NHL playoff watch: Who will get the West’s No. 1 seed?

NHL

Regular readers of the NHL Playoff Watch know that the race atop the Western Conference remains super close as teams enter their final 10 or so games. Unlike in the East — where the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes appear to have things well in hand atop their divisions — the Central and Pacific Division seeding may come down to the final games.

When it comes to the six teams in those top spots right now, the Dallas Stars would appear to have a leg up on the competition.

With 11 games remaining, Dallas will play against teams currently in playoff position three times: at the Colorado Avalanche on April 1, and home against the Vegas Golden Knights on April 8, and Thursday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins (9 p.m. ET, ESPN). That strength of schedule compares quite favorably to the Minnesota Wild (5 of 11 remaining games against playoff teams), Edmonton Oilers (5 of 10), Avalanche (5 of 11), Los Angeles Kings (6 of 11) and Golden Knights (8 of 11).

As we enter the final stretch of the regular season, it’s time to check all the playoff races — along with the teams jockeying for position in the 2023 NHL draft lottery.

Note: Playoff chances are via FiveThirtyEight.

Jump ahead:
Current playoff matchups
Today’s games
Last night’s scores
Expanded standings
Race for No. 1 pick

Current playoff matchups

Eastern Conference

A1 Boston Bruins vs. WC2 Pittsburgh Penguins
A2 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. A3 Tampa Bay Lightning
M1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. WC1 New York Islanders
M2 New Jersey Devils vs. M3 New York Rangers

Western Conference

C1 Dallas Stars vs. WC1 Seattle Kraken
C2 Minnesota Wild vs. C3 Colorado Avalanche
P1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. WC2 Winnipeg Jets
P2 Los Angeles Kings vs. P3 Edmonton Oilers


Thursday’s games

Note: All times Eastern. All games not on ESPN, TNT or NHL Network are available via NHL Power Play, which is included in an ESPN+ subscription (local blackout restrictions apply).

Minnesota Wild at Philadelphia Flyers, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m.
New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m.
St. Louis Blues at Detroit Red Wings, 7 p.m.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Florida Panthers, 7 p.m.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Ottawa Senators, 7 p.m.
Chicago Blackhawks at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m.
Seattle Kraken at Nashville Predators, 8 p.m.
Vegas Golden Knights at Calgary Flames, 9 p.m.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Dallas Stars, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Winnipeg Jets at Anaheim Ducks, 10 p.m.
San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m.


Wednesday’s scoreboard

Watch “In the Crease” on ESPN+ for highlights from every game.

Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Colorado Avalanche 2
Edmonton Oilers 4, Arizona Coyotes 3 (OT)


Expanded standings

Atlantic Division

Points: 113
Regulation wins: 47
Playoff position: A1
Games left: 12
Points pace: 132
Next game: vs. MTL (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 93
Regulation wins: 35
Playoff position: A2
Games left: 12
Points pace: 109
Next game: @ FLA (Thursday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 90
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: A3
Games left: 10
Points pace: 103
Next game: @ OTT (Thursday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Points pace: 91
Next game: vs. TOR (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 57%
Tragic number: 21

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Points pace: 84
Next game: vs. TB (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 15

Points: 72
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Points pace: 84
Next game: vs. NJ (Friday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 16

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Points pace: 83
Next game: vs. STL (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 15

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Points pace: 72
Next game: @ BOS (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 4


Metropolitan Division

Points: 100
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: M1
Games left: 13
Points pace: 119
Next game: vs. NYR (Thursday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 98
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: M2
Games left: 11
Points pace: 113
Next game: @ BUF (Friday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 92
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: M3
Games left: 11
Points pace: 106
Next game: @ CAR (Thursday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 82
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 10
Points pace: 93
Next game: @ CBJ (Friday)
Playoff chances: 78%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 11
Points pace: 92
Next game: @ DAL (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 61%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 74
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Points pace: 84
Next game: vs. CHI (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 14

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Points pace: 75
Next game: vs. MIN (Thursday
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 8

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Points pace: 60
Next game: vs. NYI (Friday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Central Division

Points: 90
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 11
Points pace: 104
Next game: s. PIT (Thursday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 90
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 11
Points pace: 104
Next game: @ PHI (Thursday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 88
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 12
Points pace: 103
Next game: vs. ARI (Friday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 83
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 10
Points pace: 95
Next game: @ ANA (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 68%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 78
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 93
Next game: vs. SEA (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 21%
Tragic number: 21

Points: 68
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Points pace: 80
Next game: @ DET (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 9

Points: 66
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Points pace: 75
Next game: @ COL (Friday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 3

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Points pace: 63
Next game: @ WSH (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Pacific Division

Points: 94
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: P1
Games left: 11
Points pace: 109
Next game: @ CGY (Thursday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 92
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: P2
Games left: 11
Points pace: 106
Next game: vs. WPG (Saturday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 90
Regulation wins: 37
Playoff position: P3
Games left: 10
Points pace: 103
Next game: vs. VGK (Saturday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 85
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 12
Points pace: 100
Next game: @ NSH (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 94%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Points pace: 90
Next game: vs. VGK (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 18%
Tragic number: 16

Points: 67
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Points pace: 79
Next game: vs. SJ (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 8

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Points pace: 65
Next game: vs. WPG (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Points pace: 61
Next game: @ VAN (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

X — Clinched playoff berth; E — Eliminated from playoff contention


Race for the No. 1 pick

The NHL uses a draft lottery to determine the order of the first round, so the team that finishes in last place is not guaranteed the No. 1 selection. As of 2021, a team might 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. Sitting No. 1 on the draft board for this summer is Connor Bedard, who has been lauded as a generational talent.

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 19

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 24

Points: 66
Regulation wins: 20

Points: 67
Regulation wins: 19

Points: 68
Regulation wins: 23

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 24

Points: 72
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 27

Points: 74
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 78
Regulation wins: 26

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 26

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 31

*Notes on traded picks impacting the top 16:

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