Push for the Playoffs: Can Wild keep playoff hopes alive?

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.

The Minnesota Wild have picked a poor time to go on a multi-game slide. They’ve won just one of their last six games, and that’s led to them falling out of a playoff spot.

The bad news, is that the schedule doesn’t get a whole lot easier from here. They’ll travel to play two tough road games in Washington (tonight) and in Carolina on Saturday, which is less than ideal for a club struggling to keep their head above water right now. If we take a deeper dive into their schedule, we’d see that they have matchups against Nashville, Vegas, Arizona, Winnipeg, Boston and Dallas. Of all the teams on that list, only the Coyotes aren’t in the playoffs (they’re tied for the last Wild Card spot but Colorado owns the tie-breaker).

“We can’t (get frustrated). If we do that, we might as well throw the season away,” forward Zach Parise said after Tuesday’s loss to Colorado, per NHL.com. “We don’t have a lot of time to do that and feel bad. Hopefully, we can scoreboard watch and get some help maybe. Let’s see if we can correct things offensively before the games on the weekend.”

As Parise mentioned, scoring goals has been a major issue for the Wild this month. Since Mar. 3, Minnesota has scored more than two goals in a game just three times in nine games.

The good news, is that a win tonight would vault them right back into the final Wild Card spot in the West.

IF THE PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY
Lightning vs. Canadiens
Capitals vs. Hurricanes
Islanders vs. Penguins
Bruins vs. Maple Leafs

Flames vs. Avalanche
Jets vs. Stars
Sharks vs. Golden Knights
Predators vs. Blues

TODAY’S GAMES WITH PLAYOFF CONTENDERS
Wild at Capitals, 7 p.m. ET
Sharks at Ducks, 10 p.m. ET

EASTERN CONFERENCE

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via Hockey Reference)
Lightning — Clinched
Bruins — 100 percent
Maple Leafs — 99.9 percent
Capitals — 99.8 percent
Penguins — 99.6 percent
Islanders — 99.3 percent
Hurricanes — 92.2 percent
Blue Jackets — 53.5 percent
Canadiens — 52.7 percent
Flyers — 2.9 percent
Panthers — 0.1 percent
Sabres — Out
Rangers — Out
Devils — Eliminated
Red Wings — Eliminated
Senators — Eliminated

WESTERN CONFERENCE (via Hockey Reference)

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via Hockey Reference)
Flames — Clinched
Sharks — Clinched
Jets — 100 percent
Predators — 100 percent
Golden Knights — 100 percent
Blues — 99.7 percent
Stars — 92.2 percent
Avalanche — 42.3 percent
Coyotes — 37.8 percent
Wild — 16.9 percent
Blackhawks — 7.5 percent
Canucks — 2.3 percent
Oilers — 1.3 percent
Ducks — Out
Kings — Eliminated

JACK OR KAAPO? THE DRAFT LOTTERY PICTURE
Senators — 18.5 percent*
Kings — 13.5 percent
Red Wings — 11.5 percent
Devils — 9.5 percent
Ducks — 8.5 percent
Rangers — 7.5 percent
Sabres — 6.5 percent
Oilers — 6 percent
Canucks — 5 percent
Blackhawks — 3.5 percent
Wild — 3 percent
Panthers — 2.5 percent
Coyotes — 2 percent
Flyers — 1.5 percent
Blue Jackets — 1 percent**
(*COL owns OTT’s 2019 first-round pick)
(**OTT owns CBJ’s 2019 first-round pick)

ART ROSS RACE
Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning — 120 points
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers — 107 points
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks — 101 points
Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers — 94 points
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins — 93 points

ROCKET RICHARD RACE
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals — 48 goals
Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers — 43 goals
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks — 41 goals
John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs — 41 goals
Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning — 39 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.

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