NHL Playoff Picture 2022: Latest Conference Standings, Seeds and PredictionsApril 13, 2022
NHL Playoff Picture 2022: Latest Conference Standings, Seeds and Predictions
In the Eastern Conference, four teams have clinched playoff berths. And it's highly likely the other four teams currently in postseason positions will do the same in the near future. Things are much less clear in the West, though.
Only one Western Conference team (the Colorado Avalanche) has clinched so far, and the battle for playoff spots is tight. The Edmonton Oilers, which are fifth in the conference, are only nine points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets, which are the third team out in 11th place.
West teams like the Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings are trying to hold on to postseason spots. Others such as the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks are aiming to play their way in.
Here's a look at the current NHL standings, followed by more on the East and West playoff pictures.
Current NHL Standings
1. x-Florida Panthers: 110 points
2. x-Carolina Hurricanes: 104
3. x-Toronto Maple Leafs: 100
4. x-New York Rangers: 100
5. Tampa Bay Lightning: 96
6. Boston Bruins: 95
7. Pittsburgh Penguins: 95
8. Washington Capitals: 92
9. New York Islanders: 77
10. Columbus Blue Jackets: 74
11. e-Detroit Red Wings: 66
12. e-Buffalo Sabres: 65
13. e-Ottawa Senators: 60
14. e-New Jersey Devils: 58
15. e-Philadelphia Flyers: 57
16. e-Montreal Canadiens: 51
1. x-Colorado Avalanche: 110
2. Calgary Flames: 99
3. Minnesota Wild: 96
4. St. Louis Blues: 96
5. Edmonton Oilers: 90
6. Nashville Predators: 89
7. Dallas Stars: 88
8. Los Angeles Kings: 88
9. Vegas Golden Knights: 85
10. Vancouver Canucks: 82
11. Winnipeg Jets: 81
12. e-Anaheim Ducks: 71
13. San Jose Sharks: 68
14. e-Chicago Blackhawks: 59
15. e-Seattle Kraken: 52
16. e-Arizona Coyotes: 49
x-clinched playoff berth.
e-eliminated from playoff contention.
Eastern Conference Picture
No. 1 Florida Panthers vs. No. 8 Washington Capitals
No. 2 Carolina Hurricanes vs. No. 7 Pittsburgh Penguins
No. 3 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. No. 6 Boston Bruins
No. 4 New York Rangers vs. No. 5 Tampa Bay Lightning
There's little question that Washington is going to make the playoffs, even if it's currently the last team in at No. 8 in the East standings. The Caps are 15 points ahead of the ninth-place Islanders, so it would take a huge collapse for them to miss the postseason.
That's not going to happen, though, especially with how well Washington has been playing of late. The Capitals are on a four-game winning streak, during which they've scored 23 total goals, including at least four in each of those contests. On Tuesday, they notched a 9-2 victory over the Flyers.
Throughout the season, Washington's biggest concern has been its goaltending play. But if it can get quality play from either Ilya Samsonov or Vitek Vanecek down the stretch and during the postseason, it could be a difficult team to beat.
"We'd love to move up the standings and chase higher," Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette said, per Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press. "I think the bigger picture is to continue to try to play well."
Don't be surprised if Washington continues to play well and moves up the standings in the process. It's only three points behind both Pittsburgh (which has played three more games) and Boston. And if the Capitals keep racking up wins, they could pass both before the end of the regular season.
Washington's potent offense will keep putting up big numbers, and it will be the No. 6 seed for the postseason. And it could be capable of making some noise in the playoffs, even if it won't have home-ice advantage for its first-round series.
Prediction: The Capitals will move up to the No. 6 seed
Western Conference Picture
No. 1 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 8 Los Angeles Kings
No. 2 Calgary Flames vs. No. 7 Dallas Stars
No. 3 Minnesota Wild vs. No. 6 Nashville Predators
No. 4 St. Louis Blues vs. No. 5 Edmonton Oilers
Even though Vegas is only in its fifth season, it's a franchise that has quickly become a perennial playoff contender. The Golden Knights have reached the postseason in each of their first four years in the NHL, and they're in the hunt again this season.
This time, though, Vegas is in danger of missing out for the first time. It currently sits in ninth place, three points back of Dallas and Los Angeles, which would be the final two teams in at this point.
On Tuesday, the Golden Knights lost to the Canucks, another team trying to work its way into the postseason. However, Vegas still earned a point by making it to overtime. And every point matters this late in the season, so that could end up being key for the Golden Knights.
"Getting points this time of year is big but that said, we're shooting for two, not one," Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez said, per the Associated Press. "There's something that we need to tighten up, some things we need to work on but we just got to focus on next game."
Vegas has enough winnable games down the stretch that it should be able to play its way into the playoffs. It can't afford too many missteps with only eight regular-season matchups to go, but the Golden Knights have a ton of talent on their roster, so that shouldn't be an issue, especially with the pressure on.
That's why Vegas will move up and secure a playoff spot, knocking out either Dallas or Los Angeles. The Golden Knights will build some late-season momentum to help keep their postseason streak alive.
Prediction: The Golden Knights will make the playoffs as a wild card