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NHL Push for the Playoffs: Another big day for West playoff races

nhl push for playoffs

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 19: Blake Lizotte #46 of the Los Angeles Kings skates with the puck against Mattias Janmark #26 of the Vegas Golden Knights in the third period of their game at T-Mobile Arena on March 19, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights defeated the Kings 5-1. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Push for the Playoffs will run every morning through the end of the 2021-22 NHL season. We’ll highlight the current playoff picture in both conferences, take a look at what the first-round matchups might look like, see who’s leading the race for the best odds in the draft lottery and more.

Don’t try to sell Eastern Conference teams that their battles for positioning are trivial. They may snarl at you. But there’s no denying that the Western Conference features the juiciest, most desperate battles for playoff spots.

Tuesday puts said juicy battles on display in an all-you-can-watch buffet. Here are the most important games on a day brimming with them:

  • It’s unlikely that the Wild or Oilers fall too far, but Minnesota winning in regulation would make Edmonton at least a tiny bit less comfortable.
  • With the Kings fading lately, a game against the Blackhawks is one of those contests you just have to win. On Monday, the Kings learned that Drew Doughty’s season is over after wrist surgery.
  • Out East, the Lightning (vs. the Stars) and Bruins (vs. the Blues) struggle for positioning against quality West teams. So the Stars can be sure that they’re facing a focused Lightning opponent, and one that badly wants to get back on track.
  • After jarring downs, the Golden Knights have enjoyed at least a few recent ups. The Canucks may not view themselves as mere spoilers, but for Vegas, this is just as much a game they have to have as the Kings vs. the Blackhawks.

Beyond those more do-or-die West games, there’s plenty of intrigue out East, including a game that could influence a battle for the Metro title between the Rangers and Hurricanes.

Hockey fans won’t lack for viewing options, or suspense.

IF PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY (sorted by points percentage)

ATLANTIC DIVISION Panthers vs. Capitals Maple Leafs vs. Lightning

METROPOLITAN DIVISION Hurricanes vs. Bruins Rangers vs. Penguins

CENTRAL DIVISION Avalanche vs. Stars Wild vs. Blues

PACIFIC DIVISION Flames vs. Predators Oilers vs. Kings


Blues vs. Bruins, 7 p.m. ET Hurricanes vs. Rangers, 7 p.m. ET Oilers vs. Wild, 8 p.m. ET Kings vs. Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. ET Lightning vs. Stars, 9:30 p.m. ET Golden Knights vs. Canucks, 10 p.m. ET

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Panthers - clinched Maple Leafs - clinched Lightning - 100% Bruins - 100% Red Wings - eliminated Sabres - eliminated Senators - eliminated Canadiens - eliminated

Screen Shot 2022-04-11 at 9.04.01 AM


Hurricanes - clinched Rangers - clinched Penguins - 100% Capitals - 99.98% Islanders - 0% Blue Jackets - 0% Flyers - eliminated Devils - eliminated

Screen Shot 2022-04-12 at 8.59.37 AM


Avalanche - clinched Wild - 100% Blues - 99.98% Predators - 91.6% Stars - 85.3% Jets - 0.5% Blackhawks - eliminated Coyotes - eliminated

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Flames - 100% Oilers - 98.3% Kings - 76.3% Golden Knights - 42.6% Canucks - 5.6% Ducks - eliminated Sharks - 0% Kraken - eliminated

draft lottery

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NHLI via Getty Images


16.6% - Coyotes 12.1% - Canadiens 10.9% - Kraken 9.7% - Devils 8.5% - Flyers 7.6% - Senators 6.7% - Blackhawks (*conditional) 5.8% - Sabres 5.4% - Red Wings 4.5% - Sharks 3.1% - Ducks 2.7% - Blue Jackets 2.2% - Islanders 1.8% - Jets 1.4% - Canucks 1% - Golden Knights (*conditional)


Connor McDavid, Oilers - 108 points Jonathan Huberdeau, Panthers - 104 Leon Draisaitl, Oilers - 101 Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs - 99 Johnny Gaudreau, Flames - 99 Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs - 90


Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs - 58 goals Leon Draisaitl, Oilers - 50 Chris Kreider, Rangers - 49 Alex Ovechkin, Capitals - 45 Connor McDavid, Oilers - 42 Kyle Connor, Jets - 42 Kirill Kaprizov, Wild - 42

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.