NHL Playoff Standings 2022: Current Bracket Matchups and Postseason Picture

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2022

NHL Playoff Standings 2022: Current Bracket Matchups and Postseason Picture

0 of 4

    Reinhold Matay/Associated Press

    Only one spot remains in the NHL playoff picture as the final week of the 2021-22 regular season nears its end.

    Tuesday night, both the Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators locked up their playoff berths. Los Angeles sealed a bid thanks to the Vegas Golden Knights losing in a shootout, and that result also confirmed the Preds' spot after they managed a point from an overtime loss.

    As a result, the Western Conference now has seven of its eight postseason qualifiers known. While the Eastern Conference's representatives are settled, the order is unclear.

    Heading into Wednesday's action, we're resetting the playoff picture with the matchups based on the current standings.

Current Eastern Conference Matchups

1 of 4

    Karl B DeBlaker/Associated Press

    A1 vs. WC2: Florida Panthers vs. Washington Capitals

    Thanks to a recent 13-game winning streak, the Florida Panthers clinched both the Atlantic Division crown and the best record in the Eastern Conference. Florida is locked into this matchup, which will officially be opposite the second wild-card team. The current opponent is the Washington Capitals, though they have a game in hand on the Pittsburgh Penguins and only trail them by a point.


    M1 vs. WC1: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Boston Bruins

    After a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday, the Carolina Hurricanes celebrated a Metropolitan Division title. They'll take on the first wild-card team in the opening round. Although the Boston Bruins are expected to wind up here, they could overtake the Tampa Bay Lightning with a perfect sequence of results.


    A2 vs. A3: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

    We know the Toronto Maple Leafs will be a part of this series. Whether it's as the No. 2 or 3 seed is contingent on their finish and the Lightning, which hold a three-point edge on the Boston Bruins.


    M2 vs. M3: New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

    Tuesday's loss to Carolina locked in the Rangers as the second team from the Metropolitan Division. Now, they're waiting on either the Penguins or Capitals.

Current Western Conference Matchups

2 of 4

    Andy Devlin/Getty Images

    C1 vs. WC2: Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars

    Shortly before Florida wrapped up the East, the Colorado Avalanche secured both the Central Division and No. 1 spot in the Western Conference. As of today, the Avs must be ready for a showdown with the rival Dallas Stars. However, the Predators and Golden Knights remain in play for Colorado.


    P1 vs. WC1: Calgary Flames vs. Nashville Predators

    While the Calgary Flames are fastened here as Pacific Division champions, either the Predators or Stars will be their opening-round opponent. Due to tiebreaker rules, Vegas is not an option.


    C2 vs. C3: Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues

    This one is settled other than seeding. As the Minnesota Wild entered Tuesday's action without a regulation loss in 10 straight games, the St. Louis Blues' run featured 16 in a row. Both streaks ended, but the Wild and Blues are sizzling their way into the playoffs.


    P2 vs P3: Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings

    The newest member of the 100-point club, the Edmonton Oilers downed Pittsburgh 5-1 to seal the No. 2 spot in the Pacific Division. Additionally, the Golden Knights' loss slammed the mathematical door closed on jumping Los Angeles for No. 3. This series, like its Central Division counterpart, is official.

Eastern Conference Postseason Picture

3 of 4

    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    The biggest story in the Eastern Conference is the wild-card order.

    On paper, Pittsburgh has a slight edge on Washington. Despite that game in hand for the Capitals, they finish the regular season on road ice against the New York Islanders and Rangers. Picking up three points legitimately would be a great finish.

    Conversely, though, the Penguins are at home opposite the reeling Columbus Blue Jackets, which have dropped 13 of their last 17 games and play Tampa the night before this matchup.

    Pittsburgh would have the tiebreaker on Washington, so toppling Columbus should put the Penguins in an excellent spot.

    Boston has a mathematical path to leaping the Lightning. But if Tampa defeats either the Blue Jackets or Islanders, or Boston loses once in regulation, the Bruins will be the first wild-card team.

Western Conference Postseason Picture

4 of 4

    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    After a late-season surge, the Vancouver Canucks formally exited the playoff discussion on Tuesday night. And now, the Golden Knights are hanging by a thread.

    Vegas entered the third period with a 2-1 lead on Dallas but quickly ceded the tying goal. After a scoreless overtime, the shootout went to a seventh round. Miro Heiskanen found the net for the Stars, and William Karlsson could not answer.

    As a result, the Knights' lone path to the playoff demands two wins along with Dallas losing twice in regulation. Considering the Stars take on the vacation-bound Arizona Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks to close the regular season, that's not likely.

    The main race is between the Preds and Stars, who both hold 95 points with two games remaining. But as Nashville wraps up the year against Arizona, the Predators first travel to Colorado.

    Nashville holds the tiebreaker. Dallas has the schedule edge. Winner avoids the Avs in the opening round.