Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz: Predators try to close in on wild card spot
Flames can tie Jets; Oilers hope to take over 2nd in PacificNHL.com @NHLdotcom
Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily look at the races for the 2023 NHL postseason. There are 10 days left in the regular season and the races in each of the four divisions are tight. The top three teams in each of the four divisions and the next two highest-place finishers in each conference reach the playoffs.
Here is a look at the NHL standings and everything else that could impact the playoff picture.
Here are the Stanley Cup Playoffs clinching scenarios for April 4:
The Colorado Avalanche will clinch a playoff berth:
If they defeat the San Jose Sharks in any fashion (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, ALT, ESPN+, SN NOW).
If they get one point vs. the Sharks AND the Calgary Flames lose to the Chicago Blackhawks in any fashion (9 p.m. ET; SN360, NBCSCH, ESPN+, SN NOW).
If the Nashville Predators lose to the Vegas Golden Knights in any fashion (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN NOW) AND the Flames lose to the Blackhawks in regulation.
There are 11 games on the NHL schedule Tuesday, nine with playoff implications.
Buffalo Sabres at Florida Panthers (7 p.m. ET: BSFLX, MSG-B, ESPN+, SN NOW)
The Panthers (39-31-7) have won three in a row and can overtake the Pittsburgh Penguins (38-29-10) for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with a win and a Penguins regulation loss at the New Jersey Devils. The Sabres (37-31-7) have won two straight, are 4-0-1 in their past five games and could gain ground in the race. Buffalo has two games in hand on the Panthers and Penguins.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET; TSN4, BSOH, ESPN+, SN NOW)
The Maple Leafs (45-21-10) are second in the Atlantic Division and can stretch their four-point lead on the third-place Tampa Bay Lightning (45-26-6). The Blue Jackets (24-44-8) have been eliminated from playoff contention.
Ottawa Senators at Carolina Hurricanes: (7 p.m. ET; BSSO, TSN5, RDS2, ESPN+, SN NOW)
The Senators (37-34-6) are 4-4-2 in their past 10 but could end up four points behind the Penguins by the end of the night. The Hurricanes (49-18-9) have a three-point lead on the Devils (48-21-8) in the Metropolitan Division with one game in hand.
Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils (7 p.m. ET; SNW, SNP. TVAS, MSGSN, ATTSN-PT, ESPN+, SN NOW)
The Devils could end up within one point of the Hurricanes for first in the Metropolitan. The Penguins will try to maintain their lead for the second wild card in the East.
Vegas Golden Knights at Nashville Predators (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN NOW)
The Golden Knights (48-22-7) play the second of back-to-back games and could increase their three-point lead in the Pacific Division on the second-place Los Angeles Kings (45-22-10) and four-point lead on the third-place Edmonton Oilers (45-23-9). The Predators (38-30-8) can move within three points of the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card from the Western Conference.
Chicago Blackhawks at Calgary Flames (9 p.m. ET; SN360, NBCSCH, ESPN+, SN NOW)
The Flames (36-26-15), winners of four straight, can tie the Jets for the second wild card from the West. The Blackhawks (24-46-6) have lost eight in a row and have been eliminated from contention.
Seattle Kraken at Vancouver Canucks (10 p.m. ET; TVAS, SNP, ROOT-NW, ESPN+, SN NOW)
The Kraken (42-26-8) can tighten their hold on the first wild card in the West following their 8-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday. Seattle is three points ahead of Winnipeg with a game in hand. The Canucks (34-35-7) have been eliminated from contention.
Edmonton Oilers at Los Angeles Kings (10:30 p.m. ET; ESPN, SNW, SN NOW)
The Oilers look to leapfrog the Kings for second in the Pacific Division and extend their four-game winning streak. Los Angeles is 7-2-1 in its past 10.
Colorado Avalanche at San Jose Sharks (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, ALT, ESPN+, SN NOW)
The Avalanche (45-24-6) will try to make it a three-way tie for first in the Central Division with the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars, who each clinched a playoff berth Monday. The Sharks (22-39-15) have been eliminated from contention.
If playoffs started Tuesday
Here is a look at the matchups for the first round as they stand entering games Tuesday:
(1A) Boston Bruins vs. (WC2) Pittsburgh Penguins
(1M) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (WC1) New York Islanders
(2A) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (3A) Tampa Bay Lightning
(2M) New Jersey Devils vs. (3M) New York Rangers
(1P) Vegas Golden Knights vs. (WC2) Winnipeg Jets
(1C) Dallas Stars vs. (WC1) Seattle Kraken
(2C) Minnesota Wild vs. (3C) Colorado Avalanche
(2P) Los Angeles Kings vs. (3P) Edmonton Oilers
About last night
There were three games Monday, all with playoff implications:
Vegas Golden Knights 4, Minnesota Wild 3 (SO): The Wild clinched a postseason berth for the fourth straight season despite the shootout loss and moved into a tie with the Stars for first in the Central Division. Pavel Dorofeyev had his first multigoal game in the NHL, William Karlsson had two assists and Laurent Brossoit made 30 saves for the Golden Knights, who are 10-2-1 in their past 13 games.
Dallas Stars 5, Nashville Predators 1: Jason Robertson had four points to surpass 100 (101; 43 goals, 58 assists) and help the Stars clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He is the first player in Stars/Minnesota North Stars history to get 100 points in a season since Dino Ciccarelli had 103 in 1986-87. Cal Foote scored, and Juuse Saros made 21 saves for the Predators.
Seattle Kraken 8, Arizona Coyotes 1: The Kraken moved three points ahead of the Jets for the first wild card from the West. Lawson Crouse scored for the Coyotes (27-38-13), who have lost eight straight (0-6-2) and have been eliminated from playoff contention.