With 11 games going on and plenty of teams clinching playoff spots or kissing their dreams goodbye on Thursday, it might be tough to follow everything that happened. Never fear, though, because PHT has you covered.
East playoff picture
- The New York Rangers clinched their playoff berth, but it wasn’t easy; they squeaked by the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in OT thanks to a Ryan Callahan game-winner. (Read more about it here.)
- The Ottawa Senators faced plenty of opposition from the Washington Capitals as well, yet they managed to take a 2-1 OT victory in Erik Karlsson’s impressive return.
- That Senators victory mathematically eliminated the Winnipeg Jets, who lost a 4-2 game to the Montreal Canadiens.
- The Habs couldn’t gain ground on the Boston Bruins for the Northeast Division crown because the B’s beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0.
- The East’s top eight has been settled. Now the teams just need to jostle for position. Here’s what the playoffs would look like if the season ended today instead of Sunday:
(X = spot clinched, Y = division title clinched, Z = conference and division title clinched.)
West playoff picture
- No one in the West clinched on Thursday. The Dallas Stars joined the ranks of the mathematically eliminated, however.
- The Minnesota Wild idly watched the Detroit Red Wings beat the Nashville Predators 5-2 and the Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Stars 3-1.
- With that, the Red Wings only need a single point against the Stars on Saturday to clinch a spot, even if Columbus wins against Nashville on that same day. If the Blue Jackets win that game, the Wild could still make the playoffs by winning one of their two remaining games or by picking up two points in whatever fashion. (Read more about the ins and outs here.)
- More of a visual learner? Look at the West standings:
(P = Presidents’ Trophy. How fancy.)
- Finally, the Florida Panthers lost their way to the worst record in the NHL, guaranteed. That gives them a 25 percent chance to win the 2013 draft lottery. It doesn’t look like that will stop other teams from tanking, however, as almost everyone laid an egg on Thursday.
- This post looks at the NHL’s bottom 10, but let’s keep it simple with a glance at the bottom six since Calgary is tied with Carolina points-wise:
(Sadly NHL.com doesn’t have “W = Worst.”)