NHL Push for the Playoff: Hurricanes, Rangers and the Metro title race

nhl push for the playoffs
Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

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.

The Hurricanes’ 5-3 win over the Coyotes Monday night put them ahead of the Rangers by two points in the race for the Metropolitan Division title. New York does have a game in-hand, however, and could be back in a tie with Carolina if they beat the Jets tonight.

For most of the season, the Hurricanes had been in control of the division, owning the top spot. But since March 1 the Rangers have gained ground and moved from a likely First Round matchup with the Penguins as the No. 2 or 3 seed to having a shot at the Metro crown. In their last 25 games, Carolina is 12-9-4, earning 28 points. New York is 15-6-1 in their last 22 games, picking up 31 points. Strength of schedule is in play here in the Rangers’ recent surge, but you can only play the teams the NHL tells you to play, right? Points earned are points earned.

Both teams have three games to go before they meet next Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, which could tip the scales in the race to grab the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed. But if you’re the Rangers, you probably need to win the division outright with more points as the tiebreakers are currently not in your favor.

The first two standings tiebreakers are Regulation Wins and Regulation/Overtime Wins, which the Hurricanes lead both. Carolina has 43 regulation wins to to New York’s 41, and 48 regulation and overtime wins to 45. Even head-to-head it’s the Hurricanes with a 2-1-0 series lead.

Every team wants home ice in the postseason and securing that through at least two rounds would certainly be atop the list of goals as both teams finish out these final 10 days of the regular season.

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
Blues vs. Wild

PACIFIC DIVISION
Flames vs. Predators
Oilers vs. Kings

TODAY’S KEY GAMES

Jets vs. Rangers, 7 p.m. ET
Flames vs. Predators, 8 p.m. ET
Bruins vs. Blues, 8 p.m. ET
Kings vs. Ducks, 10 p.m. ET

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

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

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Hurricanes – clinched
Rangers – clinched
Penguins – clinched
Capitals – clinched
Islanders – eliminated
Blue Jackets – eliminated
Flyers – eliminated
Devils – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Avalanche – clinched No. 1 seed in Western Conference
Blues – clinched
Wild – clinched
Stars – 93.4%
Predators – 90%
Jets – 0%
Blackhawks – eliminated
Coyotes – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Flames – clinched
Oilers – 99.9%
Kings – 85%
Golden Knights – 20%
Canucks – 11.7%
Ducks – eliminated
Sharks – eliminated
Kraken – eliminated

draft lottery
Getty Images

DRAFT LOTTERY PICTURE (via Tankathon)

16.6% – Coyotes
12.1% – Canadiens
10.9% – Kraken
9.7% – Flyers
8.5% – Blackhawks (*conditional)
7.6% – Devils
6.7% – Senators
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% – Golden Knights (*conditional)
1% – Canucks

ART ROSS TROPHY RACE

Connor McDavid, Oilers – 110 points
Jonathan Huberdeau, Panthers – 108
Johnny Gaudreau, Flames – 107
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 105
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 102
Matthew Tkachuk, Flames – 98

ROCKET RICHARD RACE

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 58 goals
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 54
Chris Kreider, Rangers – 50
Alex Ovechkin, Capitals – 48
Kyle Connor, Jets – 43
Kirill Kaprizov, Wild – 43
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 42

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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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