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NHL Push for the Playoffs: Golden Knights close to must-win territory

NHL Push For The Playoffs

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 09: Jonathan Marchessault #81 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates during the second period against the Arizona Coyotes at T-Mobile Arena on April 09, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Zak Krill/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.

Monday has the potential to be a significant day in the Western Conference playoff race with the Stars and Golden Knights both in action. The two teams enter the day separated by four points in the standings, with Dallas occupying the first Wild Card spot and Vegas sitting just outside of the playoff picture. Vegas trails both Dallas and Nashville by four points for a Wild Card spot and the Kings by three points for the third spot in the Pacific Division.

Dallas visits Vancouver on Monday while the Golden Knights host the Devils. The outcome of those two games could go a long way toward determining the remaining playoff spots in the West and significantly alter the playoff odds for both teams. This is especially true for the Golden Knights who are running out of time (and margin for error) in their quest for a playoff spot. They have lost three of their past five games, including a 4-0 loss to the Oilers on Saturday, and will only have five games remaining after Monday.

Even though they are four points back of Dallas (and Nashville) for a Wild Card spot, and have a remaining head-to-head game with the Stars, the third spot in the Pacific might still be the Golden Knights’ best path for a playoff spot, but even that might change with a loss on Monday to the Devils. They still trail the Kings by three points, while Monday’s game is their extra game in hand they have on Los Angeles. They can not miss the opportunity to gain two points against a Devils team that has won just four games over the past month.

Vegas has by far the tougher remaining schedule when compared to the Kings, still having three games against potential playoff teams (Washington, Dallas, and St. Louis) remaining. The Kings play nothing but the league’s worst teams to close out the regular season. That means if Vegas fails to capitalize on its chance Monday against a Devils team at the bottom of the standings it would need a lot of help to catch any of the teams ahead of them.

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. Predators Blues vs. Wild

PACIFIC DIVISION Flames vs. Stars Oilers vs. Kings


Capitals vs. Avalanche, 9 p.m. ET Devils vs. Golden Knights, 10 p.m. ET Stars vs. Canucks, 10:30 p.m. ET

Screen Shot 2022-04-18 at 9.17.36 AM


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

Screen Shot 2022-04-18 at 9.17.29 AM


Hurricanes - clinched Rangers - clinched Penguins - clinched Capitals - clinched Islanders - eliminated Blue Jackets - eliminated Flyers - eliminated Devils - eliminated

Screen Shot 2022-04-18 at 9.17.43 AM


Avalanche - clinched No. 1 seed in Western Conference Blues - clinched Wild - clinched Stars - 94.2% Predators - 84.7% Jets - 0% Blackhawks - eliminated Coyotes - eliminated

Screen Shot 2022-04-18 at 9.17.50 AM


Flames - clinched Oilers - 99.8% Kings - 80.7% Golden Knights - 35.9% Canucks - 4.7% Ducks - eliminated Sharks - eliminated Kraken - eliminated

draft lottery

Getty Images

NHLI via Getty Images


16.6% - Coyotes 12.1% - Canadiens 10.9% - Kraken 9.7% - Flyers 8.5% - Devils 7.6% - Blackhawks (*conditional) 6.7% - Senators 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 - 110 points Jonathan Huberdeau, Panthers - 108 Leon Draisaitl, Oilers - 105 Johnny Gaudreau, Flames - 105 Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs - 102 Matthew Tkachuk, Flames - 96


Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs - 58 goals Leon Draisaitl, Oilers - 54 Chris Kreider, Rangers - 50 Alex Ovechkin, Capitals - 47 Kyle Connor, Jets - 43 Kirill Kaprizov, Wild - 43 Connor McDavid, Oilers - 42