NHL Playoff Bracket Scenarios: Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche in focus on Wednesday

We've reached the final three games to determine the winner of the West Division and the Presidents' Trophy for the team with the best regular season record for the 2021 NHL season.

The Vegas Golden Knights have a two-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche, and the two teams split the season series 4-4; if the teams tie in standings points, it will go to regulation wins, where the Avs have the edge.

Vegas' final game is Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks (streaming live on ESPN+). The Golden Knights have won all seven previous games against the Sharks this season, but that just means San Jose is due for a win, right?

Meanwhile, the Avs will host the Los Angeles Kings (also streaming live on ESPN+). The Kings have taken one game in the season series, but it was all the way back on Jan. 21. The two teams will face off again Thursday night.

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 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: 77
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: E2
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Boston Bruins - x

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: E3
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

New York Islanders - x

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: E4
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
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: 58
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

New Jersey Devils

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
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: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Florida Panthers - x

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Tampa Bay Lightning - x

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Nashville Predators - x

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: C4
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Dallas Stars

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Chicago Blackhawks

Points: 55
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Next game: N/A
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: 70
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: N2
Games left: 2
Next game: @ MTL (May 12)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Winnipeg Jets - x

Points: 61
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: N3
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. TOR (May 14)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Montreal Canadiens - x

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N4
Games left: 1
Next game: vs. EDM (May 12)
Playoff chances: 100%
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: 0%
Tragic number: E

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: 45
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 5
Next game: @ CGY (May 13)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


West Division

Vegas Golden Knights - x

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: W1
Games left: 1
Next game: @ SJ (May 12)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Colorado Avalanche - x

Points: 78
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: W2
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. LA (May 12)
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: 59
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: W4
Games left: 2
Next game: vs. MIN (May 12)
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

Los Angeles Kings

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Next game: @ COL (May 12)
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

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: 45
Regulation wins: 15

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. San Jose Sharks

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 15

8. Ottawa Senators

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 18

9. Los Angeles Kings

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 19

10. Calgary Flames

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 20

11. Arizona Coyotes

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 19

12. Chicago Blackhawks

Points: 55
Regulation wins: 15

13. Philadelphia Flyers

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 17

14. Dallas Stars

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 17

15. New York Rangers

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 24