NHL Playoff Picture 2022: Bracket Standings, Wild-Card Race Before Final Games

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIApril 29, 2022

NHL Playoff Picture 2022: Bracket Standings, Wild-Card Race Before Final Games

0 of 3

    LM Otero/Associated Press

    The 16-team field for this year's Stanley Cup playoffs is set. However, the bracket has not yet been finalized, so the final games of the regular season could still have an impact on the upcoming first-round matchups.

    There isn't a ton that can change, though, after the Dallas Stars became the final team to clinch a postseason berth when they earned a point for their overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday. The Stars had been battling with the Vegas Golden Knights for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, but Dallas notched a key shootout victory over Vegas on Tuesday.

    The majority of NHL teams will play their final regular-season games on Friday. The Seattle Kraken and Winnipeg Jets will face off Sunday, then the postseason gets underway Monday.

    With the regular season nearly over, here's a look at the current NHL standings and postseason picture.

Current NHL Standings

1 of 3

    Andre Ringuette/Getty Images

    Eastern Conference

    1. z-Florida Panthers: 122 points

    2. y-Carolina Hurricanes: 116

    3. x-Toronto Maple Leafs: 113

    4. x-New York Rangers: 108

    5. x-Tampa Bay Lightning: 108

    6. x-Boston Bruins: 107

    7. x-Pittsburgh Penguins: 101

    8. x-Washington Capitals: 100

    9. e-New York Islanders: 84

    10. e-Columbus Blue Jackets: 81

    11. e-Buffalo Sabres: 73

    12. e-Detroit Red Wings: 72

    13. e-Ottawa Senators: 71

    14. e-New Jersey Devils: 63

    15. e-Philadelphia Flyers: 61

    16. e-Montreal Canadiens: 53

         

    Western Conference

    1. z-Colorado Avalanche: 119 points

    2. y-Calgary Flames: 111

    3. x-Minnesota Wild: 111

    4. x-St. Louis Blues: 109

    5. x-Edmonton Oilers: 102

    6. x-Los Angeles Kings: 99

    7. x-Nashville Predators: 97

    8. x-Dallas Stars: 96

    9. e-Vegas Golden Knights: 92

    10. e-Vancouver Canucks: 91

    11. e-Winnipeg Jets: 85

    12. e-San Jose Sharks: 77

    13. e-Anaheim Ducks: 76

    14. e-Chicago Blackhawks: 67

    15. e-Seattle Kraken: 58

    16. e-Arizona Coyotes: 55

         

    x-clinched playoff berth.

    y-clinched division title.

    z-clinched best record in conference.

    e-eliminated from playoff contention.

Eastern Conference Bracket

2 of 3

    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    No. 1 Florida Panthers vs. No. 8 Washington Capitals

    No. 2 Carolina Hurricanes vs. No. 7 Boston Bruins

    No. 3 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. No. 6 Tampa Bay Lightning

    No. 4 New York Rangers vs. No. 5 Pittsburgh Penguins

    The Panthers and Hurricanes are locked into the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds, respectively, but neither team knows its first-round playoff opponent yet. However, it's a guarantee that they'll be playing the two wild cards from the Eastern Conference.

    In the Metropolitan Division, the Capitals trail the Penguins by one point for third place. Washington has a road matchup against the Rangers on Friday, when Pittsburgh will take on the Blue Jackets at home.

    Neither the Caps nor the Penguins are going to want to end up in fourth in their division, because that will come with a first-round series against the Panthers, who just won the Presidents' Trophy for the first time in the franchise's history. Meanwhile, the team that ends up in third in the division will go on to play the Rangers, a much more favorable matchup.

    In the Atlantic Division, the Bruins trail the Lightning by one point for third place. Boston still has a road matchup against the Maple Leafs, while Tampa Bay is facing the Islanders on the road.

    The team that ends up with the fewest points between the Lightning and Bruins will face the Hurricanes in the first round. The one with more points will take on the Maple Leafs.

    So even though the Panthers, Hurricanes, Maple Leafs and Rangers all know that they'll each have home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, none of them know who they'll be facing yet. And Tampa Bay could be the one lower seed that teams want to avoid. The Lightning have won the Stanley Cup each of the past two years and know what it takes to make deep postseason runs.

Western Conference Bracket

3 of 3

    LM Otero/Associated Press

    No. 1 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 8 Dallas Stars

    No. 2 Calgary Flames vs. No. 7 Nashville Predators

    No. 3 Minnesota Wild vs. No. 6 St. Louis Blues

    No. 4 Edmonton Oilers vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Kings

    The Pacific Division is locked in, with the Flames, Oilers and Kings secured into the top three spots. That means Calgary will be the No. 2 seed and face a wild card, while Edmonton and Los Angeles will face off in the first round of the playoffs.

    It'll be the first time that the Oilers and Kings will meet in the postseason since 1992. The Oilers won three of the four regular-season meetings between the two teams.

    As for the Flames, they won't know their first-round opponent until the wild-card race is sorted out. The Predators and Stars will be the two West wild cards, but it's not yet known which one will be the No. 7 seed and which will be the No. 8.

    Dallas trails Nashville by one point. The Predators have a road matchup against the Coyotes still to play, while the Stars will be hosting the Ducks. Whichever team finishes with fewer points will have a difficult first-round matchup against the top-seeded Avalanche.

    The Wild and Blues will be playing in the first round of the playoffs, but it hasn't been decided which team will have the home-ice advantage. Minnesota has two more points than St. Louis, but if the teams end up tied, the edge will go to the Blues.

    To close out the regular season, the Wild will host the Avalanche and the Blues will host the Golden Knights. Then, Minnesota and St. Louis will face off in the postseason for the first time since 2017.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.


X