NHL playoff watch standings update: Race for seeding continues in the East

We know the identity of the NHL's eight Eastern Conference playoff teams -- and have for some time, albeit unofficially until recently. But in what order will they finish? Thursday night's games will give us another set of clues.

The Florida Panthers take on the Detroit Red Wings (7 ET on ESPN+, Hulu), though they are far enough ahead that even a shocking loss wouldn't ding their chances of finishing first in the conference by too much. A more captivating matchup pits the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Tampa Bay Lightning (8 ET on ESPN), as these two are currently poised to square off in the No. 2 vs. No. 3 series in the Atlantic.


However, the Boston Bruins are only one point behind the Lightning, so a win Thursday coupled with a Lightning loss would vault them into the matchup against the Leafs. The team Boston is facing -- the Pittsburgh Penguins -- is tied with the Washington Capitals for the No. 3 position in the Metro Division. The team that wins out in that race squares off with the New York Rangers (the current No. 2 seed) or the Carolina Hurricanes (should the Rangers overtake them). The team that doesn't earns a wild card and could face either the Panthers or the Metro winner.

Oh, and the Rangers (7:30 ET vs. the New York Islanders) and the Hurricanes (7 ET vs. the Winnipeg Jets) are also in action. These teams are tied in standings points for the Metro lead, but the Canes have a one-win lead in the regulation wins column (the first tiebreaker).

Got all that?

As we enter the final stretch of the 2021-22 regular season, it's time to check in on all the playoff races -- along with the teams jockeying for position in the 2022 NHL draft lottery.

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

Jump ahead:

Current playoff matchups

Wednesday's games

Tuesday 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

Thursday's games


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

Philadelphia Flyers at Montreal Canadiens, 7 p.m.

Detroit Red Wings at Florida Panthers, 7 p.m. (ESPN+, Hulu)

Buffalo Sabres at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m.

Boston Bruins at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m.

Winnipeg Jets at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m.

New York Rangers at New York Islanders, 7:30 p.m.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Vancouver Canucks at Minnesota Wild, 8 p.m.

Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames, 9 p.m.

Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings, 10:30 p.m.

St. Louis Blues at San Jose Sharks, 10:30 p.m.

Wednesday night's scoreboard


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

Edmonton Oilers 5, Dallas Stars 2

Chicago Blackhawks 4, Arizona Coyotes 3 (OT)

Vegas Golden Knights 4, Washington Capitals 3 (OT)

Seattle Kraken 3, Colorado Avalanche 2

Expanded standings


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

Atlantic Division




x - Florida Panthers


Points: 116

Regulation wins: 40

Playoff position: A1

Games left: 6

Next game: vs. DET (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 100%

Tragic number: N/A



x - Toronto Maple Leafs


Points: 108

Regulation wins: 43

Playoff position: A2

Games left: 5

Next game: @ TB (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 100%

Tragic number: N/A



x - Tampa Bay Lightning


Points: 100

Regulation wins: 34

Playoff position: A3

Games left: 6

Next game: vs. TOR (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 100%

Tragic number: N/A



x - Boston Bruins


Points: 99

Regulation wins: 36

Playoff position: WC1

Games left: 6

Next game: @ PIT (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 100%

Tragic number: N/A



e - Detroit Red Wings


Points: 70

Regulation wins: 19

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 5

Next game: @ FLA (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 0%

Tragic number: E



e - Buffalo Sabres


Points: 69

Regulation wins: 23

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 4

Next game: @ NJ (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 0%

Tragic number: E



e - Ottawa Senators


Points: 65

Regulation wins: 24

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 5

Next game: @ CBJ (Friday)

Playoff chances: 0%

Tragic number: E



e - Montreal Canadiens


Points: 51

Regulation wins: 14

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 5

Next game: vs. PHI (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 0%

Tragic number: E

Metropolitan Division




x - Carolina Hurricanes


Points: 106

Regulation wins: 43

Playoff position: M1

Games left: 5

Next game: vs. WPG (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 100%

Tragic number: N/A



x - New York Rangers


Points: 106

Regulation wins: 42

Playoff position: M2

Games left: 5

Next game: @ NYI (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 100%


Tragic number: N/A



x - Pittsburgh Penguins


Points: 97

Regulation wins: 34

Playoff position: M3

Games left: 5

Next game: vs. BOS (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 100%

Tragic number: N/A



x - Washington Capitals


Points: 97

Regulation wins: 34

Playoff position: WC2

Games left: 5

Next game: @ ARI (Friday)

