Final match-ups determined for Stanley Cup playoffs

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NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks

(Reuters) – The final two match-ups for the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs were settled on Sunday when the Anaheim Ducks beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in overtime to clinch the Pacific Division for the fifth straight season.

The victory set the Ducks up in a Western Conference first-round series against the Calgary Flames.

The Ducks needed a point to claim the division title and Nate Thompson ensured they would achieve their aim with a third-period goal to tie it the game at 3-3 before Shea Theodore scored in overtime to seal victory for Anaheim.

The result consigned Edmonton to second place in the Pacific and the Oilers will face the San Jose Sharks in the first round.

One sour note for Anaheim was the loss of forward Patrick Eaves, who left the game because of an undisclosed injury. He has 11 goals in 20 games with the Ducks since being dealt by the Dallas Stars before the NHL trade deadline.

Other Western Conference match-ups include the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks against the Nashville Predators and the Minnesota Wild against the St Louis Blues.

Eastern Conference match-ups were also finalised at the conclusion of the regular season on Sunday.

The Columbus Blue Jackets snapped a six-game losing streak with a 3-2 win in their season finale over the Maple Leafs that proved costly for Toronto.

The loss meant the Leafs were slated to play conference-best Washington Capitals, while the Boston Bruins take on the Ottawa Senators.

Toronto lost two defensemen during the game as Nikita Zaitsev sustained an upper-body injury in the first period and Roman Polak sustained a lower-body issue in the second.

Other Eastern conference match-ups pit Columbus against Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins, the defending Stanley Cup champions, and the New York Rangers against the Montreal Canadiens.

The playoffs begin on Wednesday with all series played over a best-of-seven format.

(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by John O’Brien)

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