Potential postseason preview as Rangers host Penguins

How to make the NHL All-Star Game even better

7:15 AM ET

Tim KavanaghESPN.com

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

While the rush to the playoffs in the Western Conference remains somewhat wide open — particularly for the wild cards — the Eastern Conference eight appear to be relatively set, with final seeds yet to be resolved.

However, one potential first-round matchup that would be quite tasty is the Pittsburgh Penguins against the New York Rangers, and those two will square off at the world’s most famous arena on Friday night. By a quirk of the schedule, these two Metro Division clubs waited until Feb. 26 for their first battle this season, and including Friday will play thrice in a 14-day span.

In their lone matchup thus far, Tristan Jarry saved 27 out of 27 shots the Rangers could muster, so Evgeni Malkin‘s third-period goal was enough to earn the win in what was at times a nasty affair. Given how often they’ll be seeing each other these next two weeks, those emotions will surely rise again; just the kind of hockey we like to see down the final stretch.

As we enter the post-deadline span 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
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 Boston Bruins
M1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. WC1 Tampa Bay Lightning
M2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. M3 New York Rangers

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 Los Angeles Kings vs. P3 Edmonton Oilers

Today’s games

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

Washington Capitals at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m.
Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers, 7 p.m.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Winnipeg Jets, 8 p.m.
Philadelphia Flyers at Colorado Avalanche, 9 p.m.
Arizona Coyotes at Calgary Flames, 9 p.m.

Last night’s scoreboard

Boston Bruins 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 2
Florida Panthers 4, Montreal Canadiens 3
Dallas Stars 4, Carolina Hurricanes 3 (SO)
New York Islanders 5, Detroit Red Wings 2
Philadelphia Flyers 5, St. Louis Blues 2
Minnesota Wild 3, Vancouver Canucks 2 (OT)
Ottawa Senators 5, Winnipeg Jets 2
Edmonton Oilers 5, San Jose Sharks 2
Vegas Golden Knights 6, Nashville Predators 1
Chicago Blackhawks 4, Los Angeles Kings 3 (SO)

Expanded standings

Atlantic Division

Points: 92
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: A1
Games left: 19
Next game: @ OTT (Saturday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 85
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: A2
Games left: 19
Next game: @ MTL (Saturday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 85
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: A3
Games left: 18
Next game: vs. NYI (Saturday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

9mGreg Wyshynski

2dKristen Shilton

2dKristen Shilton and Greg Wyshynski

2 Related

Points: 84
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 19
Next game: @ DET (Saturday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 18
Next game: vs. TB (Saturday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 15

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 18
Next game: vs. WSH (Friday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 10

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 18
Next game: vs. FLA (Saturday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 7

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 12
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 18
Next game: vs. TOR (Saturday)
Playoff chances: N/A%
Tragic number: 0

Metropolitan Division

Points: 91
Regulation wins: 36
Playoff position: M1
Games left: 18
Next game: @ STL (Saturday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 88
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: M2
Games left: 17
Next game: @ NYR (Friday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 85
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: M3
Games left: 18
Next game: vs. PIT (Friday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

This season will include 103 exclusive regular-season games across ESPN, ESPN+, Hulu and ABC, and more than 1,000 out-of-market games will be available on ESPN+.
• How to watch
• Subscribe to ESPN+
• Stream the NHL on ESPN

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 17
Next game: @ BUF (Friday)
Playoff chances: 97%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 67
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 18
Next game: @ WPG (Friday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 23

Points: 65
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 20
Next game: @ BOS (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 2%
Tragic number: 25

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 18
Next game: @ COL (Friday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 9

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 18
Next game: @ WSH (Saturday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 7

Central Division

Points: 95
Regulation wins: 37
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 18
Next game: vs. PHI (Friday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 20
Next game: vs. CBJ (Saturday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 19
Next game: vs. CAR (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 97%
Tragic number: N/A

9mGreg Wyshynski

2dKristen Shilton

2dKristen Shilton and Greg Wyshynski

2 Related

Points: 78
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 17
Next game: vs. PHI (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 91%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 19
Next game: vs. VAN (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 86%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 70
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 17
Next game: vs. CBJ (Friday)
Playoff chances: 7%
Tragic number: 29

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 17
Next game: @ VGK (Saturday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 16

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 19
Next game: @ CGY (Friday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 7

Pacific Division

Points: 84
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: P1
Games left: 19
Next game: vs. ARI (Friday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: P2
Games left: 16
Next game: vs. SEA (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 84%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 77
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: P3
Games left: 17
Next game: @ CGY (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 82%
Tragic number: N/A

This season will include 103 exclusive regular-season games across ESPN, ESPN+, Hulu and ABC, and more than 1,000 out-of-market games will be available on ESPN+.
• How to watch
• Subscribe to ESPN+
• Stream the NHL on ESPN

Points: 74
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Next game: vs. CHI (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 42%
Tragic number: 29

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 16
Next game: @ DAL (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 13%
Tragic number: 28

Points: 65
Regulation wins: 18
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 16
Next game: @ SJ (Saturday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 22

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 18
Next game: vs. ANA (Saturday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 25

Points: 46
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 18
Next game: @ LA (Saturday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 7

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.

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 12

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 46
Regulation wins: 17

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 19

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 17

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 17

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 19

Points: 65
Regulation wins: 18

Points: 65
Regulation wins: 26

Points: 67
Regulation wins: 22

Points: 70
Regulation wins: 26

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 74
Regulation wins: 29

Source: ESPN NHL

    

Author: Ellen Garcia