Playoff chances: 100%

Tragic number: N/A



e - New York Islanders


Points: 80

Regulation wins: 32

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 6

Next game: vs. NYR (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 0%

Tragic number: E



e - Columbus Blue Jackets


Points: 76

Regulation wins: 24

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 5

Next game: vs. OTT (Friday)

Playoff chances: 0%

Tragic number: E



e - New Jersey Devils


Points: 61

Regulation wins: 19

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 6

Next game: vs. BUF (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 0%

Tragic number: E



e - Philadelphia Flyers


Points: 57

Regulation wins: 18

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 5

Next game: @ MTL (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 0%

Tragic number: E

Central Division




z - Colorado Avalanche


Points: 116

Regulation wins: 45

Playoff position: C1

Games left: 5

Next game: @ EDM (Friday)

Playoff chances: 100%

Tragic number: N/A



x - Minnesota Wild


Points: 103

Regulation wins: 34

Playoff position: C2

Games left: 6

Next game: vs. VAN (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 100%

Tragic number: N/A



x - St. Louis Blues


Points: 103

Regulation wins: 41

Playoff position: C3

Games left: 5

Next game: @ SJ (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 100%

Tragic number: N/A



Nashville Predators


Points: 93

Regulation wins: 35

Playoff position: WC1

Games left: 5

Next game: @ TB (Saturday)

Playoff chances: 97%

Tragic number: N/A



Dallas Stars


Points: 91

Regulation wins: 29

Playoff position: WC2

Games left: 5

Next game: @ CGY (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 84%

Tragic number: N/A



Winnipeg Jets


Points: 81

Regulation wins: 28

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 5

Next game: @ CAR (Thursday)

Playoff chances: <1%

Tragic number: 1



e - Chicago Blackhawks


Points: 63

Regulation wins: 15

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 5

Next game: @ LA (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 0%

Tragic number: E



e - Arizona Coyotes


Points: 50

Regulation wins: 16

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 5

Next game: vs. WSH (Friday)

Playoff chances: 0%

Tragic number: E

Pacific Division




x - Calgary Flames


Points: 104

Regulation wins: 42

Playoff position: P1


Games left: 5

Next game: vs. DAL (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 100%

Tragic number: N/A



Edmonton Oilers


Points: 96

Regulation wins: 36

Playoff position: P2

Games left: 5

Next game: vs. COL (Friday)

Playoff chances: >99%

Tragic number: N/A



Los Angeles Kings


Points: 92

Regulation wins: 32

Playoff position: P3

Games left: 4

Next game: vs. CHI (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 86%

Tragic number: N/A



Vegas Golden Knights


Points: 89

Regulation wins: 33

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 4

Next game: vs. SJ (Monday)

Playoff chances: 25%

Tragic number: 7



Vancouver Canucks


Points: 87

Regulation wins: 31

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 5

Next game: @ MIN (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 8%

Tragic number: 7



e - Anaheim Ducks


Points: 74

Regulation wins: 21

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 5

Next game: @ LA (Saturday)

Playoff chances: 0%

Tragic number: E



e - San Jose Sharks


Points: 72

Regulation wins: 21

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 6

Next game: vs. STL (Thursday)

Playoff chances: 0%

Tragic number: E



e - Seattle Kraken


Points: 58

Regulation wins: 22

Playoff position: N/A

Games left: 6

Next game: @ MIN (Friday)

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 may 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.



1. Arizona Coyotes


Points: 50

Regulation wins: 16



2. Montreal Canadiens


Points: 51

Regulation wins: 14



3. Seattle Kraken


Points: 58

Regulation wins: 22



4. Philadelphia Flyers


Points: 57

Regulation wins: 18



5. Chicago Blackhawks


Points: 63

Regulation wins: 15



6. New Jersey Devils


Points: 61

Regulation wins: 19



7. Ottawa Senators


Points: 65

Regulation wins: 24



8. Buffalo Sabres


Points: 69

Regulation wins: 23



9. Detroit Red Wings


Points: 70

Regulation wins: 19



10. San Jose Sharks


Points: 72

Regulation wins: 21



11. Anaheim Ducks


Points: 74

Regulation wins: 21



12. Columbus Blue Jackets


Points: 76

Regulation wins: 24



13. New York Islanders


Points: 80

Regulation wins: 32



14. Winnipeg Jets


Points: 81

Regulation wins: 28



15. Vancouver Canucks


Points: 87

Regulation wins: 31



16. Vegas Golden Knights


Points: 89

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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