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CHICAGO (AP) The playoff field for the Western Conference

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CHICAGO (AP) The playoff field for the Western Conference is almost set.Patrik Berglund and St. Louis are going to Colorado to try for the final spot.Berglund scored three times to help the Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Friday night Christopher Tanev Jersey , setting up a showdown with the Avalanche for the conference’s last wild card.”When you have to win your last game, it’s intense,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said. ”Obviously there’s lot of pressure. I hope our guys embrace that because it’s going to be a fun game.”Carter Hutton made 19 saves as St. Louis stopped a three-game slide that included a 4-3 home loss to Chicago on Wednesday night on Duncan Keith’s power-play goal with 8.5 seconds left. Jaden Schwartz also scored in the third after an ugly turnover by the Blackhawks.St. Louis (44-31-6) moved one point ahead of idle Colorado (42-30-9) heading into their finale Saturday night. The Blues have won three of four against the Avalanche this season.Colorado needs a regulation win to make it to the postseason, while St. Louis takes the spot if it goes to overtime.”Final game, 82 all on the line at Denver,” Hutton said.Erik Gustafsson scored for Chicago, and Jean-Francois Berube made 31 saves. The last-place Blackhawks (33-38-10) finished with an 18-18-5 record at home.Veteran forward Patrick Sharp got the start in what was likely his final game at the United Center. The 36-year-old Sharp, who has 10 goals and 11 assists in his 15th NHL season, said he probably will retire after the finale Saturday night in his native Winnipeg.”It’s never easy Authentic Daniel Sedin Jersey , but I’m just ready to take that next step in my life, and I’m looking forward to it,” Sharp said.The team honored Sharp with a highlight video in the third period, and he waved his stick and tapped his heart to acknowledge the sustained roar from what was left of the announced crowd of 22,218. With his parents, wife and children watching from the stands, he took another spin around the rink after the game was over and waved as the crowd cheered again.”It was a tough game out there, tough to concentrate with what was going on inside my head,” said Sharp Womens Derek Dorsett Jersey , a key part of three Stanley Cup-winning teams in Chicago. ”But thankful that I was able to do that. The Hawks put that video on for me in the third which was really special. The guys staying on the ice and making me do a lap was something I’ll always remember. So, special night.”Berglund redirected a shot by Joel Edmundson past Berube with 1:43 left in the first period. The Blues carried the 1-0 lead into the third, but Gustafsson whipped a wrist shot by Hutton on the stick side at 8:08.Just 16 seconds later, Berglund swept in from the side and poked home a rebound for his 16th of the season. After Brayden Schenn set up Schwartz’s one-timer at 12:40, Berglund added an empty-netter to complete his second career hat trick.”I think we all played a pretty good game today,” Berglund said. ”It’s good for everybody’s confidence and now we know what we have to do tomorrow.”NOTES: The Blackhawks honored Hall of Fame forward Stan Mikita with ”One More Shift” before the game. The 77-year-old Mikita, who is the franchise’s career leader in games played, points and assists and is second in goals to Bobby Hull, has a brain disorder called Lewy body dementia Auston Matthews Jersey , so his three grandsons represented him on the ice for the national anthem. … Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews missed his seventh straight game with an upper-body injury. Anthony Duclair (lower body), John Hayden (upper body) and Tomas Jurco (illness) also were scratched, and Chicago went with seven defensemen. … The Blues scratched G Jake Allen, and G Ville Husso was the backup for Hutton. Allen is expected to start against the Avalanche in the finale.UP NEXTBlues: Visit Colorado on Saturday night.Blackhawks: Visit Winnipeg on Saturday night.—Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap— Being healthy in the playoffs is taking priority over seeding, with a few teams sitting their top players Saturday in the final game of the regular season.MVP front-runner Taylor Hall will sit out the New Jersey Devils‘ regular-season finale after the team clinched a playoff spot but can still move up the standings.New Jersey is resting Hall, fellow forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac, and defenseman Sami Vatanen in Game 82 at Washington, and it isn’t alone in taking precautions. The Columbus Blue Jackets won’t play stars Artemi Panarin, Seth Jones Connor Brown Jersey , Zach Werenski and two-time Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in their final regular-season game at Nashville.Columbus coach John Tortorella told reporters he was ”absolutely not” trying to avoid facing the two-time defending Stanley Cup-champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. New Jersey coach John Hynes similarly answered that giving Hall a break is more important after a grueling push to clinch the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2012.”We’re not looking to get in the playoffs and just be a Cinderella story,” Hynes said before his Devils faced the Metropolitan Division-champion Capitals on Saturday night. ”We’re looking to get in the playoffs and win, and (Hall is) a big part of that.”Hall, who is one goal short of reaching 40 for the first time in his career, said he’s cool with the decision to rest instead of taking a chance on the eve of the playoffs.”It’s a good time to get some rest and recuperate a little bit,” said Hall, who has 93 points in 76 games and is expected to be a finalist for the Hart Trophy. ”We’ve played a lot of hockey lately, and a lot of the stuff in the standings is out of our hands other than our game.”No Eastern Conference first-round matchups have been determined going into the final weekend of the season. The only series that’s set is the Winnipeg Jets facing the Minnesota Wild out West as the second- and third-place teams in the Central Division.There are still numerous combinations of matchups among the seven teams in the East that have clinched, with the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers still in the running for the final spot. Matchups can make a big difference in how the playoffs go Frederik Andersen Jersey , but players and coaches are careful not to look like they’re favoring one opponent over another.”I learned a long time ago that you don’t wish for certain opponents,” Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. ”It can backfire very quickly.”The Tampa Bay Lightning certainly aren’t playing that game. With a chance to clinch first place in the Atlantic Division and avoid facing the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, the Lightning are expected to start backup Louis Domingue in net at Carolina instead of Andrei Vasilevskiy, who leads the NHL in wins.The Boston Bruins, who could catch the Lightning, are going with backup Anton Khudobin against Ottawa, but they also play Sunday night against Florida in a game that was rescheduled because of snow.—

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