Now that we've (well, I've) decided the Maple Leafs won't be reaching the postseason, that leaves three teams (Detroit, Columbus, Washington) vying for the two wild-card spots in the East. It's a tighter version of the race of the West, as there seems to be no clear-cut favorite for either of the berths.
The Red Wings own the first wild-card spot with 84 points in 75 games; the Jackets have the second spot with 82 points in 74 games, while the Capitals have 81 points in 75 games. All three teams are playing well right now, but each has issues that could keep them out of the postseason.
Detroit has won two in a row and is 5-2-1 in their past eight games. However, they won't get Henrik Zetterberg back until the (hypothetical) playoffs and four of their final seven games are against some of the NHL's top teams—Boston, Montreal, St. Louis and Pittsburgh.
Columbus is healthy but its offense has gone mostly dry since trading Marian Gaborik at the trade deadline. In 12 games since shipping Gaborik to Los Angeles, the Blue Jackets have 24 goals.
Washington has been the hottest of the three teams, going 4-1-3 in its past eight games. The biggest thing working against the Capitals is their 25 regulation/overtime victories, which would cost them a playoff spot in the event they finished tied in points with either the Red Wings or Blue Jackets.
Prediction: The final two spots will go to the Red Wings and Capitals. They are the two teams that are playing the best and while the Capitals' lack of regulation/overtime wins says they're not that good of a team, points are points and the Capitals will have enough of them to reach the playoffs.