NHL Playoff Bracket Scenarios: Playoff, lottery seeds on the line on Monday

The two games on Sunday didn't do too much to solve our playoff and lottery mysteries. But there will be some significant fallout following the nine games on the schedule on Monday.

  • The Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning will wage the Battle of Florida in the first round, and tonight's game between them determines who gets home-ice advantage as the No. 2 seed. Florida holds a two-point lead, but if Tampa Bay wins in regulation, that will tie the standings points and the season series, and the Lightning have an edge in the regulation-wins tiebreaker. The Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators are locked in to their playoff matchup, and they'll stage another appetizer for that series tonight.

  • In the East, the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders continue to joust for the No. 3 seed. The Bruins have an extra game remaining, and the two clubs will play tonight in Boston. The B's have a one-point lead in the standings, but the Isles will win the season series regardless of tonight's result. An Isles win would make tomorrow night's Bruins-Washington Capitals game more meaningful, since the Caps are already locked in to the No. 2 seed.

  • Thanks to some COVID-19 postponements earlier this season, the West Division teams have some additional game days this week. The Vegas Golden Knights can clinch the division crown tonight with a win over the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs are also looking to fend off the idle Minnesota Wild for the No. 2 seed.

  • The North Division teams will continue their regular season the longest due to the Vancouver Canucks' extensive COVID-19 postponements, but we are closing in on finalizing our four playoff teams. It's simple enough for the Montreal Canadiens: win or lose in overtime or a shootout tonight, and they're in. Their game against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers is streaming live on ESPN+.

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

Pittsburgh Penguins - y

Points: 77
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: E1
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Washington Capitals - x

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: E2
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. BOS (May 11)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Boston Bruins - x

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: E3
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. NYI (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

New York Islanders - x

Points: 70
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: E4
Games left: 1
Next game: @ BOS (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

New York Rangers

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Philadelphia Flyers

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. NJ (May 10)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

New Jersey Devils

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Next game: @ PHI (May 10)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Buffalo Sabres

Points: 37
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Central Division

Carolina Hurricanes - y

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 1
Next game: @ NSH (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Florida Panthers - x

Points: 77
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. TB (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Tampa Bay Lightning - x

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 1
Next game: @ FLA (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Nashville Predators - x

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: C4
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. CAR (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Dallas Stars

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Next game: @ CHI (May 10)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Chicago Blackhawks

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. DAL (May 10)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Detroit Red Wings

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Columbus Blue Jackets

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 12
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


North Division

Toronto Maple Leafs - y

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: N1
Games left: 2
Next game: @ OTT (May 12)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Edmonton Oilers - x

Points: 68
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: N2
Games left: 3
Next game: @ MTL (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Winnipeg Jets - x

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N3
Games left: 3
Next game: vs. VAN (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Montreal Canadiens

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N4
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. EDM (May 10)
Playoff chances: 96.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Calgary Flames

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 4
Next game: vs. VAN (May 13)
Playoff chances: 3.1%
Tragic number: 1

Ottawa Senators

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 18
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. TOR (May 12)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Vancouver Canucks

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 7
Next game: @ WPG (May 10)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 1


West Division

Vegas Golden Knights - x

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: W1
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. COL (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Colorado Avalanche - x

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: W2
Games left: 3
Next game: @ VGS (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Minnesota Wild - x

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: W3
Games left: 2
Next game: @ STL (May 12)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

St. Louis Blues - x

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: W4
Games left: 3
Next game: @ LA (May 10)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Arizona Coyotes

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

San Jose Sharks

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. VGS (May 12)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Los Angeles Kings

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 3
Next game: vs. STL (May 10)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Anaheim Ducks

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Current playoff matchups

East Division

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

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: 37
Regulation wins: 11

2. Anaheim Ducks

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 11

3. Vancouver Canucks

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 14

4. New Jersey Devils

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 15

5. Columbus Blue Jackets

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 12

6. Detroit Red Wings

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 16

7. Los Angeles Kings

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 19

8. San Jose Sharks

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 15

9. Ottawa Senators

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 18

10. Calgary Flames

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 20

11. Chicago Blackhawks

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 15

12. Arizona Coyotes

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 19

13. Philadelphia Flyers

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 16

14. Dallas Stars

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 17

15. New York Rangers

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 24