Push for the Playoffs: Hurricanes could get boost with Teräväinen return

Push for the Playoffs will run every morning through the end of the 2020-21 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.

Teuvo Teräväinen is inching closer to a return to the Hurricanes’ lineup as he recovers from a concussion that he’s been dealing with for two months.

Teräväinen has played once since Feb. 19, but joined the team for practice on Friday — an encouraging sign that a comeback is in the offing. Carolina opened a six-game road trip Monday with an overtime loss to the Lightning. Head coach Rod Brind’Amour is hoping that Teravainen could return while they’re away from PNC Arena.

“Not sure. I hope so,” he said. “Just waiting on him to say, ‘Book me in,’ and then he’ll go in. Positive side is that he’s at least practicing with us so he’s part of the group now. Hopefully he’ll get the bug and feel good and he’ll get in there.”

Teräväinen opened the season by testing positive for COVID-19, then took a hit from Blackhawks defenseman Nikita Zadorov on Feb. 19 causing him to miss seven games. He last played March 4.

Since Teräväinen has been skating now for a few weeks, whether he’s back playing will be up to him and how he feels at this point. He’s played 13 of Carolina’s 44 games this season and if he recovers 100% could be a key addition as the Hurricanes battle with the Lightning and Panthers for the top spot in the Central Division.

Entering play on Tuesday, Carolina and Florida are tied atop the division with 63 points with Tampa right behind them with 62. The Hurricanes currently have the edge via points percentage (.716) as they have 12 games to play.

[Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

IF PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY (matchups by total points)

EAST DIVISION
1. Capitals vs. 4. Bruins
2. Islanders vs. 3. Penguins

NORTH DIVISION
1. Maple Leafs vs. 4. Canadiens
2. Jets vs. 3. Oilers

WEST DIVISION
1. Golden Knights vs. 4. Coyotes
2. Avalanche vs. 3. Wild

(NOTE: St. Louis currently holds a better points percentage than Arizona — .512 to .489.)

CENTRAL DIVISION
1. Hurricanes vs. 4. Predators
2. Panthers vs. 3. Lightning

(NOTE: Dallas currently holds a better points percentage than Nashville — .545 to .543.)

TODAY’S KEY GAMES
Rangers vs. Islanders, 7 p.m. ET
Hurricanes vs. Lightning, 7 p.m. ET
Maple Leafs vs. Canucks, 9 p.m. ET

TUESDAY’S CLINCHING SCENARIO
The Golden Knights can become the first NHL team to clinch a playoff spot if the Ducks top the Kings in regulation.

 

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Capitals – 98.4%
Penguins – 97%
Islanders – 92.9%
Bruins – 90%
Rangers – 21.3%
Flyers – 0.4%
Devils – 0%
Sabres – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Maple Leafs – 100%
Jets – 99.93%
Oilers – 99.7%
Canadiens – 81.6%
Flames – 13%
Canucks – 5.7%
Senators – 0%

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Hurricanes – 100%
Lightning – 99.99%
Panthers – 99.99%
Stars – 49.6%
Predators – 44.3%
Blackhawks – 6.1%
Blue Jackets – 0%
Red Wings – 0%

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Avalanche – 100%
Golden Knights – 100%
Wild – 100%
Blues – 42.7%
Coyotes – 34.4%
Kings – 12.5%
Sharks – 10.4%
Ducks – 0%

draft lottery
Getty Images

DRAFT LOTTERY PICTURE (via MoneyPuck)

Sabres – 17.2%
Ducks – 11.4%
Devils – 9.9%
Senators – 9.8%
Blue Jackets – 9.3%
Red Wings – 9%
Kings – 5.3%
Sharks – 5.2%
Canucks – 5%
Flames – 3.3%
Coyotes – 2.9%
Blackhawks – 2.9%
Blues – 2.5%
Flyers – 2.5%
Predators – 1.1%

ART ROSS TROPHY RACE
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 74 points
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 63
Patrick Kane, Blackhawks – 57
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 54
Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs – 54
Brad Marchand, Bruins – 54

ROCKET RICHARD RACE
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 33 goals
Mikko Rantanen, Avalanche – 26
Alex Ovechkin, Capitals – 24
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 24
Brad Marchand, Bruins – 23
Alex DeBrincat, Blackhawks – 23

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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