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The Vancouver Canucks will wait to the final day of the NHL's regular season to discover their opponent for the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

So will every other team in the Western Conference, because none of the pairings were set after Saturday's night action.

The Canucks capped their season with a 7-3 win over the Calgary Flames, and tied a franchise record with their 49th victory. Vancouver, the Northwest Division champion, is the third seed in the conference pecking order, and will face the sixth-seeded club.

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That could still be the Nashville Predators, the Detroit Red Wings, or the Los Angeles Kings.

Final order will be determined Sunday. Detroit plays at Chicago, and the Kings encounter the Colorado Avalanche. The Blackhawks are fighting with the San Jose Sharks for first place, and home-ice advantage throughout the Western draw.

Chicago needs to beat the Red Wings to claim top billing. Anything less and the Sharks would finish atop the table. The first-place club will play the Avalanche in the first round.

The race for fifth place, and a first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes, is more complicated.

The Predators currently hold down that position, and own the first tiebreaker (wins) over both the Red Wings and the Kings.

Should Detroit and L.A. both lose in regulation, the Predators would finish fifth, the Wings sixth, and the Kings in seventh. Should both clubs win, Detroit would move to fifth, L.A. would finish sixth, and Nashville would slide to seventh.

The Kings need a victory to leapfrog to the Predators, whereas Detroit only requires a single point.

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Heading into the final day of the season, the conference standings look like this:

1. San Jose 113 points, 51 wins

2. Chicago 111, 52

*^3. Vancouver 103, 49

*4. Phoenix 107, 50

5. Nashville 100, 47

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6. Detroit 100, 43

7. Los Angeles 99, 45

*8. Colorado 94, 43

*locked into position

^earned third place by virtue of winning the Northwest Division


The Canucks announced their player award winners for the 2009-10 season on Saturday.

  • Cyclone Taylor Award (most valuable player): Henrik Sedin
  • Cyrus McLean Award (leading scorer): Henrik Sedin
  • Molson Cup Trophy (three star selections): Henrik Sedin
  • Fred J Hume Award (unsung hero): Mason Raymond
  • Most exciting player: Alex Burrows
  • Walter "Babe" Pratt Trophy (best defenceman): Christian Ehrhoff

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About the Author
B.C. sports correspondent

Based in Vancouver, Matthew spearheads the Globe's sports coverage in B.C., and spends most of his time with the NHL Canucks and CFL Lions. He has worked for four dailies and TSN since graduating from Carleton University's School of Journalism a decade ago, and has covered the Olympic Games, Super Bowls, Grey Cups, the Stanley Cup playoffs and the NBA Finals. More

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