The Pacific Division will come down to the final day in the 2017 NHL season. The Edmonton Oilers and the Anaheim Ducks are the last contenders. Heading into Sunday, April 9th, the last day of the NHL's regular season, two points separate the teams in the standings with Anaheim holding a two-point edge.

Edmonton plays Vancouver, Anaheim plays LA

Both teams will be active on Sunday with Edmonton returning home to host the Vancouver Canucks. That's a favorable match-up for the Oilers as the Canucks are the second-weakest team in the Western Conference. That game will start at 9pm ET and it will be the last game of the 2016/17 regular season.

The Pacific Division title may very well rest on the result.

Shortly before the start of the Oilers'/Canucks' game there is the Los Angeles/Anaheim game. That contest starts at 8:30pm ET and, for the most part, it will run concurrent with the Edmonton/Vancouver game. The Ducks only need one point from the game to put themselves out of reach of Edmonton. However, if the Ducks lose in regulation and if the Oilers should defeat Vancouver then the two teams will be tied with 103 points in the standings. Accordingly, the tiebreakers will come into effect.

Edmonton will win if tiebreakers are used

The first tiebreaker is wins in regulation or overtime (ie. ROWs - shootout wins don't count in this tiebreaker).

Currently both teams are tied from this point of view as well as both Edmonton and Anaheim have 42 ROWs. However, if Anaheim should lose that number won't budge for them. If Edmonton defeats Vancouver in regulation or overtime then the Oilers would have 43 ROWs. Basically to win on the first tiebreaker, Edmonton need to beat Vancouver without going to a shootout.

If Anaheim should lose and the Oilers should defeat Vancouver in a shootout then the two teams would be tied in ROWs. Hence, the next tiebreaker would come into play and that is "The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs" (NHL.com's standings page). Things start to get more complicated because the teams earned six points each in head-to-head affairs.

  • November 15th: Anaheim 4, Edmonton 1 (+2 Anaheim)
  • December 3rd: Edmonton 3, Anaheim 2 (OT) (+2 Edmonton, +1 Anaheim)
  • January 25th: Edmonton 4, Anaheim 0 (+2 Edmonton)
  • March 22nd: Anaheim 4, Edmonton 3 (+2 Anaheim)
  • April 1st: Edmonton 3, Anaheim 2 (+2 Edmonton, +1 Anaheim)
  • Overall: 6 points Edmonton, 6 points Anaheim

The NEXT tiebreaker is "If two clubs are tied, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included." The Anaheim Ducks hosted three of the five games between the two clubs this season, including the November 15th affair listed above. That result would be thrown out in this tiebreaker, giving Edmonton a 6-4 lead on total points between the clubs when the home-and-away games are leveled in the way that the NHL does it.

Basically, Edmonton just need to win (whether in regulation, overtime, or in a shootout) and they need Anaheim to lose in order to win the Pacific Division. Even if the Oilers defeat Vancouver in a shootout, Edmonton will get the tiebreaker nod.

The playoff match-up situation for Edmonton is if they finish first in the Pacific then they would play the Calgary Flames in the opening round. If Edmonton finish second then they would play the San Jose Sharks. Either way, the Oilers would host their first-round series. However, if they finish first then they would be guaranteed home-ice advantage in the second round should they survive that long.

If things seem complex, then here's some logic to keep things simple:

  • If Anaheim beats Los Angeles or Anaheim loses in overtime or in a shootout then Anaheim wins the division and Edmonton finishes 2nd. The Ducks would host the Calgary Flames in the first round while Edmonton would host the San Jose Sharks.
  • If Anaheim loses and Edmonton loses the above scenario applies as well.
  • If Anaheim loses and Edmonton wins then the Oilers would finish first in the Pacific and they would host the Calgary Flames while Anaheim would host the Los Angeles Kings.
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