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Here is an up-to-the-minute look at the NHL playoff race with 27 of the 32 teams, having nine or ten regular season games left to go. A lot can change between today and April 29th.
#1 Florida Panthers: They have 108 points and lead the Atlantic Division with 10 games left to play. Carolina is 6 points behind in the chase to No.1 for the upcoming Eastern Conference playoffs. The Panthers have won seven in a row, and have gone 16-4 in their last 20 games. They are an offensive machine averaging 4.19 goals per game. As of today, they would host the Washington Capitals in the first round of the playoffs.
#2 Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs have 100 points and they are playing very well. They still could finish atop the Atlantic Conference but it isn’t likely. Toronto has to get over the stigma of exiting the playoffs in the first round, and there is a ton of added pressure in hockey-crazy Toronto. If the season ended today, they would face the 2-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. That’s not who you want to face first in the playoffs.
#3 Tampa Bay Lightning: The defending champs have 96 points and are trying to get on a winning streak in the last 10 games of the regular season. They are only 9-11 in the past 20 outings, and they are better than that. Look for them to finish strong and challenge to move up. They would start the playoffs on the road against Toronto.
#4 Boston Bruins: The Bruins are the #1 wild-card team and they are sitting on 95 points, just one below the Lightning. They have been playing consistent, winning hockey and will be a tough out for anybody. At this moment, they are in line to play Carolina, in the first round.
#1 Carolina Hurricanes: They have a slim lead for the #2 seed with 102 points. That gives them only a 2-point advantage over both the Rangers and the Maple Leafs. The Hurricanes have cooled off as of late and are only 10-10 in their last twenty games. They are looking to pick up the pace in their 10 remaining games. They would meet up with Boston in the first round of the playoffs.
#2 New York Rangers: The Rangers are only two points out of first in the Metro. So, they have a very good shot at being the #1 team in this division. They have gone 13-7 in the last 20 games and look pretty solid in being no worse than 2nd in this division. They are solid in goal scoring and guarding the net, and are a Stanley Cup contender. They would play Pittsburgh in the 1st round.
#3 Pittsburgh Penguins: They are hanging on to the third spot with 94 points, which is only 4 points ahead of the Capitals. They are another team that is struggling, and they are 10-10 in the last 20 games. They have the least amount of games left for the East playoff teams with 8. So, they need every win they can get to stay in the 3rd position. They would play the Rangers in the first round.
#4 Washington Capitals: The Caps have 90 points and trail Pittsburgh by 4 with two games at hand. They are playing very well again and are a dangerous foe in the upcoming playoffs. At the moment, they would start the playoffs against the Florida Panthers.
#1 Colorado Avalanche: The Avs have 110 points which leads the entire NHL, and they have clinched the top seed in the Western Conference. They have been remarkably consistent and have only 14 losses all year long. This is a confident team with no weaknesses and no one wants to play them. They are the Stanley Cup favorites at the moment. As of today, they would meet Dallas in Round 1.
#2 Minnesota Wild: They have 94 points and are tied with the Blues but they have played 1 less game. They are always tough, and defensive minded and hard to play against. But, they historically haven’t been a good playoff team. They would play St.Louis in the first round.
#3 St.Louis Blues: The Blues are currently on a roll and have won 7 of their last 8. They have a 7 point lead over the Predators for 3rd place in the Central and still have a good shot at 2nd. They are a team that is dangerous if they can get steady goaltending to go along with the 4th best offensive production in the league. They are looking at a first round matchup with the Wild.
#4 Nashville Predators: Nashville has 87 points and they are currently the 1st wild-card team in the Western Conference. They would play Calgary in the first round of the playoffs.
#5 Dallas Stars: The Stars have 86 points and they are the 2nd wild-card team in the Western Conference. They have a 2-point lead over Vegas for the final playoff position. They would play Colorado in Round 1.
OTHER CONTENDERS: Winnipeg has 79 points with 9 games left and will have to win almost all of those games to make it.
#1 Calgary Flames: They lead the division with 97 points and are in good shape to win the Pacific. They are playing steady hockey and have gone 12-8 in their last 20 contests. They are very balanced and can score goals, as well as keep opponents away from scoring. They would play Nashville if the season ended today.
#2 Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers got off to a slow start, but since a mid-season coaching change, they have picked up the pace, and surged to a comfortable position in the Pacific. They have 90 points and are in good shape to stay out of a wild-card spot. Goaltending and the back line are the keys to their success in the playoffs. They would play the LA Kings in Round 1.
#3 Los Angeles Kings: The Kings have 86 points and are in a battle with Nashville, Dallas, Vegas, and Vancouver for playoff position. They have played one or two more games than any of those challengers. They have only 8 games left and they need to win them all. So, even though they are safely in at the moment, that could change in the next few games. As of today, they would play Edmonton in the first round.
Vegas Golden Knights: They are nipping at the heels of the Kings, Stars, and Predators with 84 points. They have a 6-1 record in their last seven games and if they can keep that hot streak going, they have a great shot to sneak in.
Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks have won three in a row and they have a decent shot at sneaking into a playoff spot as well. They have 80 points and are six points out of the big prize. They have nine games left and they can’t afford to lose any of them.
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