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NHL Playoff Standings 2019: Latest Odds on Wild-Card Races

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 14, 2019

Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal (11) in the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, March 11, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The NHL wild-card races are in constant flux because of how tight the margins are in the Eastern and Western Conferences. 

In the East, the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets are barely hanging on to the wild-card positions, with the Montreal Canadiens coming up quickly behind them.

Over in the West, five franchises are separated by six points, with the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes currently in the playoff positions. 

Although the complexion of both wild-card races will change during the final weeks of the regular season, we have a decent idea of which teams will end up in playoffs once the field is finalized.

                         

NHL Standings

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

1. Tampa Bay: 110 points

2. Boston: 93 

3. Toronto: 89 

                  

Metropolitan Division

1. Washington: 89 

2. New York Islanders: 87 

3. Pittsburgh: 85 

                 

Wild-Card Race

1. Carolina: 83

2. Columbus: 81

3. Montreal: 81

4. Philadelphia: 76

5. Florida: 72

6. Buffalo: 69

7. New York Rangers- 69 

                    

Western Conference

Central Division

1. Winnipeg: 84

2. Nashville: 83

3. St. Louis: 79

                 

Pacific Division

1. San Jose: 94

2. Calgary: 93

3. Vegas: 81

                 

Wild-Card Race

1. Dallas: 77

2. Arizona: 75

3. Minnesota: 74

4. Colorado: 72

5. Chicago: 71

6. Edmonton: 69 

                      

Wild-Card Odds

Of the teams fighting for the wild-card spots in each conference, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas and Arizona are the most likely to make the playoffs, according to The Athletic's Dom Luszczyszyn.

All four of those teams have low odds when it comes to winning their respective conferences, per VegasInsider.com.

Columbus is 15-1 to win the Eastern Conference, while Carolina sits at 20-1. Dallas and the Minnesota Wild are both 25-1 to top the Western Conference, and Arizona sits at 40-1.

The East's wild-card race is expected to end up as the more complicated of the two because of the involvement of the third-place team in the Metropolitan Division.

The Hurricanes, Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers are all directly beneath the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division, and if one or more of them gain ground on Pittsburgh, a new wrench could be thrown into the competition.

Unfortunately for Montreal, its best chance of qualifying for the postseason is through the wild-card spots, as it sits eight points back of the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division.

The good news for the Canadiens is they might be able to benefit from the Metropolitan teams beating up on each other, as Carolina has to face Pittsburgh twice and Columbus once in the final weeks of the regular season.

Columbus doesn't have any head-to-head showdowns with Pittsburgh left, while Montreal has one more crack at Carolina and Columbus before March ends.

It's also conceivable one of the Metropolitan Division teams goes on a run and wins the division.

Carolina has odds of +700 to win the division (wager $100 to win $700), per Oddschecker, while Columbus' number is much higher at +3,000.

The chaos in the West is likely to be limited to the two wild-card spots, although Dallas and Minnesota could make a run at the third-place St. Louis Blues in the Central Division.

Starting with Thursday's clash between the Stars and Wild, each of the wild-card contenders in the West will face some type of difficulty in the concluding weeks of the regular season.

After a five-game home stand, Dallas has to embark on a four-game road swing in six days in Canada, Arizona plays five of its final seven games in March on the road, and six of Minnesota's next nine opponents sit in playoff positions.

The Colorado Avalanche's fate could be determined by March 23, as it has four straight games against Minnesota, Dallas and the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Hawks, who moved to within four points of Arizona with a win over Toronto on Wednesday, could put themselves in great position to pounce on a wild-card spot if they continue to win and knock out the Avalanche in the process.

If Chicago gets into the playoffs, it could be the dark horse everyone picks to win since its odds to win the West stand at +6,600, per Oddschecker.

                                

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from NHL.com.

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