Push For The Playoffs: Blues look to clinch playoff spot

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.

It was only about two weeks ago that making the playoffs seemed as if it was going to be a major challenge for the Blues.

They were stuck in a massive slump that saw them lose 15 out of 20 games, they were facing a tough remaining schedule, and a couple of teams (Arizona and San Jose for a brief stretch) had started to gain some major ground on them.

Things can change rapidly, and they have for the Blues.

They enter Wednesday night with an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Ducks and some help elsewhere within the division (Arizona has to also beat LA in regulation). It is a sudden turnaround for the Blues who enter the night having won five out of their past six games, earning 11 out of a possible 12 points (5-0-1 record). Combined with the recent struggles of Arizona, that has put the Blues in the driver’s seat for a playoff berth.

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What makes their recent stretch so encouraging is that five of six of those games have come against Colorado and Minnesota, two of the top teams in the NHL. They have earned this spot in the standings during the stretch run.

The other playoff spot up for grabs on Wednesday will be in the Central Division where the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators are both in action.

IF PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY (matchups by total points)

EAST DIVISION
1. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 4. New York Islanders
2. Washington Capitals  vs. 3. Boston Bruins

CENTRAL DIVISION

1. Carolina Hurricanes vs. 4. Nashville Predators
2. Florida Panthers vs. 3. Tampa Bay Lightning

NORTH DIVISION

1. Toronto Maple Leafs vs. 4. Montreal Canadiens
2. Edmonton Oilers vs. 3. Winnipeg Jets

WEST DIVISION

1. Vegas Golden Knights vs. 4. St. Louis Blues
2. Colorado Avalanche vs. 3. Minnesota Wild

TODAY’S KEY GAMES
Stars vs. Lightning, 7 p.m. ET
Predators vs. Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET
Ducks vs. Blues, 8 p.m. ET
Knights vs. Wild 8 p.m. ET
Avalanche vs. Sharks, 9:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN livestream)

WEDNESDAY’S CLINCHING SCENARIOS
• Nashville will clinch a playoff spot if they beat Columbus AND Tampa Bay beats Dallas in regulation.

• St. Louis will clinch a playoff spot if they beat Anaheim AND Arizona beats LA in regulation.

• Winnipeg will clinch a playoff spot if they beat Calgary in regulation.

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Capitals – Clinched
Penguins – Clinched
Islanders – Clinched
Bruins – Clinched
Rangers – eliminated
Flyers – eliminated
Devils – eliminated
Sabres – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Hurricanes – Clinched
Panthers – Clinched
Lightning – Clinched
Predators – 92.3%
Stars – 7.7%
Blackhawks – eliminated
Red Wings – eliminated
Blue Jackets – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Maple Leafs – Clinched
Oilers – Clinched
Jets – 99.2%
Canadiens – 98.7%
Flames – 2.2%
Canucks – 0%
Senators – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Golden Knights – Clinched
Avalanche – Clinched
Wild – Clinched
Blues – 99.5%
Coyotes – 0.3%
Kings – 0.2%
Sharks – eliminated
Ducks – eliminated

draft lottery
Getty Images

DRAFT LOTTERY PICTURE (via MoneyPuck)

Sabres – 18.2%
Ducks – 13.8%
Devils – 9.9%
Red Wings – 8.9%
Blue Jackets – 8.5%
Canucks – 8.2%
Senators – 6.7%
Sharks – 5.7%
Kings – 5%
Blackhawks – 4.2%
Coyotes – 3.5%
Flames – 2.5%
Flyers – 2.2%
Stars – 1.3%
Rangers – 1.2%

ART ROSS TROPHY RACE

Connor McDavid, Oilers – 93 points
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 75
Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche – 65
Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs – 64
Patrick Kane, Blackhawks – 64

ROCKET RICHARD RACE

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 39 goals
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 31
Mikko Rantanen, Avalanche – 29
Alex DeBrincat, Blackhawks – 28
Tyler Toffoli, Canadiens – 28

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.

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