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NHL Push for the Playoffs: East race down to sorting out seeding

nhl push for playoffs

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 20: Frederik Andersen #31 of the Carolina Hurricanes crouches in the crease and keeps his eye on the puck to protect the net as teammate Derek Stepan #18 defends against Ryan Reaves #75 of the New York Rangers who looks to deflect the puck into the goal during an NHL game on March 10, 2022 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

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.

There are 18 days remaining in the 2021-22 NHL season and only one conference can tout a race for playoff spots. That would be the West, who currently have an on-going battle for the two Wild Card spots and divisional seeds.

The Eastern Conference, however, has been pretty much wrapped up for some time now. While mathematically the Islanders and Blue Jackets are in it, they trail the Capitals by 15 and 16, points, respectively, with the calendar marching towards April 29 quickly.

The eight playoff teams in the East are just now out to fight over division crowns and home-ice advantage in their First Round matchups. In the Metropolitan Division, the Rangers’ 7-2-1 run in their last 10 has put them two points behind the Hurricanes with the two teams meeting Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. Both Carolina and New York have nine games to play. The Penguins got a big win over the Predators on Sunday, but they have eight games to play and trail the Rangers by six points in the division race.

While the Maple Leafs have been hot, picking up 17 points in their last 20 games, so too have the Panthers, who are 9-1-0 in their last 10 games. Florida has not given up ground in the Atlantic Division title battle, which leaves Toronto eight points behind with 10 games to play. Helping the Buds to that second-place spot has been the recent stumble of the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning, who are 5-3-2 over their last 10 games. They are only four points behind Toronto, however, so a season-ending hot streak could flip the tide in the home-ice advantage fight for the opening round. Potentially throwing a wrench into mix are the Bruins, who are a point behind Tampa Bay. Boston finishes the regular season against the Maple Leafs on April 29, a potentially spicy matchup.

IF PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY (sorted by points percentage)

Panthers vs. Capitals
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning

Hurricanes vs. Bruins
Rangers vs. Penguins

Avalanche vs. Stars
Wild vs. Blues

Flames vs. Predators
Oilers vs. Kings


Jets vs. Canadiens, 7 p.m. ET

Screen Shot 2022-04-11 at 9.04.44 AM


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 2022-04-11 at 9.05.37 AM


Avalanche - clinched
Wild - 100%
Blues - 99.99%
Predators - 92.3%
Stars - 85.5%
Jets - 0.2%
Blackhawks - eliminated
Coyotes - eliminated

Screen Shot 2022-04-11 at 9.06.14 AM


Flames - 100%
Oilers - 98.4%
Kings - 77.3%
Golden Knights - 40.9%
Canucks - 5.4%
Ducks - eliminated
Sharks - 0%
Kraken - 0%

draft lottery

Getty Images

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


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.