NHL Push for the Playoffs: Golden Knights’ playoff path requires wins, lots of help

nhl push for the playoffs
Zak Krill/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.

Well, business just picked up didn’t it?

Tuesday’s NHL slate of games was building up to be an interesting one with not only the Western Conference Wild Card race but also the battle for the top of the Metropolitan Division between the Hurricanes and Rangers. But the Vegas Golden Knights added even more drama to their season on Sunday by giving up a late game-tying goal and then losing in the shootout to the San Jose Sharks? Bring on the fun!

First, let’s set the scene for tonight out West.

Here are the remaining schedules:

Predators: vs. CGY / @ COL / @ ARZ
Stars: vs. VGK / vs. ARZ / vs. ANA
Golden Knights: @ DAL / @ CHI / @ STL

To sum up the Dallas-Vegas game, a regulation win for the Stars would not only clinch a playoff spot but also knock the Golden Knights out of contention. A loser point for Peter DeBoer’s men keeps them in contention for another day. Nashville can clinch with a regulation win in any of their three games. A single point for the Kings in their final two games would get them in.

Vegas, well, they just need regulation wins and for the Stars and Predators to have a very bad next four days.

“We’ll get back on the saddle and try to get this group energized for Tuesday night in Dallas,” Mark Stone said after Sunday’s loss. “Because if we lose that one …You guys know what happens if we lose that one.”

If you’re Vegas, you’ve dug yourself into this hole and destiny is no longer in your hands. The Golden Knights need help and lots of it. Tiebreakers come into play with Regulation Wins important here. At the moment, the Predators lead that category with 35 followed by Vegas’s 33 and then the Stars with 30.

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

Panthers vs. Bruins, 7 p.m. ET
Hurricanes vs. Rangers, 7 p.m. ET
Flames vs. Predators, 8 p.m. ET
Golden Knights vs. Stars, 8:30 p.m. ET

TUESDAY’S CLINCHING SCENARIOS

Via the NHL:

PRESIDENTS’ TROPHY:
* The Panthers will clinch the Presidents’ Trophy if they defeat Boston in any fashion AND St. Louis defeats Colorado in any fashion; OR if they get one point vs. Boston AND St. Louis defeats Colorado in regulation.

EASTERN CONFERENCE:
* The Maple Leafs will clinch the No. 2 playoff seed in the Atlantic Division if they get at least one point vs. Detroit; OR if Columbus defeats Tampa Bay in any fashion.

* A Maple Leafs-Lightning series in the First Round will be guaranteed if Tampa Bay defeats Columbus in any fashion AND Florida defeats Boston in regulation. Home ice in that series could be set on Tuesday, via the Toronto scenario above.

* The Hurricanes will clinch the Metropolitan Division if they defeat the NY Rangers in any fashion.

WESTERN CONFERENCE:
* The Oilers will clinch the No. 2 playoff seed in the Pacific Division if they defeat Pittsburgh in any fashion.

* The Kings (idle) will clinch a playoff berth if Dallas defeats Vegas in any fashion.

* An Oilers-Kings series in the First Round will be guaranteed if Los Angeles clinches a playoff berth (i.e., if Dallas defeats Vegas in any fashion). Home ice in that series could be set on Tuesday, via the Edmonton scenario above.

* The Predators have five scenarios by which they can clinch a playoff berth Tuesday:
If they defeat Calgary in regulation; OR
If they defeat Calgary in overtime AND Vegas fails to defeat Dallas in regulation; OR
If they defeat Calgary in a shootout AND Vegas fails to defeat Dallas in regulation or overtime; OR
If they get one point vs. Calgary AND Vegas loses to Dallas in any fashion; OR
If Vegas loses to Dallas in regulation.

* The Stars will clinch a playoff berth if they defeat Vegas in regulation.

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Panthers – clinched No. 1 seed in Eastern Conference
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
Wild – clinched
Blues – clinched
Predators – 98.2%
Stars – 87.3%
Jets – eliminated
Blackhawks – eliminated
Coyotes – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Flames – clinched Pacific Division
Oilers – clinched
Kings – 99.5%
Golden Knights – 15%
Canucks – 0.1%
Ducks – eliminated
Sharks – eliminated
Kraken – eliminated

draft lottery
Getty Images

DRAFT LOTTERY PICTURE (via Tankathon)

18.5% – Canadiens
13.5% – Coyotes
11.5% – Kraken
9.5% – Flyers
8.5% – Devils
7.5% – Blackhawks (*conditional)
6.5% – Senators
6.0% – Red Wings
5.0% – Sabres
3.5% – Ducks
3.0% – Sharks
2.5% – Blue Jackets
2.0% – Islanders
1.5% – Jets
0.5% – Canucks
0.5% – Golden Knights (*conditional)

“Beginning this season there will be a limit on the total number of selections (10) a team participating in the lottery can move up in the event it wins one of the lottery draws, a change announced by the NHL on March 23, 2021. Only the top 11 seeds will be eligible to receive the No. 1 selection in the 2022 draft.”

The 2022 NHL Draft Lottery drawing will be held May 10

ART ROSS TROPHY RACE

Connor McDavid, Oilers – 118 points
Jonathan Huberdeau, Panthers – 115
Johnny Gaudreau, Flames – 111
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 108
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 104
Kirill Kaprizov, Wild – 103
Matthew Tkachuk, Flames -101

ROCKET RICHARD RACE

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 58 goals
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 55
Chris Kreider, Rangers – 51
Alex Ovechkin, Capitals – 50
Kirill Kaprizov, Wild – 45
Kyle Connor, Jets – 45
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 43
Matt Duchene, Predators – 41
Alex DeBrincat, Blackhawks – 41

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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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