NHL News

NHL playoff watch: Bruins, Canes an East finals preview?

Much of what we examine in this space revolves around the races to earn a playoff spot (or the race to the bottom for the lottery teams). But let’s look a little bit ahead for two teams that have already clinched their spots in the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Boston Bruins have been on a record pace this season, securing their playoff ticket back on March 11 and the Atlantic Division title on Saturday with their 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. They need eight more points to clinch the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s No. 1 team this season — over the Carolina Hurricanes, who are their opponents today (5 p.m. ET, NHL Power Play on ESPN+).

Carolina has a bit more work to do to clinch its division; the New Jersey Devils are two points and one regulation win behind the Canes, although Carolina does have two games in hand.

What are the chances these two clubs will meet again in the Eastern Conference finals for a rematch of last season’s epic seven-game first-round clash?

Money Puck gives the Bruins a 37.5% chance of reaching the conference finals, while the Hurricanes are at 48.3%.

The Bruins’ path will begin with the second wild card, one of the New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins or Florida Panthers. They have gone 3-0-0 against the Isles, 2-0-0 against the Penguins (with a game coming April 1), and 2-1-1 against the Panthers. In the second round, they’ll take on the Toronto Maple Leafs (against whom they’ve gone 2-1-0 with a game left, on April 6) or the Lightning (3-1-0).

For the Hurricanes, they’ll take on the first wild card: They went 4-0-0 against the Penguins this season, 2-1-0 against the Isles (with a game left, on April 2), and 1-1-0 against the Panthers (with one game left, on April 13). Round 2 will be more difficult, as they’ve gone 2-2-0 against the Devils and 1-3-0 against the New York Rangers.

Oh, and heading into the showdown this afternoon, the B’s and Canes have each won one game in the season series.

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


Sunday’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).

Colorado Avalanche at Arizona Coyotes, 3 p.m. (NHLN)
Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes, 5 p.m.
Vancouver Canucks at Chicago Blackhawks, 6 p.m.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Nashville Predators, 6 p.m. (NHLN)
St. Louis Blues at Los Angeles Kings, 10:30 p.m.


Saturday’s scoreboard

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

Boston Bruins 2, Tampa Bay Lightning 1
Philadelphia Flyers 3, Detroit Red Wings 0
Seattle Kraken 7, Nashville Predators 2
Calgary Flames 5, San Jose Sharks 3
Los Angeles Kings 4, Winnipeg Jets 1
New York Rangers 4, Florida Panthers 3
Minnesota Wild 3, Chicago Blackhawks 1
Buffalo Sabres 2, New York Islanders 0
Carolina Hurricanes 5, Toronto Maple Leafs 3
Vancouver Canucks 3, Dallas Stars 1
Montreal Canadiens 8, Columbus Blue Jackets 2
New Jersey Devils 5, Ottawa Senators 3
Pittsburgh Penguins 4, Washington Capitals 3
Vegas Golden Knights 4, Edmonton Oilers 3 (OT)
St. Louis Blues 6, Anaheim Ducks 3


Expanded standings

Atlantic Division

Points: 117
Regulation wins: 49
Playoff position: A1
Games left: 10
Points pace: 133
Next game: @ CAR (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 95
Regulation wins: 36
Playoff position: A2
Games left: 10
Points pace: 108
Next game: @ NSH (Sunday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 90
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: A3
Games left: 8
Points pace: 100
Next game: @ CAR (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Points pace: 89
Next game: @ OTT (Monday)
Playoff chances: 37%
Tragic number: 16

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Points pace: 87
Next game: vs. MTL (Monday)
Playoff chances: 7%
Tragic number: 15

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Points pace: 84
Next game: vs. FLA (Monday)
Playoff chances: 2%
Tragic number: 12

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Points pace: 81
Next game: vs. PIT (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 10

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Points pace: 72
Next game: @ BUF (Monday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 1


Metropolitan Division

Points: 102
Regulation wins: 35
Playoff position: M1
Games left: 11
Points pace: 118
Next game: vs. BOS (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 100
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: M2
Games left: 9
Points pace: 112
Next game: @ NYI (Monday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 96
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: M3
Games left: 9
Points pace: 108
Next game: vs. CBJ (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 83
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 8
Points pace: 92
Next game: vs. NJ (Monday)
Playoff chances: 74%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 82
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 9
Points pace: 92
Next game: @ DET (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 78%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 8
Points pace: 84
Next game: vs. NYI (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 11

Points: 68
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Points pace: 77
Next game: vs. MTL (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 7

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Points pace: 60
Next game: @ NYR (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Central Division

Points: 93
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 9
Points pace: 105
Next game: vs. SEA (Monday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 92
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 9
Points pace: 103
Next game: @ CHI (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 90
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 11
Points pace: 104
Next game: @ ARI (Sunday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 85
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 8
Points pace: 94
Next game: @ SJ (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 74%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Points pace: 92
Next game: vs. TOR (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 15%
Tragic number: 18

Points: 72
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Points pace: 82
Next game: @ LA (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 8

Points: 66
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Points pace: 74
Next game: vs. COL (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Points pace: 62
Next game: vs. VAN (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Pacific Division

Points: 98
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: P1
Games left: 9
Points pace: 110
Next game: vs. EDM (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 94
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: P2
Games left: 10
Points pace: 107
Next game: vs. STL (Sunday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 91
Regulation wins: 37
Playoff position: P3
Games left: 9
Points pace: 102
Next game: @ ARI (Monday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 88
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 10
Points pace: 100
Next game: @ MIN (Monday)
Playoff chances: 99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 81
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 8
Points pace: 90
Next game: vs. LA (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 12%
Tragic number: 13

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Points pace: 81
Next game: @ CHI (Sunday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 7

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Points pace: 63
Next game: vs. COL (Monday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Points pace: 60
Next game: vs. WPG (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Y — Clinched division; 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: 53
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 20

Points: 66
Regulation wins: 20

Points: 68
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 21

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 24

Points: 72
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 28

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 26

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 27

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 31

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 26

Points: 81
Regulation wins: 27

*Notes on traded picks impacting the top 16:

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