NHL Playoff Picture 2019: Updated Standings and Bracket Outlook

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2019

Nikita Kucherov has keyed the Lightning's dominant regular season.
Nikita Kucherov has keyed the Lightning's dominant regular season.Jason Behnken/Associated Press

The countdown is on, and in less than a month, the NHL regular season will be completed and the Stanley Cup playoffs will be underway.

While the Tampa Bay Lightning are seemingly just a few victories away from clinching the Presidents Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the postseason, there are significant playoff races going on in both conferences, and results from each night's game change the perspective and position of the teams involved.


Eastern Conference

The top three teams in the Atlantic Division appear quite secure. The Lightning (110 points) have a 17-point lead over the Boston Bruins, who have now dropped two games in a row after a 19-game point streak. The Bruins (93 points) dropped 7-4 decision Tuesday night to the playoff-hungry Columbus Blue Jackets. Boston still leads the Toronto Maple Leafs (89 points) by four points.

Toronto has an eight-point lead over the Montreal Canadiens (81 points), who returned home Tuesday and defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-1. 

Montreal and Columbus both have 81 points, and while those two teams are tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference, Columbus has the edge since the Blue Jackets have three more regulation or overtime wins (ROW) than the Habs.

The Washington Capitals (89 points) dropped a 5-3 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday in the Steel City, but the defending Stanley Cup champions still lead the New York Islanders (87 points) by two points for the Metropolitan Division lead, and they are four points ahead of the Penguins (85 points).

The surprising Carolina Hurricanes, who were off Tuesday, are holding down the first wild-card position with 83 points, two points better than the Blue Jackets and Canadiens.

The Philadelphia Flyers (76 points), who have been surging throughout the second half of the season after a disastrous start, are five points behind Columbus and Montreal.


Eastern Conference Standings

Atlantic Division
Team, points, ROW, Games Remaining

Tampa Bay, 110, 47, 12
Boston, 93, 40, 12
Toronto, 89, 42, 13

Metropolitan Division
Team, points, ROW, Game Remaining

Washington, 89, 37, 12
N.Y. Islanders, 87, 36, 13
Pittsburgh, 85, 37, 12

Wild Card
Carolina, 83, 37 13
Columbus, 81, 38, 12

Montreal, 81, 35, 12
Philadelphia, 76, 32, 13


Western Conference

The Winnipeg Jets are leading the Central Division, and they hosted the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks in Tuesday night action.

One of these teams may represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final in June, and the two evenly matched teams put on a brilliant show in Winnipeg until Joe Pavelski scored the winning goal in a 5-4 victory with 4.3 seconds remaining in the third period.

Despite the loss, the Jets (84 points) have a narrow lead over the second-place Nashville Predators (83 points). The Preds lost to the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 Tuesday night, but they will get another chance Thursday when they play the Kings in Los Angeles. 

The St. Louis Blues (79 points) are holding down third place in the division even though they were beaten 3-1 by the upstart Arizona Coyotes in St. Louis.

While the Sharks (94 points) were beating the Jets, the Calgary Flames (93 points) overwhelmed the New Jersey Devils 9-4. The Flames trailed 4-3 entering the third period, but they blitzed the Devils 6-0 in the final 20 minutes as Johnny Gaudreau scored three goals and three assists.

Calgary Flames @NHLFlames

Six points for this guy. #NJDvsCGY | #Flames https://t.co/Oa23gtKwPs

The Flames have scored an NHL-best 103 third-period goals this season.

The Vegas Golden Knights (81 points) have a six-point lead over the Coyotes. 

The Dallas Stars (77 points) were 2-0 winners over the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday, and they are holding down the No. 1 wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Goalie Ben Bishop nailed down his third consecutive shutout in the win at Buffalo.

The Coyotes (75 points) are holding down the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

The Minnesota Wild (74 points) and Colorado Avalanche (72 points) remain in contention for playoff spots, while the Edmonton Oilers (69 points) and Chicago Blackhawks (69 points) are on the outside but may still have a shot if either team can get on a roll.


Western Conference standings

Central Division
Team, points, ROW, Games Remaining

Winnipeg, 84, 38, 13
Nashville, 83, 35, 11
St. Louis, 79, 35, 13

Pacific Division
Team, points, ROW, Game Remaining

San Jose, 94, 43, 12
Calgary, 93, 43, 12
Vegas, 81, 35, 12

Wild Card

Dallas, 77, 36, 13
Arizona, 75, 31, 12


Minnesota, 74, 32, 12
Colorado, 72, 29, 12
Chicago, 69, 28, 13
Edmonton, 69, 28, 13