NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Blackhawks face critical matchup against Predators

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Blackhawks face critical matchup against Predators

There was a time earlier in the 2021 NHL season when it looked like the Chicago Blackhawks had arrived back on the scene as a legitimate playoff contender. The young wave had injected energy, guided by veterans of the dynastic era like Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith.

Chicago has drifted back a bit since then. While the Blackhawks’ playoff hopes remain mathematically alive, they need to start stringing together more wins, as they’ve gone 5-5-0 in their past 10. They have a chance to make up some ground on Wednesday night as they welcome the Nashville Predators to the United Center. Unfortunately, this is perhaps the wrong opponent against which to start a big rally; the Preds have won all six matchups in the season series, with an overall goal differential of 19-8.

As we enter 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

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0:31

Josh Bailey notches a pair of goals in the Islanders’ 6-1 thrashing of the Rangers.

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: E1
Games left: 10
Next game: @ NYI (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 99.1%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: E2
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. WSH (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 98.5%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 61
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: E3
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. NJ (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 99.5%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: E4
Games left: 12
Next game: @ BUF (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 95.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. PHI (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 6.8%
Tragic number: 15

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Next game: @ NYR (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 0.2%
Tragic number: 11

Points: 34
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Next game: @ PIT (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 31
Regulation wins: 9
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. BOS (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Central Division

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0:37

Sam Bennett tallies two goals in the Panthers’ 5-1 rout of the Blue Jackets.

Points: 65
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 11
Next game: @ FLA (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 65
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. CAR (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. CBJ (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: C4
Games left: 9
Next game: @ CHI (Apr. 21)
Playoff chances: 36.6%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 50
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Next game: @ DET (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 59.3%
Tragic number: 21

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. NSH (Apr. 21)
Playoff chances: 4.1%
Tragic number: 16

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 8
Next game: vs. DAL (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 4

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 8
Next game: @ TB (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 4


North Division

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0:49

Tanner Pearson’s two goals fuel the Canucks to a 6-3 win vs. the Maple Leafs.

Points: 61
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N1
Games left: 10
Next game: @ WPG (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: N2
Games left: 11
Next game: vs. TOR (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N3
Games left: 12
Next game: vs. MTL (Apr. 21)
Playoff chances: 99.6%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N4
Games left: 13
Next game: @ EDM (Apr. 21)
Playoff chances: 78.2%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 41
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Next game: vs. MTL (Apr. 23)
Playoff chances: 12.7%
Tragic number: 16

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 12
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 17
Next game: vs. OTT (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 9.7%
Tragic number: 26

Points: 36
Regulation wins: 12
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: @ VAN (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 9


West Division

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0:30

Anze Kopitar’s goal in the second period all but seals the game for the Kings.

Points: 66
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: W1
Games left: 11
Next game: vs. SJ (Apr. 21)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: W2
Games left: 13
Next game: @ STL (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: W3
Games left: 12
Next game: @ ARI (Apr. 21)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: W4
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. MIN (Apr. 21)
Playoff chances: 29.6%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. COL (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 39.6%
Tragic number: 25

Points: 41
Regulation wins: 12
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Next game: @ VGS (Apr. 21)
Playoff chances: 8.8%
Tragic number: 18

Points: 40
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. MIN (Apr. 23)
Playoff chances: 22%
Tragic number: 21

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 9
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. VGS (Apr. 24)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 8


Current playoff matchups

East Division

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

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 Winnipeg Jets vs. No. 3 Edmonton Oilers

West Division

No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 4 Arizona Coyotes
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.

Points: 31
Regulation wins: 9

Points: 34
Regulation wins: 11

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 9

Points: 36
Regulation wins: 12

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 11

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 12

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 40
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 41
Regulation wins: 12

Points: 41
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 50
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 20