NHL playoff watch: The Wild’s path to win the West

NHL

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The Minnesota Wild are a first-place hockey team heading into Monday night’s game against the Seattle Kraken (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+/Hulu). But might they have their sights set even higher?

There is quite a jumble atop the Western Conference, and leading into the Monday slate, the Wild (93 points, 30 regulation wins) are five points and four regulation wins behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the conference’s No. 1 playoff seed. The Los Angeles Kings are next (96, 33), followed by the Dallas Stars (92, 32), Colorado Avalanche (92, 30), and Edmonton Oilers (91, 37).

Based purely on strength of schedule, the Stars still have the easiest path, but the Wild have two pivotal upcoming games if they want to catch Vegas: They’ll play a home-and-home against the Knights on April 1 (in Vegas) and April 3 (in St. Paul). That pair of games will tell us a lot.

As we enter the final stretch of the regular season, it’s time to check all the playoff races — along with the teams jockeying for position in the 2023 NHL draft lottery.

Note: Playoff chances are via FiveThirtyEight.

Jump ahead:
Current playoff matchups
Today’s games
Last night’s scores
Expanded standings
Race for No. 1 pick

Current playoff matchups

Eastern Conference

A1 Boston Bruins vs. WC2 Pittsburgh Penguins
A2 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. A3 Tampa Bay Lightning
M1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. WC1 New York Islanders
M2 New Jersey Devils vs. M3 New York Rangers

Western Conference

C1 Minnesota Wild vs. WC1 Seattle Kraken
C2 Colorado Avalanche vs. C3 Dallas Stars
P1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. WC2 Winnipeg Jets
P2 Los Angeles Kings vs. P3 Edmonton Oilers


Monday’s games

Note: All times Eastern. All games not on ESPN, TNT or NHL Network are available via NHL Power Play, which is included in an ESPN+ subscription (local blackout restrictions apply).

Montreal Canadiens at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m.
Florida Panthers at Ottawa Senators, 7 p.m.
New Jersey Devils at New York Islanders, 7:30 p.m.
Seattle Kraken at Minnesota Wild, 8 p.m. (ESPN+/Hulu)
Colorado Avalanche at Anaheim Ducks, 10 p.m.
Edmonton Oilers at Arizona Coyotes, 10 p.m.


Sunday’s scoreboard

Watch “In the Crease” on ESPN+ for highlights from every game.

Colorado Avalanche 4, Arizona Coyotes 3 (SO)
Boston Bruins 4, Carolina Hurricanes 3 (SO)
Vancouver Canucks 4, Chicago Blackhawks 2
Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Nashville Predators 2
Los Angeles Kings 7, St. Louis Blues 6


Expanded standings

Atlantic Division

Points: 119
Regulation wins: 49
Playoff position: A1
Games left: 9
Points pace: 134
Next game: vs. NSH (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 97
Regulation wins: 37
Playoff position: A2
Games left: 9
Points pace: 109
Next game: vs. FLA (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 90
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: A3
Games left: 8
Points pace: 100
Next game: @ CAR (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Points pace: 89
Next game: @ OTT (Monday)
Playoff chances: 37%
Tragic number: 16

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Points pace: 87
Next game: vs. MTL (Monday)
Playoff chances: 7%
Tragic number: 15

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Points pace: 84
Next game: vs. FLA (Monday)
Playoff chances: 2%
Tragic number: 12

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Points pace: 81
Next game: vs. PIT (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 10

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Points pace: 72
Next game: @ BUF (Monday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 1


Metropolitan Division

Points: 103
Regulation wins: 35
Playoff position: M1
Games left: 10
Points pace: 117
Next game: vs. TB (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 100
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: M2
Games left: 9
Points pace: 112
Next game: @ NYI (Monday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 96
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: M3
Games left: 9
Points pace: 108
Next game: vs. CBJ (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 83
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 8
Points pace: 92
Next game: vs. NJ (Monday)
Playoff chances: 74%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 82
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 9
Points pace: 92
Next game: @ DET (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 78%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 8
Points pace: 84
Next game: vs. NYI (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 11

Points: 68
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Points pace: 77
Next game: vs. MTL (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 7

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Points pace: 60
Next game: @ NYR (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Central Division

Points: 93
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 9
Points pace: 105
Next game: vs. SEA (Monday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 92
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 10
Points pace: 105
Next game: @ ANA (Monday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 92
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 9
Points pace: 103
Next game: @ CHI (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 85
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 8
Points pace: 94
Next game: @ SJ (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 78%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Points pace: 91
Next game: @ BOS (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 9%
Tragic number: 16

Points: 72
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Points pace: 81
Next game: vs. VAN (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 6

Points: 67
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 8
Points pace: 74
Next game: vs. EDM (Monday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Points pace: 61
Next game: vs. DAL (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Pacific Division

Points: 98
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: P1
Games left: 9
Points pace: 110
Next game: vs. EDM (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 96
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: P2
Games left: 9
Points pace: 108
Next game: @ CGY (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 91
Regulation wins: 37
Playoff position: P3
Games left: 9
Points pace: 102
Next game: @ ARI (Monday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 88
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 10
Points pace: 100
Next game: @ MIN (Monday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 81
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 8
Points pace: 90
Next game: vs. LA (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 14%
Tragic number: 13

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Points pace: 82
Next game: @ STL (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 7

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Points pace: 63
Next game: vs. COL (Monday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Points pace: 60
Next game: vs. WPG (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Y — Clinched division; X — Clinched playoff berth; E — Eliminated from playoff contention


Race for the No. 1 pick

The NHL uses a draft lottery to determine the order of the first round, so the team that finishes in last place is not guaranteed the No. 1 selection. As of 2021, a team might 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. Sitting No. 1 on the draft board for this summer is Connor Bedard, who has been lauded as a generational talent.

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 20

Points: 67
Regulation wins: 20

Points: 68
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 24

Points: 72
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 22

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 28

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 26

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 27

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 31

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 26

Points: 81
Regulation wins: 27

*Notes on traded picks impacting the top 16:

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