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Tim KavanaghESPN.com

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Tim Kavanagh is a senior NHL editor for ESPN. He’s a native of upstate New York.

Some rivalries in the NHL are decades-long; think Boston Bruins-Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks-Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers-New York Islanders, etc. But some of the most fearsome in the league have materialized more recently, such as the one between the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

The two Florida teams would seem like natural rivals, but the clubs didn’t hit peaks in their competitive cycles simultaneously until the past few seasons. And now, their games are simply must-watch for all hockey fans, period. That included the first-round series from the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs, and it includes tonight’s game (7 ET, ESPN+ and Hulu).

Both clubs are playoff-bound, and this could be a preview of a second-round matchup, should the Panthers defeat the East’s second wild card (currently the Washington Capitals), and the Lightning take care of the Toronto Maple Leafs. But we’re pretty sure no one will be thinking that far ahead with their rivals on the other side of the ice tonight.

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
Friday’s games
Thursday 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, non-TNT games available to stream on ESPN+.

Detroit Red Wings at New Jersey Devils, 1 p.m.
Carolina Hurricanes at New York Islanders, 1 p.m.
Edmonton Oilers at Columbus Blue Jackets, 1 p.m.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers, 4 p.m. (TNT)
Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers, 7 p.m. (ESPN+, Hulu)
Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. (ESPN+, Hulu)
Colorado Avalanche at Winnipeg Jets, 7 p.m.
Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens, 7 p.m.
Minnesota Wild at Nashville Predators, 8 p.m.
St. Louis Blues at Anaheim Ducks, 8:30 p.m.
San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights, 10 p.m.

Last night’s scoreboard

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

Buffalo Sabres 5, New York Islanders 3
Pittsburgh Penguins 7, Detroit Red Wings 2
Carolina Hurricanes 3, New Jersey Devils 2 (OT)
Boston Bruins 3, New York Rangers 1
Ottawa Senators 6, Montreal Canadiens 4
Tampa Bay Lightning 6, Nashville Predators 2
Florida Panthers 3, Toronto Maple Leafs 2 (OT)
Dallas Stars 3, Seattle Kraken 2
San Jose Sharks 4, Chicago Blackhawks 1
Calgary Flames 6, Vancouver Canucks 3
St. Louis Blues 5, Arizona Coyotes 4 (OT)
Los Angeles Kings 4, Anaheim Ducks 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: 4
Next game: vs. TB (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 109
Regulation wins: 43
Playoff position: A2
Games left: 3
Next game: @ WSH (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

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5dKristen Shilton and Greg Wyshynski

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Points: 104
Regulation wins: 36
Playoff position: A3
Games left: 4
Next game: @ FLA (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 101
Regulation wins: 37
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 4
Next game: @ MTL (Sunday)
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: 70
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 3
Next game: @ NJ (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 69
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 3
Next game: vs. NJ (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 3
Next game: vs. BOS (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Metropolitan Division

Points: 110
Regulation wins: 44
Playoff position: M1
Games left: 3
Next game: @ NYI (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 108
Regulation wins: 43
Playoff position: M2
Games left: 3
Next game: vs. CAR (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

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Points: 101
Regulation wins: 36
Playoff position: M3
Games left: 3
Next game: @ PHI (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 99
Regulation wins: 35
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 4
Next game: vs. TOR (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 4
Next game: vs. CAR (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 77
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 4
Next game: vs. EDM (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 4
Next game: vs. DET (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 4
Next game: vs. PIT (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Central Division

Points: 116
Regulation wins: 45
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 4
Next game: @ WPG (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 107
Regulation wins: 36
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 4
Next game: @ NSH (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

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Points: 107
Regulation wins: 42
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 3
Next game: @ ANA (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 93
Regulation wins: 35
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 4
Next game: vs. MIN (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 95%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 93
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 3
Next game: vs. VGK (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 85%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 81
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 4
Next game: vs. COL (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 63
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 3
Next game: vs. PHI (Monday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 3
Next game: @ MIN (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Pacific Division

Points: 108
Regulation wins: 44
Playoff position: P1
Games left: 3
Next game: @ NSH (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 98
Regulation wins: 37
Playoff position: P2
Games left: 4
Next game: @ CBJ (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

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Points: 96
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: P3
Games left: 2
Next game: @ SEA (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 89
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 4
Next game: vs. SJ (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 21%
Tragic number: 5

Points: 87
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 3
Next game: vs. SEA (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 1

Points: 74
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 4
Next game: @ VGK (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 74
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 3
Next game: vs. STL (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 4
Next game: @ VAN (Tuesday)
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 might 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: 51
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 22

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 19

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 19

Points: 63
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 69
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 70
Regulation wins: 19

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 74
Regulation wins: 21

Points: 74
Regulation wins: 22

Points: 77
Regulation wins: 24

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 32

Points: 81
Regulation wins: 28

Points: 87
Regulation wins: 31

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.

Source: ESPN NHL

    

Author: Ellen Garcia