning the #7 seed and the loser settling for #8. Either way, the Wolves and Marlies will both get a 100-point team in the first round of the playoffs, with Utica (#1) and Grand Rapids (#2) awaiting the outcome of today's game.
San Antonio (#3) draws Oklahoma City (#6) in the first round; the Barons defeated the Rampage in the conference semifinals in 2012. And as a reward for the best regular season in the franchise's AHL history, Rockford (#4) will square off with the defending Calder Cup champions from Texas (#5).
Playoff schedules will be announced at the conclusion of play tonight. The first round of the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs will be a best-of-series, in either a 2-2-1 or a 2-3 format (if 2-3, the higher seed has the option of playing the first two or the last three games at home). Stay tuned to theahl.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates all day long.
Don't get left out -- Catch all of today's climactic action on AHL Live, with coverage beginning with the first puck drop at 3:00 ET.
- 191 down, 1 to go
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