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NHL Push for the Playoffs: Golden Knights’ playoff path requires wins, lots of help

nhl push for the playoffs

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 24: The Vegas Golden Knights react after losing in a shootout to the San Jose Sharks at T-Mobile Arena on April 24, 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.

Well, business just picked up didn’t it?

Tuesday’s NHL slate of games was building up to be an interesting one with not only the Western Conference Wild Card race but also the battle for the top of the Metropolitan Division between the Hurricanes and Rangers. But the Vegas Golden Knights added even more drama to their season on Sunday by giving up a late game-tying goal and then losing in the shootout to the San Jose Sharks? Bring on the fun!

First, let’s set the scene for tonight out West.

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Here are the remaining schedules:

Predators: vs. CGY / @ COL / @ ARZ Stars: vs. VGK / vs. ARZ / vs. ANA Golden Knights: @ DAL / @ CHI / @ STL

To sum up the Dallas-Vegas game, a regulation win for the Stars would not only clinch a playoff spot but also knock the Golden Knights out of contention. A loser point for Peter DeBoer’s men keeps them in contention for another day. Nashville can clinch with a regulation win in any of their three games. A single point for the Kings in their final two games would get them in.

Vegas, well, they just need regulation wins and for the Stars and Predators to have a very bad next four days.

“We’ll get back on the saddle and try to get this group energized for Tuesday night in Dallas,” Mark Stone said after Sunday’s loss. “Because if we lose that one …You guys know what happens if we lose that one.”

If you’re Vegas, you’ve dug yourself into this hole and destiny is no longer in your hands. The Golden Knights need help and lots of it. Tiebreakers come into play with Regulation Wins important here. At the moment, the Predators lead that category with 35 followed by Vegas’s 33 and then the Stars with 30.

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


Panthers vs. Bruins, 7 p.m. ET Hurricanes vs. Rangers, 7 p.m. ET Flames vs. Predators, 8 p.m. ET Golden Knights vs. Stars, 8:30 p.m. ET


Via the NHL:

PRESIDENTS’ TROPHY: * The Panthers will clinch the Presidents’ Trophy if they defeat Boston in any fashion AND St. Louis defeats Colorado in any fashion; OR if they get one point vs. Boston AND St. Louis defeats Colorado in regulation.

EASTERN CONFERENCE: * The Maple Leafs will clinch the No. 2 playoff seed in the Atlantic Division if they get at least one point vs. Detroit; OR if Columbus defeats Tampa Bay in any fashion.

* A Maple Leafs-Lightning series in the First Round will be guaranteed if Tampa Bay defeats Columbus in any fashion AND Florida defeats Boston in regulation. Home ice in that series could be set on Tuesday, via the Toronto scenario above.

* The Hurricanes will clinch the Metropolitan Division if they defeat the NY Rangers in any fashion.

WESTERN CONFERENCE: * The Oilers will clinch the No. 2 playoff seed in the Pacific Division if they defeat Pittsburgh in any fashion.

* The Kings (idle) will clinch a playoff berth if Dallas defeats Vegas in any fashion.

* An Oilers-Kings series in the First Round will be guaranteed if Los Angeles clinches a playoff berth (i.e., if Dallas defeats Vegas in any fashion). Home ice in that series could be set on Tuesday, via the Edmonton scenario above.

* The Predators have five scenarios by which they can clinch a playoff berth Tuesday: If they defeat Calgary in regulation; OR If they defeat Calgary in overtime AND Vegas fails to defeat Dallas in regulation; OR If they defeat Calgary in a shootout AND Vegas fails to defeat Dallas in regulation or overtime; OR If they get one point vs. Calgary AND Vegas loses to Dallas in any fashion; OR If Vegas loses to Dallas in regulation.

* The Stars will clinch a playoff berth if they defeat Vegas in regulation.

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Panthers - clinched No. 1 seed in Eastern Conference Maple Leafs - clinched Lightning - clinched Bruins - clinched Red Wings - eliminated Sabres - eliminated Senators - eliminated Canadiens - eliminated

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

Screen Shot 2022-04-26 at 9.02.23 AM


Avalanche - clinched No. 1 seed in Western Conference Wild - clinched Blues - clinched Predators - 98.2% Stars - 87.3% Jets - eliminated Blackhawks - eliminated Coyotes - eliminated

Screen Shot 2022-04-25 at 9.15.08 AM


Flames - clinched Pacific Division Oilers - clinched Kings - 99.5% Golden Knights - 15% Canucks - 0.1% Ducks - eliminated Sharks - eliminated Kraken - eliminated

draft lottery

Getty Images

NHLI via Getty Images


18.5% - Canadiens 13.5% - Coyotes 11.5% - Kraken 9.5% - Flyers 8.5% - Devils 7.5% - Blackhawks (*conditional) 6.5% - Senators 6.0% - Red Wings 5.0% - Sabres 3.5% - Ducks 3.0% - Sharks 2.5% - Blue Jackets 2.0% - Islanders 1.5% - Jets 0.5% - Canucks 0.5% - Golden Knights (*conditional)

“Beginning this season there will be a limit on the total number of selections (10) a team participating in the lottery can move up in the event it wins one of the lottery draws, a change announced by the NHL on March 23, 2021. Only the top 11 seeds will be eligible to receive the No. 1 selection in the 2022 draft.”

The 2022 NHL Draft Lottery drawing will be held May 10


Connor McDavid, Oilers - 118 points Jonathan Huberdeau, Panthers - 115 Johnny Gaudreau, Flames - 111 Leon Draisaitl, Oilers - 108 Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs - 104 Kirill Kaprizov, Wild - 103 Matthew Tkachuk, Flames -101


Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs - 58 goals Leon Draisaitl, Oilers - 55 Chris Kreider, Rangers - 51 Alex Ovechkin, Capitals - 50 Kirill Kaprizov, Wild - 45 Kyle Connor, Jets - 45 Connor McDavid, Oilers - 43 Matt Duchene, Predators - 41 Alex DeBrincat, Blackhawks - 41


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