Only one NHL team has clinched a playoff spot. Here’s a quick look at races still to be decided.
BOSTON — There’s about one month remaining on the NHL schedule, and one team has claimed a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs: the league-leading Boston Bruins.
A bunch of teams have healthy holds on their spots, but there’s still much to be decided.
Here’s a quick rundown.
In the East, the top six spots are pretty much locked up, while the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders hold down the wild card spots, with the Florida Panthers, Washington Capitals, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, and Detroit Red Wings trying to keep pace.
The Penguins are at 78 points and the Islanders are at 76 points. The chasing Panthers are at 73, with Buffalo and Washington at 71. Ottawa has 70 and Detroit has 69.
Locked on Penguins host Hunter Hodies talked about how weekend wins over the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers did wonders for Pittsburgh’s chances.
Florida dropped an overtime decision to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, and they’re three points back of the Islanders with a game in hand.
Locked on Panthers host Armando Velez discussed how they need to be better than their recent 6-3-1 record to make up ground, and they do have three games against the Toronto Maple Leafs coming up on the schedule.
According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the defending Presidents Trophy winners from the Sunshine State have the best chance of jumping up into a playoff spot, with the Islanders more likely to fall out than the Penguins.
In the Western Conference, there’s far less intrigue when it comes to teams making a run at a wild card.
There’s currently a six-point gap between the second wild card squad – the Winnipeg Jets – and the chasers, the Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames.
Colorado was sitting in that second wild card slot before jumping the Jets to move into third in the Central Division. The Avs and Jets will likely be battling down the stretch for that third spot in the division, but both look like comfortable playoff teams right.
Nashville, though, has three games in hand on the Winnipeg Jets while six points back, and also have three games in hand on the Edmonton Oilers, who are seven points up.
The Predators boosted their chances with two extra time wins in California over the weekend. The wins over the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks had a little bit of everything: wild goaltending performances, blown leads, heart-stopping overtimes, and a few out-of-nowhere heroes, according to the Locked on Predators podcast.
The Calgary Flames are also kicking around, but the odds aren’t in their favor.
So, while there could be movement in the Eastern Conference in terms of teams currently on the outs moving on up, expect the current eight playoff teams out West to maintain their spots.
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