NHL Playoff Picture 2022: Updated Standings After Panthers Clinch Top Seed in East

Erin WalshApril 22, 2022

Florida Panthers center Joe Thornton (19) and center Sam Bennett (9) congratulate center Sam Reinhart (13) on his goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings, Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)
AP Photo/Reinhold Matay

The Florida Panthers clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference on Thursday with a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings and thanks to the Tampa Bay Lightning's 8-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

This is the first time since in franchise history that the Panthers have won the conference title. It also marks the third time the team has ever won the Atlantic Division. 


The <a href="https://twitter.com/FlaPanthers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FlaPanthers</a> are your 2021-22 Atlantic Division champions! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StanleyCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/IWGSQ5EaQs">pic.twitter.com/IWGSQ5EaQs</a>

x - Florida Panthers @FlaPanthers

the vibes are just getting started ✨ <a href="https://t.co/OPJtlUyhmw">pic.twitter.com/OPJtlUyhmw</a>

Here's a look at the updated Eastern Conference standings:

Atlantic Division:

  1. Florida Panthers: 56-15-6, 118 points
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs: 51-21-6, 108 points
  3. Tampa Bay Lightning: 47-22-8, 102 points

Metropolitan Division:

  1. Carolina Hurricanes: 50-20-8, 108 points
  2. New York Rangers: 51-21-6, 108 points
  3. Pittsburgh Penguins: 44-23-11, 99 points

Wild Card:

  1. Boston Bruins: 47-25-5, 99 points
  2. Washington Capitals: 43-23-11, 97 points

And here's a look at the Western Conference standings:

Central Division:

  1. Colorado Avalanche: 55-16-6, 116 points
  2. Minnesota Wild: 49-21-7, 105 points
  3. St. Louis Blues: 46-20-11, 103 points

Pacific Division:

  1. Calgary Flames: 47-20-10, 104 points
  2. Edmonton Oilers: 45-26-6, 96 points
  3. Los Angeles Kings: 41-27-10, 92 points

Wild Card:

  1. Nashville Predators: 44-28-5, 93 points
  2. Dallas Stars: 43-29-5, 91 points

The Panthers are in the midst of their best season in franchise history, and it's all thanks to Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Sam Reinhart. 

Huberdeau is having a career year. Through 76 games, he has tallied 30 goals and 81 assists for 111 points, which leads the team. Barkov, meanwhile, has 38 goals and 48 assists for 86 points and Reinhart has 28 goals and 48 assists for 76 points. 

In addition to those three players, the Panthers have also received some solid performances from Anthony Duclair, Mason Marchment, Anton Lundell, Sam Bennett and Carter Verhaeghe. 

Defensively, the team has relied heavily on Ben Chiarot, who was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens at the trade deadline, Gustav Forsling and MacKenzie Weegar among others. Aaron Ekblad, the team's best defensive player, has been sidelined due to injury but is on pace to return for the playoffs

The Panthers have also received much better goaltending this season from Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight. The goaltending was a larger issue during the 2020-21 season as Bobrovsky struggled in his second season in Florida. 

In addition to the Panthers, the Minnesota Wild clinched a first-round playoff matchup against the St. Louis Blues after earning a 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. Home ice is still to be determined.