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NHL Playoff Bracket Scenarios: Race for the West Division title continues between Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche

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Compher's third-period goal lifts Avalanche vs. Golden Knights (0:35)

J.T. Compher scores the only goal of the third period as Colorado beats Las Vegas 2-1. (0:35)

We had a good feeling about Monday's NHL calendar providing quite a bit of clarity in the playoff races, and it delivered.

  • The Montreal Canadiens clinched the final North Division playoff spot, and now they'll battle with the Winnipeg Jets for the Nos. 3 and 4 seeds. The Boston Bruins' overtime thriller over the New York Islanders cemented their hold on the No. 3 East Division seed, so it'll be the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the Isles and the Washington Capitals vs. the B's in Round 1; the latter series begins Saturday following their regular-season-ending tilt Tuesday night.

  • The Central Division teams have won the race to finish all of their games, and we now know it'll be the Carolina Hurricanes vs. the Nashville Predators and the Florida Panthers vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning, with the Canes and the Cats holding home-ice advantage, respectively.

  • There is still significant intrigue as we look to the West Division. The Vegas Golden Knights hold a two-point edge on the Colorado Avalanche for the division crown and Presidents' Trophy after the Avs' win Monday night. The No. 1 overall seed in the league has more importance this season, because after the first two intra-divisional playoff rounds, the "final four" will be re-bracketed based on their regular-season points. Vegas has one game left (Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks), while Colorado has two (Wednesday and Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings). If both teams win out, Colorado takes the crown based on the regulation wins tiebreaker (the season series finished in a 4-4 tie).

Having reached 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.

Jump ahead:
Current playoff matchups
Race for No. 1 pick

East Division

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0:32

Hall goes 5-hole on defender to net OT winner for Bruins

Taylor Hall sends the puck between Nick Leddy's legs and then fires the game-winning goal for the Bruins vs. the Islanders.

Pittsburgh Penguins - y

Points: 77
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: E1
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Washington Capitals - x

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: E2
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. BOS (May 11)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Boston Bruins - x

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: E3
Games left: 1
Next game: @ WSH (May 11)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

New York Islanders - x

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: E4
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

New York Rangers

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Philadelphia Flyers

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

New Jersey Devils

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Buffalo Sabres

Points: 37
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Central Division

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0:21

Panthers make Vasilevskiy pay for being too casual with puck

Juho Lammikko takes the puck away from Andrei Vasilevskiy and stuffs it in the net during the Panthers' 4-0 win over the Lightning.

Carolina Hurricanes - y

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Florida Panthers - x

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Tampa Bay Lightning - x

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Nashville Predators - x

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: C4
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Dallas Stars

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Chicago Blackhawks

Points: 55
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Detroit Red Wings

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Columbus Blue Jackets

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 12
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


North Division

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0:43

McDavid's 33rd goal wins it for Oilers in OT

Connor McDavid scores a breakaway goal in overtime to lead the Oilers past the Canadiens.

Toronto Maple Leafs - y

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: N1
Games left: 2
Next game: @ OTT (May 12)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Edmonton Oilers - x

Points: 70
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: N2
Games left: 2
Next game: @ MTL (May 12)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Winnipeg Jets - x

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N3
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. VAN (May 11)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Montreal Canadiens - x

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N4
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. EDM (May 12)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Calgary Flames

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 4
Next game: vs. VAN (May 13)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Ottawa Senators

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 18
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. TOR (May 12)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Vancouver Canucks

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 6
Next game: @ WPG (May 11)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


West Division

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0:32

Faulk's OT goal wins it for Blues vs. the Kings

Justin Faulk nets the game-winning goal in overtime as the Blues edge out the Kings 2-1.

Vegas Golden Knights - x

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: W1
Games left: 1
Next game: @ SJ (May 12)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Colorado Avalanche - x

Points: 78
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: W2
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. LA (May 12)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Minnesota Wild - x

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: W3
Games left: 2
Next game: @ STL (May 12)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

St. Louis Blues - x

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: W4
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. MIN (May 12)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Arizona Coyotes

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Los Angeles Kings

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: @ COL (May 12)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

San Jose Sharks

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. VGS (May 12)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Anaheim Ducks

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Current playoff matchups

East Division

No. 1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 4 New York Islanders
No. 2 Washington Capitals vs. No. 3 Boston Bruins

Central Division

No. 1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. No. 4 Nashville Predators
No. 2 Florida Panthers vs. No. 3 Tampa Bay Lightning

North Division

No. 1 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. No. 4 Montreal Canadiens
No. 2 Edmonton Oilers vs. No. 3 Winnipeg Jets

West Division

No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 4 St. Louis Blues
No. 2 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 3 Minnesota Wild


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.

1. Buffalo Sabres

Points: 37
Regulation wins: 11

2. Anaheim Ducks

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 11

3. Vancouver Canucks

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 15

4. New Jersey Devils

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 15

5. Columbus Blue Jackets

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 12

6. Detroit Red Wings

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 16

7. San Jose Sharks

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 15

8. Ottawa Senators

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 18

9. Los Angeles Kings

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 19

10. Calgary Flames

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 20

11. Arizona Coyotes

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 19

12. Chicago Blackhawks

Points: 55
Regulation wins: 15

13. Philadelphia Flyers

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 17

14. Dallas Stars

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 17

15. New York Rangers

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 24