NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Showdown Thursday in the Central

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After a night off for all eight teams in the Central Division on Wednesday, they’ll all return to action on Thursday.

Perhaps more tantalizingly, the schedule has blessed us with a showdown among the four clubs currently in playoff position. Both contests begin at 7 p.m. ET, so you’ll want to be deploying two screens minimum tonight.

The Nashville Predators — as of a few weeks ago, seemingly one of the teams likely to be most active trading players away at the trade deadline — travel to Raleigh, North Carolina, to take on the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes have won all four previous games in the season series, but the Preds come in hot following their 7-2 dismantling of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Speaking of the Lightning, they’ll host their cross-state rival Florida Panthers at Amalie Arena tonight. This season series stands at 2-2, and they’ll play again on Saturday.

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

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


East Division

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: E1
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. BUF (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 99.6%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: E2
Games left: 14
Next game: @ BOS (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 98.7%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: E3
Games left: 14
Next game: vs. PHI (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 98.4%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 50
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: E4
Games left: 16
Next game: vs. NYI (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 77.3%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 46
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Next game: vs. NJ (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 20%
Tragic number: 25

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Next game: @ PIT (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 6.3%
Tragic number: 22

Points: 34
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Next game: @ NYR (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 14

Points: 27
Regulation wins: 7
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Next game: @ WSH (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 5


Central Division

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 15
Next game: vs. NSH (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 14
Next game: vs. FLA (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 13
Next game: @ TB (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 99.6%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: C4
Games left: 12
Next game: @ CAR (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 62.1%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Next game: @ DET (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 9.4%
Tragic number: 22

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Next game: vs. CBJ (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 29.1%
Tragic number: 23

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: @ DAL (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 0.1%
Tragic number: 14

Points: 36
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: vs. CHI (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 11


North Division

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0:22

Josh Leivo comes out of a scrum with the puck and nets a backhanded goal as part of the Flames’ win vs. the Canadiens.

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N1
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. WPG (Apr. 15)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 55
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N2
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. EDM (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 99.6%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: N3
Games left: 14
Next game: @ VAN (Apr. 16)
Playoff chances: 96.4%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N4
Games left: 16
Next game: vs. CGY (Apr. 16)
Playoff chances: 80.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 41
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Next game: @ MTL (Apr. 16)
Playoff chances: 19.6%
Tragic number: 22

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 19
Next game: vs. EDM (Apr. 16)
Playoff chances: 3.5%
Tragic number: 28

Points: 32
Regulation wins: 10
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: @ MTL (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 11


West Division

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0:22

Alex Tuch dekes a Kings defender and finds the back of the net as Vegas takes down Los Angeles.

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: W1
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. LA (Apr. 16)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: W2
Games left: 14
Next game: @ ANA (Apr. 16)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: W3
Games left: 15
Next game: vs. SJ (Apr. 16)
Playoff chances: 99.8%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: W4
Games left: 14
Next game: @ ARI (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 41.6%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: vs. STL (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 33%
Tragic number: 24

Points: 40
Regulation wins: 12
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Next game: @ MIN (Apr. 16)
Playoff chances: 17.1%
Tragic number: 24

Points: 38
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Next game: @ COL (Apr. 16)
Playoff chances: 8.1%
Tragic number: 23

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 9
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: vs. VGS (Apr. 16)
Playoff chances: 0.4%
Tragic number: 15


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. New for 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: 27
Regulation wins: 7

Points: 32
Regulation wins: 10

Points: 34
Regulation wins: 11

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 9

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 11

Points: 36
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 38
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 11

Points: 40
Regulation wins: 12

Points: 41
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 46
Regulation wins: 17



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