NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Which races remain to be won?

NHL

As expected, Saturday’s busy schedule produced a lot of progress in the standings. The Pittsburgh Penguins clinched the East Division crown, and the Toronto Maple Leafs did the same in the North Division. The Nashville Predators are now officially playoff-bound after they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes — who they’ll play once more this week, then in the first round of the playoffs.

We now know the identity of 15 out of 16 playoff teams, with the No. 4 seed in the North remaining to be settled. The Montreal Canadiens are idle on Sunday, but they hold a 10-point lead on the Calgary Flames, who’ll need a win against the Ottawa Senators Sunday (a game that will be streaming live on ESPN+) and a lot of help. The Vancouver Canucks have seven games left, so they are also technically alive in the race, but they also need a considerable amount of help to catch Montreal.

In the final days upcoming, we’ll also be keeping an eye on the seeding races in all four divisions, as well as the battle for the Presidents’ Trophy. For this season, the playoffs will be intra-divisional for the first two rounds, then the final four teams will be re-bracketed based on their regular season record; so, the final stretch of games here is still meaningful even for the teams that have clinched their division already. As of Sunday, the Vegas Golden Knights hold an edge over the Hurricanes for the overall top spot, with two extra regulation wins thus far.

Having reached the final stretch of the regular season, it’s time to check in on all the playoff races — along with the teams jockeying for position in the 2021 NHL draft lottery.

Note: Playoff chances are via Money Puck. Tragic numbers are courtesy of Damian Echevarrieta of the NHL.

Jump ahead:
Current playoff matchups
Race for No. 1 pick

East Division

play

0:35

Conor Sheary sends the Capitals past the Flyers with a goal in overtime.

Points: 77
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: E1
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: E2
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. BOS (May 11)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: E3
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. NYI (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 70
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: E4
Games left: 1
Next game: @ BOS (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. NJ (May 10)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Next game: @ PHI (May 10)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 37
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Central Division

play

0:53

Alex Wennberg scores three goals for the hat trick as he leads the Panthers to a 5-1 win over the Lightning.

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 1
Next game: @ NSH (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 77
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. TB (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 1
Next game: @ FLA (May 10
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: C4
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. CAR (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: @ CHI (May 9)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. DAL (May 9)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 12
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


North Division

play

0:23

Connor McDavid sets up Leon Draisaitl for a goal to give him his 100th career point.

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: N1
Games left: 2
Next game: @ OTT (May 12)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 68
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: N2
Games left: 3
Next game: @ MTL (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N3
Games left: 3
Next game: vs. VAN (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N4
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. EDM (May 10)
Playoff chances: 97.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 18
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: @ CGY (May 9)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 5
Next game: vs. OTT (May 9)
Playoff chances: 2.1%
Tragic number: 1

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 7
Next game: @ WPG (May 10)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 1


West Division

play

0:54

Reilly Smith shreds the Blues for three goals as his performance lifts the Golden Knights to the 4-1 win.

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: W1
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. COL (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: W2
Games left: 3
Next game: @ VGS (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: W3
Games left: 2
Next game: @ STL (May 12)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: W4
Games left: 3
Next game: @ LA (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. VGS (May 12)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 3
Next game: vs. STL (May 10)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Current playoff matchups

East Division

No. 1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 4 New York Islanders
No. 2 Washington Capitals vs. No. 3 Boston Bruins

Central Division

No. 1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. No. 4 Nashville Predators
No. 2 Florida Panthers vs. No. 3 Tampa Bay Lightning

North Division

No. 1 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. No. 4 Montreal Canadiens
No. 2 Edmonton Oilers vs. No. 3 Winnipeg Jets

West Division

No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 4 St. Louis Blues
No. 2 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 3 Minnesota Wild


Race for the No. 1 pick

The NHL uses a draft lottery to determine the order at the top of the first round, so the team that finishes in last place is not guaranteed the No. 1 selection. New for 2021, a team may move up a maximum of 10 spots if it wins the lottery, so only 11 teams are eligible for the draw for the No. 1 pick. Full details on the process can be found here.

Points: 37
Regulation wins: 11

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 11

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 19

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 12

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 19

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 18

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 19

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 17

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 24

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