The Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers are the latest teams the clinch a berth in the 2021 NHL playoffs with their victories on Monday night.
Boston scored a 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils on the strength of a 20-save shutout from Tuukka Rask to claim a berth in the East Division, while Connor McDavid continued his torrid scoring pace with four points in a 5-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks to put the Oilers in the North Division field.
The East is the first division to complete its four-team playoff group with the Bruins joining the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders.
Edmonton and the Toronto Maple Leafs have claimed spots out of the North. Four teams remain active in the pursuit of the final two bids.
- Winnipeg Jets (57 points in 51 games)
- Montreal Canadiens (57 in 51)
- Calgary Flames (47 in 50)
- Vancouver Canucks (41 in 46)
In the Central division, the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers and reigning Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning are in. The last berth is a two-team race:
- Nashville Predators (60 in 53)
- Dallas Stars (56 in 52)
There's also one more spot available in the West alongside the Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild. Three teams are involved in that battle:
- St. Louis Blues (55 in 50)
- Arizona Coyotes (50 in 53)
- Los Angeles Kings (46 in 50)
The NHL playoff format was changed this season because of schedule alterations made amid the coronavirus pandemic. Each of the four restructured divisions will play postseason series against each other across two rounds to crown a division champion, who will advance to the final four.
Teams will be reseeded by regular-season points ahead of the semifinals and the winners will then face off in the Stanley Cup Final.
The playoffs will start sometime in late May with the final regular-season contest set for May 19.