Push for the Playoffs: Canadiens keep pace in Eastern Conference race

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Push for the Playoffs will run every morning through the end of the 2018-19 NHL season. We’ll highlight the current playoff picture in both conferences, take a look at what the first-round matchups might look like, see who’s leading the race for the best odds in the draft lottery and more.

Tuesday night was littered with important matchups for teams in and around Wild Card spots in both conferences, but the Montreal Canadiens were in a unique spot. The Habs, who were in Los Angeles last night, didn’t start playing until 10:30 p.m. ET, which means they knew exactly what all the other teams around them had done before they even stepped onto the ice at Staples Center.

The Canadiens were able to watch as each of the teams they’re competing with ended up recording at least one point. Carolina lost to Boston in overtime, Pittsburgh beat Florida in overtime, and Columbus took down New Jersey in a shootout.

Montreal was able to come up with a 3-1 win against a Kings team that was looking to play spoiler.

“It’s huge,” Canadiens netminder Carey Price said of the win, per the Montreal Gazette. “I thought we played very well from the drop of the puck. We haven’t had a ton of success here, but we were able to put that behind us and put together a solid effort.”

Those two points allowed the Habs to jump back into the final Wild Card spot in the East.

IF PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Lightning vs. Canadiens
Bruins vs. Maple Leafs
Islanders vs. Penguins
Capitals vs. Hurricanes

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Flames vs. Wild
Predators vs. Stars
Jets vs. Blues
Sharks vs. Golden Knights

TODAY’S GAMES WITH PLAYOFF CONTENDERS
Capitals at Flyers, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN; live stream)
Maple Leafs at Canucks, 9:00 p.m. ET
Blues at Ducks, 10:00 p.m. ET (NBCSN; live stream)
Flames at Golden Knights 10:30 p.m. ET

EASTERN CONFERENCE

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via Sports Club Stats)
Lightning – 100 percent
Bruins – 100 percent
Maple Leafs – 100 percent
Islanders – 98.8 percent
Capitals – 96.6 percent
Penguins – 91.7 percent
Hurricanes – 86.8 percent
Canadiens – 60.7 percent
Blue Jackets – 59.4 percent
Flyers – 5 percent
Sabres – 0.6 percent
Rangers – 0 percent
Devils – 0 percent
Red Wings – 0 percent
Senators – 0 percent

WESTERN CONFERENCE

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via Sports Club Stats)
Flames – 100 percent
Sharks – 100 percent
Jets – 99.9 percent
Predators – 99.8 percent
Golden Knights – 97 percent
Blues – 95.5 percent
Stars 83.3 percent
Avalanche – 46.5 percent
Wild – 42.8 percent
Coyotes 29.1 percent
Oilers – 3.7 percent
Canucks – 1.3 percent
Blackhawks – 0.9 percent
Ducks – 0 percent
Kings – 0 percent

JACK OR KAAPO? THE DRAFT LOTTERY PICTURE 

Senators – 18.5 percent*
Red Wings – 13.5 percent
Kings – 11.5 percent
Devils – 9.5 percent
Ducks – 8.5 percent
Canucks – 7.5 percent
Blackhawks – 6.5 percent
Rangers – 6 percent
Oilers – 5 percent
Panthers – 3.5 percent
Sabres – 3 percent
Avalanche 2.5 percent
Coyotes – 2 percent
Flyers – 1.5 percent
Blue Jackets – 1 percent**
(*OTT’s 2019 first-round pick owned by COL)
(**CBJ’s 2019 lottery-protected first-round pick is owned by OTT. If top three, moves to 2020)

ART ROSS RACE
Nikita Kucherov, Lightning – 108 points
Patrick Kane, Blackhawks – 94 points
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 92 points
Sidney Crosby, Penguins – 86 points
Mikko Rantanen, Avalanche – 85 points
Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche – 84 points

ROCKET RICHARD RACE
Alex Ovechkin, Capitals – 45 goals
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 41 goals
Patrick Kane, Blackhawks – 40 goals
John Tavares, Maple Leafs – 37 goals
Brayden Point, Lightning – 37 goals
Jeff Skinner, Sabres – 36 goals

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.