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Isles punch playoff ticket as 4 teams vie for last spot

Rich Graessle / National Hockey League / Getty

The New York Islanders clinched a postseason berth for the fifth time in six years by defeating the New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Monday.

The victory also guarantees the Islanders third place in the Metropolitan Division and facing the Carolina Hurricanes in Round 1. The two teams met in the first round last year, with the Canes winning in six games.

There's now just one playoff spot remaining in the NHL, with the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Washington Capitals left to duke it out. The Wings, Pens, and Caps all won Monday while the Flyers were idle. Each team has one game remaining.

RW = Regulation wins, the NHL's first standings tiebreaker.

Team Points RW
Capitals 89 31
Red Wings 89 27
Penguins 88 32
Flyers 87 30

The Capitals control their own destiny and will earn the last postseason spot with a win Tuesday in Philadelphia. Washington can also clinch with an overtime or shootout loss and Detroit and Pittsburgh losses in any form.

The Red Wings can snap their seven-year playoff drought with any form of win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday and any form of loss by the Capitals. Detroit could also get in with an overtime or shootout loss, a Capitals regulation loss, and a Penguins loss in any form.

The Penguins can return to the playoffs by winning Wednesday against the Islanders. But before that, they need the Capitals and Red Wings to gain no more than one point each Tuesday. Pittsburgh can also get in with an OT or shootout loss and regulation losses by Washington and Detroit.

The Flyers still have a chance, but it's slim. They'll need to beat the Capitals in regulation and have the Red Wings and Penguins both lose in regulation. Philadelphia would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Washington if it wins in regulation.

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