Fantastic finish ahead for competitive '10-11 season

NEW YORK -- With just 38 games remaining over the concluding five days of the 2010-11 regular season, the National Hockey League's incomparable competitive balance is highlighted by the myriad match-ups still possible when the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin next Wednesday night. Of the 19 clubs still chasing a Stanley Cup dream entering Wednesday night's action, only the Vancouver Canucks -- who have clinched the Presidents' Trophy for the League's top regular-season record -- is certain of its placing in the standings when the 186-day, 1,230-game season concludes Sunday.

In the Eastern Conference, the Pittsburgh Penguins have just two games remaining on their schedule yet still could finish anywhere between first and fifth. In the West, the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks could end up anywhere between fourth place -- holding home-ice advantage in a first-round playoff series -- and 10th, missing the post-season and holding a top-15 pick in the Entry Draft this June.