NHL Playoff Picture 2022: Updated Standings After Panthers Clinch Top Seed in EastApril 22, 2022
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.
Here's a look at the updated Eastern Conference standings:
- Florida Panthers: 56-15-6, 118 points
- Toronto Maple Leafs: 51-21-6, 108 points
- Tampa Bay Lightning: 47-22-8, 102 points
- Carolina Hurricanes: 50-20-8, 108 points
- New York Rangers: 51-21-6, 108 points
- Pittsburgh Penguins: 44-23-11, 99 points
- Boston Bruins: 47-25-5, 99 points
- Washington Capitals: 43-23-11, 97 points
And here's a look at the Western Conference standings:
- Colorado Avalanche: 55-16-6, 116 points
- Minnesota Wild: 49-21-7, 105 points
- St. Louis Blues: 46-20-11, 103 points
- Calgary Flames: 47-20-10, 104 points
- Edmonton Oilers: 45-26-6, 96 points
- Los Angeles Kings: 41-27-10, 92 points
- Nashville Predators: 44-28-5, 93 points
- 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.