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Knights playoff scenarios: What’s at stake in regular-season finale?

The Golden Knights have one more game before the fun begins.

The Knights wrap up their regular season against the Anaheim Ducks at 7 p.m. Thursday at T-Mobile Arena. A win would allow them to start their Stanley Cup championship defense on a four-game winning streak.

“We’re happy we’re in,” center Jack Eichel said. “That being said, we understand what type of hockey we’ll be playing in the near future. You want your habits and your game to be as good as they can be.”

The eight teams in the Western Conference bracket have been decided. Seeding is still up in the air, however. Only two first-round matchups are locked in: the Colorado Avalanche vs. the Winnipeg Jets, and the Vancouver Canucks vs. the Nashville Predators.

The Knights can still face either the Edmonton Oilers or Dallas Stars in the first round.

“We’re going to play a good team. We’re going to play someone that’s ahead of us,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “It’ll be a daunting task, yet we’re a good team. They might be thinking the exact same thing.”

Here are all the scenarios to know heading into the Knights’ regular-season finale:

Third place in the Pacific

The Knights have a one-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division following their 3-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. Whoever earns that spot will face the second-place Oilers in the first round.

That means the Knights will set up a rematch of last year’s second-round series against the Oilers — which they won in six games — if they defeat the Ducks in any fashion Thursday.

Things get a little more complicated if they lose.

The Kings own the regulation wins tiebreaker, so they have a chance to pass the Knights if they’re victorious in their regular-season finale against Chicago.

Los Angeles needs a win in any fashion if Anaheim pulls off the upset. The Kings can move into third with an overtime or shootout loss if the Knights lose to the Ducks in regulation.

Edmonton should be a formidable foe no matter who it faces. The Oilers stumbled out of the gate with a 3-9-1 start, which led to coach Jay Woodcroft getting fired. Edmonton is 46-16-5 since under new coach Kris Knoblauch. That’s the best record in the NHL in that span.

Second wild card

The Knights will drop to the Western Conference’s second-wild card spot if they’re passed by the Kings.

They’ve never entered the playoffs as a wild card during their five previous trips to the postseason. The lowest the Knights have finished seeding-wise is third in the Pacific in 2019.

The second wild card will face the Stars, who locked up the No. 1 overall seed in the Western Conference by earning a point in their regular-season finale Wednesday night against the St. Louis Blues. Dallas won 2-1 in a shootout.

The Knights have faced the Stars twice in the playoffs. They lost to Dallas in five games in the Western Conference Final in 2020, then defeated the Stars in six games in last year’s Western Conference Final.

Contact Danny Webster at dwebster@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DannyWebster21 on X.

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