NHL Push for the Playoffs: Another big day for West playoff races

nhl push for playoffs
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Push for the Playoffs will run every morning through the end of the 2021-22 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.

Don’t try to sell Eastern Conference teams that their battles for positioning are trivial. They may snarl at you. But there’s no denying that the Western Conference features the juiciest, most desperate battles for playoff spots.

Tuesday puts said juicy battles on display in an all-you-can-watch buffet. Here are the most important games on a day brimming with them:

  • It’s unlikely that the Wild or Oilers fall too far, but Minnesota winning in regulation would make Edmonton at least a tiny bit less comfortable.
  • With the Kings fading lately, a game against the Blackhawks is one of those contests you just have to win. On Monday, the Kings learned that Drew Doughty‘s season is over after wrist surgery.
  • Out East, the Lightning (vs. the Stars) and Bruins (vs. the Blues) struggle for positioning against quality West teams. So the Stars can be sure that they’re facing a focused Lightning opponent, and one that badly wants to get back on track.
  • After jarring downs, the Golden Knights have enjoyed at least a few recent ups. The Canucks may not view themselves as mere spoilers, but for Vegas, this is just as much a game they have to have as the Kings vs. the Blackhawks.

Beyond those more do-or-die West games, there’s plenty of intrigue out East, including a game that could influence a battle for the Metro title between the Rangers and Hurricanes.

Hockey fans won’t lack for viewing options, or suspense.

IF PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY (sorted by points percentage)

ATLANTIC DIVISION
Panthers vs. Capitals
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning

METROPOLITAN DIVISION
Hurricanes vs. Bruins
Rangers vs. Penguins

CENTRAL DIVISION
Avalanche vs. Stars
Wild vs. Blues

PACIFIC DIVISION
Flames vs. Predators
Oilers vs. Kings

TODAY’S KEY GAMES

Blues vs. Bruins, 7 p.m. ET
Hurricanes vs. Rangers, 7 p.m. ET
Oilers vs. Wild, 8 p.m. ET
Kings vs. Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. ET
Lightning vs. Stars, 9:30 p.m. ET
Golden Knights vs. Canucks, 10 p.m. ET

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Panthers – clinched
Maple Leafs – clinched
Lightning – 100%
Bruins – 100%
Red Wings – eliminated
Sabres – eliminated
Senators – eliminated
Canadiens – eliminated

nhl push for playoffs

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Hurricanes – clinched
Rangers – clinched
Penguins – 100%
Capitals – 99.98%
Islanders – 0%
Blue Jackets – 0%
Flyers – eliminated
Devils – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Avalanche – clinched
Wild – 100%
Blues – 99.98%
Predators – 91.6%
Stars – 85.3%
Jets – 0.5%
Blackhawks – eliminated
Coyotes – eliminated

nhl push for playoffs

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Flames – 100%
Oilers – 98.3%
Kings – 76.3%
Golden Knights – 42.6%
Canucks – 5.6%
Ducks – eliminated
Sharks – 0%
Kraken – eliminated

nhl push for playoffs
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DRAFT LOTTERY PICTURE (via Tankathon)

16.6% – Coyotes
12.1% – Canadiens
10.9% – Kraken
9.7% – Devils
8.5% – Flyers
7.6% – Senators
6.7% – Blackhawks (*conditional)
5.8% – Sabres
5.4% – Red Wings
4.5% – Sharks
3.1% – Ducks
2.7% – Blue Jackets
2.2% – Islanders
1.8% – Jets
1.4% – Canucks
1% – Golden Knights (*conditional)

ART ROSS TROPHY RACE

Connor McDavid, Oilers – 108 points
Jonathan Huberdeau, Panthers – 104
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 101
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 99
Johnny Gaudreau, Flames – 99
Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs – 90

ROCKET RICHARD RACE

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 58 goals
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 50
Chris Kreider, Rangers – 49
Alex Ovechkin, Capitals – 45
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 42
Kyle Connor, Jets – 42
Kirill Kaprizov, Wild – 42

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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