It came right down to the final game of the 2010-11 NHL regular season to figure out the entire playoff picture, but after the wild weekend was over and the mathematics were no longer needed, 16 teams were left standing above the rest.
After the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks lost a thriller to the rival Detroit Red Wings, all eyes were on the Dallas Stars to decide the final seed in the Western Conference. Luckily for last year's champs, the Stars lost to the Minnesota Wild, meaning the Blackhawks snuck into the eighth and final postseason spot, setting the table for an incredible first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs.
If the final weekend was any indication, it's going to be difficult for fans to step away from a TV for any significant time over the next two months—about the usual come playoff time then.
And the end of the regular season wasn't only important for those teams gearing up for a run to the Cup. It also was important for clubs looking ahead to the offseason, when player and other personnel decisions have either already been made or will need to be made before the beginning of next season.
So before the real fun begins on Wednesday, here's a look back at what the past few days meant across the league, as well as what we can expect in the coming weeks, thanks to a Saturday and Sunday to remember.