Push for the Playoffs: Stars need bounce back game

Playoff Push
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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.

When we most recently saw the Stars they were on the wrong end of a 7-3 decision to the Red Wings on Thursday night. Given how close the race is in the Central Division between them and the Predators for the fourth playoff spot they can not afford to be giving away games like that.

They get another opportunity against the Red Wings on Saturday to try and regain some ground in the standings, and they are facing even more pressure following Nashville’s 3-1 win over the Blackhawks on Friday. They enter the day four points behind Nashville for that playoff spot while still having three games in-hand. It is a big opportunity to close that gap a little against a team that is already all but eliminated, but it is also a game Dallas should win given Detroit’s place in the standings.

It is also a game they played really want to have given the toughness of their remaining schedule.

After Saturday’s game against Detroit the Stars spend almost all of their remaining schedule (outside of two regular season finale games against the Blackhawks) playing against the top teams in the division, while nine of their remaining 10 games are on the road.

That is just one of the big games with playoff implications on Saturday.

St. Louis plays Colorado (3 p.m. ET, NBC) with a playoff spot in the West Division on the line as the Blues look to hold off the Coyotes (who play the Kings). In the East, the Islanders and Capitals face off with first place in the East Division on the line, while the Penguins play the Devils and will be looking to keep pace. In the Central Division Carolina and Florida play for the top spot.

[Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

IF PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY (matchups by total points)

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

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

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

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

(NOTE: St. Louis currently holds a better points percentage than Arizona — .500 to .479.)

TODAY’S KEY GAMES
Avalanche vs. Blues, 3 p.m. ET (NBC livestream)
Canadiens vs. Flames, 7 p.m. ET
Maple Leafs vs. Jets, 7 p.m. ET
Capitals vs. Islanders, 7 p.m. ET
Hurricanes vs. Panthers, 7 p.m. ET
Stars vs. Red Wings, 7 p.m. ET
Coyotes vs. Kings, 10 p.m. ET

TODAY’S CLINCHING SCENARIOS

• The Carolina Hurricanes clinch a playoff spot if they defeat the Florida Panthers in any fashion, or if they get at least one point and the Detroit Red Wings beat the Dallas Stars in regulation.

• The Minnesota Wild clinch a playoff spot if any of the following scenarios happen: 1) defeat the San Jose Sharks in any fashion, 2) or if the Coyotes defeat the Kings in any fashion, 3) or if the Wild get one point and the Kings get one point, 4) or if the Wild get one point, the Kings win in overtime or shootout, and the Avalanche defeat the Blues in regulation.

 

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Penguins – 99.92%
Capitals – 99.8%
Islanders – 99.2%
Bruins – 97.1%
Rangers – 3.8%
Flyers – 0.1%
Devils – eliminated
Sabres – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Maple Leafs – 100%
Jets – 99.91%
Oilers – 99.5%
Canadiens – 82.9%
Flames – 12.9%
Canucks – 4.9%
Senators – 0%

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Hurricanes – 100%
Panthers – 100%
Lightning – 100%
Predators – 61.4%
Stars – 37.1%
Blackhawks – 1.6%
Red Wings – 0%
Blue Jackets – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Golden Knights – Clinched
Avalanche – Clinched
Wild – 100%
Blues – 45.3%
Coyotes – 27%
Kings – 19.5%
Sharks – 8.2%
Ducks – 0%

draft lottery
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DRAFT LOTTERY PICTURE (via MoneyPuck)

Sabres – 17.2%
Ducks – 12.4%
Devils – 10.6%
Blue Jackets – 10.6%
Senators – 8.4%
Red Wings – 7.9%
Sharks – 5.6%
Canucks – 4.8%
Kings – 4.5%
Coyotes – 3.6%
Flames – 3%
Blues – 2.5%
Flyers – 2.4%
Rangers – 1.2%
Stars – 1.1%

ART ROSS TROPHY RACE
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 77 points
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 64
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 58
Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs – 58
Patrick Kane, Blackhawks – 58

ROCKET RICHARD RACE
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 34 goals
Mikko Rantanen, Avalanche – 26
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 25
Brad Marchand, Bruins – 25
Alex Ovechkin, Capitals – 24

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.