NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Montreal Canadiens look to extend their lead

The all-Canadian North Division has been fun to watch during the 2021 NHL season, featuring some of the NHL's most ancient rivalries that have been rejuvenated with a new collection of players.

The top end of the division appears pretty well set right now, with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets pretty much locked in to those top three spots. The Montreal Canadiens -- with a 79.3% chance at the playoffs, per Money Puck -- are currently fourth, and will look to extend their four-point lead over the Calgary Flames on Friday.

Friday's contest pits the Habs against the Jets (streaming live on ESPN+), and a win would knock Calgary's tragic number down to eight. The two clubs have finished their season series already, so there will be a lot of scoreboard watching in the next two weeks among those two fan bases.

Having reached the final stretch of the regular season, it's time to check in on all the playoff races -- along with the teams jockeying for position in the 2021 NHL draft lottery.

Note: Playoff chances are via Money Puck. Tragic numbers are courtesy of Damian Echevarrieta of the NHL.

Jump ahead:
Current playoff matchups
Race for No. 1 pick

East Division

Washington Capitals - x

Points: 69
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: E1
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. PIT (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Pittsburgh Penguins - x

Points: 69
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: E2
Games left: 5
Next game: @ WSH (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

New York Islanders

Points: 65
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: E3
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. NYR (May 1)
Playoff chances: 99.8%
Tragic number: N/A

Boston Bruins

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: E4
Games left: 7
Next game: vs. BUF (May 1)
Playoff chances: 99.8%
Tragic number: N/A

New York Rangers

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 5
Next game: @ NYI (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0.4%
Tragic number: 5

Philadelphia Flyers

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. NJ (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

New Jersey Devils

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 6
Next game: @ PHI (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Buffalo Sabres

Points: 33
Regulation wins: 10
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 5
Next game: @ BOS (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Central Division

Carolina Hurricanes - x

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. CBJ (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Florida Panthers - x

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 4
Next game: @ CHI (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Tampa Bay Lightning - x

Points: 70
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 6
Next game: @ DET (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Nashville Predators

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: C4
Games left: 5
Next game: vs. DAL (May 1)
Playoff chances: 68.6%
Tragic number: N/A

Dallas Stars

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 6
Next game: @ NSH (May 1)
Playoff chances: 30.7%
Tragic number: 10

Chicago Blackhawks

Points: 50
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. FLA (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0.7%
Tragic number: 6

Detroit Red Wings

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 4
Next game: vs. TB (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Columbus Blue Jackets

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 5
Next game: @ CAR (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


North Division

Toronto Maple Leafs - x

Points: 69
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: N1
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. VAN (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Edmonton Oilers

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N2
Games left: 8
Next game: vs. CGY (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Winnipeg Jets

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: N3
Games left: 7
Next game: @ MTL (April 30)
Playoff chances: 99.4%
Tragic number: N/A

Montreal Canadiens

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N4
Games left: 8
Next game: vs. WPG (April 30)
Playoff chances: 79.3%
Tragic number: N/A

Calgary Flames

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 7
Next game: @ EDM (May 1)
Playoff chances: 20.2%
Tragic number: 10

Ottawa Senators

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 6
Next game: @ MTL (May 1)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 3

Vancouver Canucks

Points: 41
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: @ TOR (May 1)
Playoff chances: 1.1%
Tragic number: 14


West Division

Vegas Golden Knights - x

Points: 72
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: W1
Games left: 8
Next game: @ ARI (April 30)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Colorado Avalanche - x

Points: 66
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: W2
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. SJ (April 30)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Minnesota Wild - x

Points: 66
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: W3
Games left: 7
Next game: vs. STL (May 1)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

St. Louis Blues

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: W4
Games left: 8
Next game: @ MIN (May 1)
Playoff chances: 94.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Arizona Coyotes

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. VGS (April 30)
Playoff chances: 3%
Tragic number: 7

San Jose Sharks

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 7
Next game: @ COL (April 30)
Playoff chances: 1.3%
Tragic number: 7

Los Angeles Kings

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Next game: @ ANA (April 30)
Playoff chances: 0.9%
Tragic number: 8

Anaheim Ducks

Points: 37
Regulation wins: 10
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. LA (April 30)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Current playoff matchups

East Division

No. 1 Washington Capitals vs. No. 4 Boston Bruins
No. 2 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 3 New York Islanders

Central Division

No. 1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. No. 4 Nashville Predators
No. 2 Florida Panthers vs. No. 3 Tampa Bay Lightning

North Division

No. 1 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. No. 4 Montreal Canadiens
No. 2 Edmonton Oilers vs. No. 3 Winnipeg Jets

West Division

No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 4 St. Louis Blues
No. 2 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 3 Minnesota Wild


Race for the No. 1 pick

The NHL uses a draft lottery to determine the order at the top of the first round, so the team that finishes in last place is not guaranteed the No. 1 selection. New for 2021, a team may move up a maximum of 10 spots if it wins the lottery, so only 11 teams are eligible for the draw for the No. 1 pick. Full details on the process can be found here.

1. Buffalo Sabres

Points: 33
Regulation wins: 10

2. Anaheim Ducks

Points: 37
Regulation wins: 10

3. New Jersey Devils

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 13

4. Vancouver Canucks

Points: 41
Regulation wins: 13

5. Columbus Blue Jackets

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 11

6. Ottawa Senators

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 15

7. Los Angeles Kings

Points: 42
Regulation wins: 16

8. Detroit Red Wings

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 15

9. San Jose Sharks

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 14

10. Arizona Coyotes

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 17

11. Calgary Flames

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 19

12. Chicago Blackhawks

Points: 50
Regulation wins: 14

13. Philadelphia Flyers

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 14

14. Dallas Stars

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 16

15. New York Rangers

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 23