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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Chiefs will help determine their playoff opponent

If the Spokane Chiefs remain in their current position, as expected, they’ll open the Western Hockey League playoffs against either the Everett Silvertips or the Portland Winterhawks. If Spokane catches fire and the Seattle Thunderbirds fall apart, the Chiefs could improve their seeding and open the playoffs against either the Everett Silvertips or the Portland Winterhawks. Either way, it’s all but guaranteed that Spokane’s first postseason assignment will be Everett or Portland, both of which are listed in the Canadian Hockey League’s most recent Top 10 rankings. Spokane (32-29-3-1, 68 points) will complete the regular season with seven games in 10 days, starting at 7:05 tonight at the Arena against Portland. The Chiefs will have a big say in which team wins the U.S. Division title and how the playoffs shape up. Spokane has three games remaining against Portland and one against Everett, on March 22, the regular season’s final night. Portland (40-20-2-3, 85 points) trails Everett (40-20-3-4, 87) by two points in the division race, but the Winterhawks have seven games remaining while the Silvertips have five. Portland is also the league’s hottest team, having won four consecutive games and nine of 10. The setback was an overtime loss to Calgary. The Chiefs are 3-2-0-0 against Portland this season but haven’t met the Winterhawks since Jan. 23. Under the WHL’s new playoff format, the top three teams in each division qualify for postseason along with two wild-card teams per conference – the teams in fourth place or lower with the next-best records. Spokane currently holds down the No. 7 playoff seed as the Western Conference’s top wild-card team, nine points ahead of Tri-City and Kamloops. The No. 7 seed will open against the No. 2, which will be the U.S. Division winner, Everett or Portland, because B.C. Division champion Kelowna (105 points) has clinched the No. 1 seed. The Chiefs have an outside shot at catching Seattle (75 points) for third place in the division. All third-place teams open postseason against the second-place team in their division. In the case of the U.S. Division, that would be Everett or Portland. The Chiefs will clinch a postseason berth with their next win or Kamloops’ next loss. Kamloops, nine points behind Spokane, is down to its final five games and a potential 10 points.
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