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Kings will face San Jose, Ducks will face Nashville to open playoffs

April 10, 2011 | 12:49 pm

Kings-ducks_325 The first-round playoff opponents for the Kings and Ducks are set, with the schedules due to be announced at about 7 p.m. Pacific time Sunday.

The Kings, seeded No. 7, will face the No. 2 San Jose Sharks and will start on the road. Each team won three games in the season series, including two shootout wins for the Kings. No shootouts in the playoffs, though.

The No. 4-seeded Ducks will open at home against the No. 5 Nashville Predators, a matchup that could be difficult for the Ducks. Nashville won the season series, 3-1, scoring four goals in three of the games and five goals in the other game. The Predators generally don’t score a lot, so that has to set off alarm bells for the Ducks.

The final playoff pairing will be determined by the outcome of the Dallas Stars’ game at Minnesota on Sunday. If the Stars win in regulation or overtime they will edge out the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks for the No. 8 seeding and will face Vancouver in the first round. If the Dallas-Minnesota game goes to a shootout the Stars will lose a tiebreaker to the Blackhawks. That would put the Blackhawks in the playoffs and the Stars out.

Most series are expected to start on Wednesday, though some will open on Thursday for TV purposes and because of arena scheduling considerations.

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-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Kings right wing Kevin Westgarth and Ducks center Saku Koivu battle for the puck during the first period of their game Saturday night at Staples Center. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / US Presswire