NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canadiens look to extend their lead

NHL

The all-Canadian North Division has been a fun one to watch during the 2021 NHL season, featuring some of the NHL’s most ancient rivalries that have been rejuvenated with a new collection of players.

The top end of the division appears pretty well set right now, with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets pretty much locked into those top three spots. The Montreal Canadiens — with a 79.3% chance at the playoffs, per Money Puck — are currently fourth, and will look to extend their four-point lead over the Calgary Flames on Friday.

Friday’s contest pits the Habs against the Jets (streaming live on ESPN+), and a win would knock Calgary’s tragic number down to eight. The two clubs have finished their season series already, so there will be a lot of scoreboard watching in the next two weeks among those two fan bases.

Having reached the final stretch of the regular season, it’s time to check in on all the playoff races — along with the teams jockeying for position in the 2021 NHL draft lottery.

Note: Playoff chances are via Money Puck. Tragic numbers are courtesy of Damian Echevarrieta of the NHL.

Jump ahead:
Current playoff matchups
Race for No. 1 pick

East Division

play

0:25

Oliver Wahlstrom nets a power play goal as the Islanders handle the Rangers 4-0.

Points: 69
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: E1
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. PIT (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 69
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: E2
Games left: 5
Next game: @ WSH (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 65
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: E3
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. NYR (May 1)
Playoff chances: 99.8%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: E4
Games left: 7
Next game: vs. BUF (May 1)
Playoff chances: 99.8%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 5
Next game: @ NYI (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0.4%
Tragic number: 5

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. NJ (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 6
Next game: @ PHI (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 33
Regulation wins: 10
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 5
Next game: @ BOS (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Central Division

play

0:31

Lightning’s Ondrej Palat puts the puck in the back of the net off the turnover for the first goal of the game helping Tampa Bay take down Dallas 3-0.

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. CBJ (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 4
Next game: @ CHI (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 70
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 6
Next game: @ DET (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: C4
Games left: 5
Next game: vs. DAL (May 1)
Playoff chances: 68.6%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 6
Next game: @ NSH (May 1)
Playoff chances: 30.7%
Tragic number: 10

Points: 50
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. FLA (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0.7%
Tragic number: 6

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 4
Next game: vs. TB (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 5
Next game: @ CAR (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


North Division

play

0:45

Elias Lindholm scores an early goal in the first period, then scores again in the second period as the Flames go on to down the Oilers on the road 3-1.

Points: 69
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: N1
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. VAN (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N2
Games left: 8
Next game: vs. CGY (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: N3
Games left: 7
Next game: @ MTL (Apr. 30)
Playoff chances: 99.4%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N4
Games left: 8
Next game: vs. WPG (Apr. 30)
Playoff chances: 79.3%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 7
Next game: @ EDM (May 1)
Playoff chances: 20.2%
Tragic number: 10

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 6
Next game: @ MTL (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 3

Points: 41
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: @ TOR (May 1)
Playoff chances: 1.1%
Tragic number: 14


West Division

play

0:36

Ryan O’Reilly sneaks through on a breakaway to score the go-ahead overtime goal and seal a 5-4 win against the Wild.

Points: 72
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: W1
Games left: 8
Next game: @ ARI (Apr. 30)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 66
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: W2
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. SJ (Apr. 30)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 66
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: W3
Games left: 7
Next game: vs. STL (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: W4
Games left: 8
Next game: @ MIN (May 1)
Playoff chances: 94.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. VGS (Apr. 30)
Playoff chances: 3%
Tragic number: 7

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 7
Next game: @ COL (Apr. 30)
Playoff chances: 1.3%
Tragic number: 7

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Next game: @ ANA (Apr. 30)
Playoff chances: 0.9%
Tragic number: 8

Points: 37
Regulation wins: 10
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. LA (Apr. 30)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Current playoff matchups

East Division

No. 1 Washington Capitals vs. No. 4 Boston Bruins
No. 2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 3 New York Islanders

Central Division

No. 1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. No. 4 Nashville Predators
No. 2 Florida Panthers vs. No. 3 Tampa Bay Lightning

North Division

No. 1 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. No. 4 Montreal Canadiens
No. 2 Edmonton Oilers vs. No. 3 Winnipeg Jets

West Division

No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 4 St. Louis Blues
No. 2 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 3 Minnesota Wild


Race for the No. 1 pick

The NHL uses a draft lottery to determine the order at the top of the first round, so the team that finishes in last place is not guaranteed the No. 1 selection. New for 2021, a team may move up a maximum of 10 spots if it wins the lottery, so only 11 teams are eligible for the draw for the No. 1 pick. Full details on the process can be found here.

Points: 33
Regulation wins: 10

Points: 37
Regulation wins: 10

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 41
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 11

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 17

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 19

Points: 50
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 23

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