NHL playoff watch: What’s at stake on Wednesday

NHL News

Tuesday night was of tremendous importance as the races for the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs wind down. The Dallas Starsshootout win over the Vegas Golden Knights pushed the latter to the precipice of elimination (their “tragic number” is now 1), and clinched playoff spots for the Los Angeles Kings and the Nashville Predators. Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes4-3 victory over the New York Rangers cinched up the Metropolitan Division title. Finally, with the Colorado Avalanche winning and Florida Panthers losing, the Presidents’ Trophy race will continue, as Florida’s lead is down to two points.

A number of seeds have been locked in — including all four divisions — but there is much at stake in today’s five-game slate. By earning one point with their shootout loss last night, the Knights have kept their playoff window open. They’ll need a win against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight (and help) to keep it that way. That help will come from the Arizona Coyotes, who are visiting the Stars. Should the Stars earn even one point tonight, they’ll be in and the Knights will be out, regardless of what Vegas does in its game.

Speaking of being out, the “race” for draft lottery position remains razor hot. The Montreal Canadiens (skating against the Rangers tonight) hold the top spot, with 51 points and 14 regulation wins; the Coyotes are second, with 53 points and 17 RW; the Seattle Kraken (in action against the Kings tonight) are third, with 58 points and 22 RW. The Philadelphia Flyers are just behind them in fourth (61 points, 20 RW), and skate against the Winnipeg Jets (down in 14th, with 83 points and 29 RW).

And now, let’s check in on the current playoff matchups, along with today’s schedule, expanded standings and the full lottery order.

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

Jump ahead:
Current playoff matchups
Today’s games
Last night’s scores
Expanded standings
Race for No. 1 pick

Current playoff matchups

Eastern Conference

A1 Florida Panthers vs. WC2 Washington Capitals
A2 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. A3 Tampa Bay Lightning
M1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. WC1 Boston Bruins
M2 New York Rangers vs. M3 Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference

C1 Colorado Avalanche vs. WC2 Dallas Stars
C2 Minnesota Wild vs. C3 St. Louis Blues
P1 Calgary Flames vs. WC1 Nashville Predators
P2 Edmonton Oilers vs. P3 Los Angeles Kings


Today’s games

Note: All times Eastern. All out-of-market games available to stream live on ESPN+.

Philadelphia Flyers at Winnipeg Jets, 7:30 p.m.
Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers, 7:30 p.m.
Vegas Golden Knights at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m.
Arizona Coyotes at Dallas Stars, 8:30 p.m.
Los Angeles Kings at Seattle Kraken, 10 p.m.


Last night’s scoreboard

Watch In the Crease on ESPN+ for highlights from every game.

Boston Bruins 4, Florida Panthers 2
Ottawa Senators 5, New Jersey Devils 4 (OT)
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 1
Carolina Hurricanes 4, New York Rangers 3
Edmonton Oilers 5, Pittsburgh Penguins 1
New York Islanders 4, Washington Capitals 1
Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Detroit Red Wings 0
Calgary Flames 5, Nashville Predators 4 (OT)
Arizona Coyotes 5, Minnesota Wild 3
Dallas Stars 3, Vegas Golden Knights 2 (SO)
Colorado Avalanche 5, St. Louis Blues 3
Vancouver Canucks 5, Seattle Kraken 2
Anaheim Ducks 5, San Jose Sharks 2


Expanded standings

Note: x = clinched playoff spot; y = clinched division title; z = clinched best conference record; e = eliminated

Atlantic Division

Points: 120
Regulation wins: 41
Playoff position: A1
Games left: 2
Next game: @ OTT (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 113
Regulation wins: 43
Playoff position: A2
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. BOS (Friday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 108
Regulation wins: 38
Playoff position: A3
Games left: 2
Next game: @ CBJ (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 105
Regulation wins: 39
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. BUF (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: @ BOS (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 72
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Next game: @ NJ (Friday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. FLA (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: @ NYR (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Metropolitan Division

Points: 114
Regulation wins: 46
Playoff position: M1
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. NJ (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 108
Regulation wins: 43
Playoff position: M2
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. MTL (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 101
Regulation wins: 36
Playoff position: M3
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. CBJ (Friday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 100
Regulation wins: 35
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 2
Next game: @ NYI (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 82
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. WSH (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. TB (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 63
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: @ CAR (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 61
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: @ WPG (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Central Division

Points: 118
Regulation wins: 46
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. NSH (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 109
Regulation wins: 36
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. CGY (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 109
Regulation wins: 43
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. VGK (Friday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 95
Regulation wins: 35
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 2
Next game: @ COL (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 95
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. ARI (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 83
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 3
Next game: vs. PHI (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 65
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. VGK (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: @ DAL (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Pacific Division

Points: 110
Regulation wins: 44
Playoff position: P1
Games left: 2
Next game: @ MIN (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 100
Regulation wins: 38
Playoff position: P2
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. SJ (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 96
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: P3
Games left: 2
Next game: @ SEA (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 91
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: @ CHI (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 1

Points: 89
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. LA (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: @ EDM (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Next game: @ DAL (Friday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 3
Next game: vs. LA (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


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. As of 2021, a team can 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. The 2022 draft lottery will be held on May 10.

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 17

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 22

Points: 61
Regulation wins: 20

Points: 63
Regulation wins: 19

Points: 65
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 72
Regulation wins: 20

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 22

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 22

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 82
Regulation wins: 32

Points: 83
Regulation wins: 29

Points: 89
Regulation wins: 32

Points: 91
Regulation wins: 33

Notes on conditionally traded picks impacting the top 16:

  • Columbus will receive Chicago’s first-round pick if Chicago does not win either of the two draws in the 2022 draft lottery. Otherwise, the pick defers to 2023.

  • Buffalo will receive Vegas’ first-round pick if it is outside the top 10 selections. Otherwise, the pick defers to 2023.

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