Will the Stanley Cup return to Canada this year?

How to make the NHL All-Star Game even better

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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.

Tonight is one of the lightest slates on the NHL regular-season calendar, with just one game on tap. The Winnipeg Jets — who maintain a nonzero but insubstantial playoff chance — are visiting the Montreal Canadiens, who were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs back on March 26. So while that contest will have some impact on our race for the draft lottery, let’s instead ponder the chances the Stanley Cup will be won by a Canadian team, ending a streak that goes back to the Habs winning in 1993.

It appears highly likely that three Canadian teams will make the playoff field: The Toronto Maple Leafs have clinched a spot, while the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers appear to have things well in hand out in the Pacific Division. One other good sign for Leafs and Flames fans is that both clubs have a strong record against fellow top teams this season, as Adam Gretz noted recently. (The Oilers, not so much.) According to the projections over at FiveThirtyEight, the Flames have an 8% chance of winning the Cup (fourth best in the NHL), followed by the Leafs at 7% (fifth) and the Oilers at 3% (12th).

Complicating matters for the Leafs is that they might face the Boston Bruins in the first round, a team that has given them fits in recent playoff series. But maybe they’ll follow the path of the 2018 Washington Capitals, who finally beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in a playoff series en route to their first Stanley Cup. The Atlantic Division also features the dominant Florida Panthers (who they’d have to face in the second round), as well as the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning, who are also in the mix as a first-round opponent. Fun stuff!

The path for the Flames and Oilers might well include a date with one another, but ultimately they’d have to get through the Colorado Avalanche, a team that looks poised for a big run this postseason after disappointing showings in recent playoffs.

Finally, we all know a playoff hockey team is going to go only as far as its goalie will take it, and one of these teams should feel better about that than the other two.

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
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.

Winnipeg Jets at Montreal Canadiens, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)

Last night’s scoreboard

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

Washington Capitals 4, Boston Bruins 2
Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Nashville Predators 2 (OT)
Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Buffalo Sabres 0
Minnesota Wild 6, Los Angeles Kings 3
Carolina Hurricanes 5, Anaheim Ducks 2
Dallas Stars 6, Chicago Blackhawks 4
Winnipeg Jets 4, Ottawa Senators 3

Expanded standings

Atlantic Division

Points: 108
Regulation wins: 38
Playoff position: A1
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. ANA (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 100
Regulation wins: 40
Playoff position: A2
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. BUF (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 96
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: A3
Games left: 10
Next game: @ DAL (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

39mNHL Insiders

3dGreg Wyshynski

4dGreg Wyshynski

2 Related

Points: 95
Regulation wins: 35
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. STL (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 66
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. OTT (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 63
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 8
Next game: @ TOR (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: @ DET (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. WPG (Monday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Metropolitan Division

Points: 102
Regulation wins: 41
Playoff position: M1
Games left: 9
Next game: @ NYR (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 100
Regulation wins: 39
Playoff position: M2
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. CAR (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 94
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: M3
Games left: 8
Next game: @ NYI (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

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Points: 90
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. PHI (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Next game: vs. PIT (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 7

Points: 74
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. MTL (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 2

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 18
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: @ WSH (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: @ ARI (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Central Division

Points: 110
Regulation wins: 42
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. LA (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 94
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 11
Next game: vs. EDM (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 94
Regulation wins: 38
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 10
Next game: @ BOS (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

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Points: 87
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. SJ (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 95%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 86
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. TB (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 85%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Next game: @ MTL (Monday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 11

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. LA (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. NJ (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Pacific Division

Points: 97
Regulation wins: 39
Playoff position: P1
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. SEA (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 90
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: P2
Games left: 9
Next game: @ MIN (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 98%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 86
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: P3
Games left: 8
Next game: @ CHI (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 58%
Tragic number: N/A

39mNHL Insiders

3dGreg Wyshynski

4dGreg Wyshynski

2 Related

Points: 84
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Next game: @ VAN (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 55%
Tragic number: 16

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. VGK (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 9%
Tragic number: 12

Points: 70
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 8
Next game: @ FLA (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 67
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Next game: @ NSH (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 3

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: @ CGY (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 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: 49
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 20

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 17

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 18

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 22

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 63
Regulation wins: 20

Points: 66
Regulation wins: 17

Points: 67
Regulation wins: 20

Points: 70
Regulation wins: 20

Points: 74
Regulation wins: 23

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 31

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 27

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 29

Points: 84
Regulation wins: 32

Source: ESPN NHL

    

Author: Ellen Garcia