Push for the Playoffs: Blues can clinch, Predators can without playing

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.

Two more playoff spots are on the table on Friday night, and one of them could happen without the winning team even touching the ice.

The Predators just need Dallas to lose to Tampa Bay in regulation and the Preds are postseason bound. If that doesn’t happen, they’ll need to beat the Hurricanes on Saturday, or hope for a Stars defeat on Sunday evening.

[Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

It’s a bit more cut and dry out West. St. Louis will lock in the fourth seed if it can take down the top-seeded Golden Knights in any fashion, and the Avalanche defeat the Kings. They can also get in by picking up one point against Vegas and hoping the Avs top the Kings in regulation.

That would have every division clinched except for the North, where Montreal is still yet to lock down the final seed in Canada.

Some other movement is on the table as well. Vegas can clinch home ice in the first round if it defeats the Blues and Minnesota loses to Anaheim. That would be important for them, as they’re likely to face Minnesota in the first round and have one win there ever.

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. Tampa Bay Lightning vs. 3. Florida Panthers

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
Ducks vs Wild, 8 p.m. ET
Blues vs Golden Knights, 10 p.m. ET

FRIDAY’S CLINCHING SCENARIOS
• Carolina will clinch the No. 1 seed in the Central Division if Dallas beats Tampa Bay in regulation.

• Nashville will clinch a playoff spot if Tampa Bay beats Dallas in regulation.

• St. Louis will clinch a playoff spot if they defeat Vegas in any fashion AND Colorado beats LA in any fashion OR they earn at least one point against Vegas AND Colorado beats LA 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 – 96%
Stars – 4%
Blackhawks – eliminated
Red Wings – eliminated
Blue Jackets – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Maple Leafs – Clinched
Oilers – Clinched
Jets – Clinched
Canadiens – 99.1%
Flames – 0.9%
Canucks – 0%
Senators – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Golden Knights – Clinched
Avalanche – Clinched
Wild – Clinched
Blues – 99.6%
Kings – 0.4%
Coyotes – eliminated
Sharks – eliminated
Ducks – eliminated

draft lottery
Getty Images

DRAFT LOTTERY PICTURE (via MoneyPuck)

Sabres – 18.5%
Ducks – 13.5%
Red Wings – 10%
Devils – 9.8%
Blue Jackets – 8.3%
Canucks – 7.5%
Senators – 6.6%
Sharks – 5.4%
Coyotes – 4.7%
Kings – 4.6%
Blackhawks – 3.4%
Flames – 3.1%
Flyers – 2%
Stars – 1.3%
Rangers – 1.3%

ART ROSS TROPHY RACE

Connor McDavid, Oilers – 96 points
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 77
Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs – 66
Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche – 65
Brad Marchand, Bruins – 65

ROCKET RICHARD RACE

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 40 goals
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 31
Mikko Rantanen, Avalanche – 29
Alex DeBrincat, Blackhawks – 29
Tyler Toffoli, Canadiens – 28
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 28

Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.

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