NHL Playoff Watch Daily – Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, Calgary Flames in critical matchups

7:05 AM ET

Tim KavanaghESPN.com

CloseTim Kavanagh is a senior NHL editor for ESPN. He’s a native of upstate New York.

As the end of April nears, many teams around the NHL are down to a single-digit number of games remaining on the schedule. In other words, time is running out for clubs currently on the bubble to make a glorious run into playoff position. Three such teams chasing that dream will take the ice on Friday night, in the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and Calgary Flames.

The Blackhawks are three points behind the No. 4-seeded Nashville Predators, a team they’ll face Friday night at the United Center (streaming live on ESPN+). The bad news is that Nashville leads the season series 6-1; the good news is that the “1” came Wednesday night.

Chances for a playoff appearance by the Blueshirts are a little slimmer, as they’re eight points behind the Boston Bruins, and the B’s have two games in hand. But if such a run is possible, it’ll likely have to include a win Friday night against the Philadelphia Flyers. Philly is up 4-3 in the season series against New York, and tonight’s game is at Madison Square Garden, where the Flyers won 3-2 on Thursday night.

For the Flames, it’s a home matchup against the Montreal Canadiens, against whom they lead the season series 4-2. Similar to the Rangers’ situation, the Flames are eight points behind the Habs, so a win tonight is extra critical.

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 matchupsRace for No. 1 pick

East Divisionplay

0:24

David Pastrnak is given too much room and he makes the Sabres pay with a goal in the Bruins’ 5-1 win.

Points: 64Regulation wins: 24Playoff position: E1Games left: 9Next game: @ NYI (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 99.8%Tragic number: N/A

Points: 63Regulation wins: 23Playoff position: E2Games left: 9Next game: vs. NJ (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 99.9%Tragic number: N/A

2 Related

Points: 63Regulation wins: 21Playoff position: E3Games left: 9Next game: vs. WSH (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 99.1%Tragic number: N/A

Points: 60Regulation wins: 20Playoff position: E4Games left: 11Next game: @ BUF (Apr. 23)Playoff chances: 99%Tragic number: N/A

Points: 52Regulation wins: 20Playoff position: N/AGames left: 9Next game: vs. PHI (Apr. 23)Playoff chances: 2%Tragic number: 11

Points: 49Regulation wins: 14Playoff position: N/AGames left: 10Next game: @ NYR (Apr. 23)Playoff chances: 0.2%Tragic number: 9

Points: 34Regulation wins: 11Playoff position: N/AGames left: 10Next game: @ PIT (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 0%Tragic number: E

Points: 31Regulation wins: 9Playoff position: N/AGames left: 9Next game: vs. BOS (Apr. 23)Playoff chances: 0%Tragic number: E

Central Divisionplay

0:24

Sebastian Aho and Martin Necas exchange passes before Aho scores the first of two short-handed goals in Carolina’s 4-2 win over Florida.

Points: 67Regulation wins: 23Playoff position: C1Games left: 10Next game: @ FLA (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 100%Tragic number: N/A

Points: 65Regulation wins: 22Playoff position: C2Games left: 8Next game: vs. CAR (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 100%Tragic number: N/A

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Points: 64Regulation wins: 25Playoff position: C3Games left: 9Next game: vs. CBJ (Apr. 25)Playoff chances: 100%Tragic number: N/A

Points: 52Regulation wins: 17Playoff position: C4Games left: 8Next game: @ CHI (Apr. 23)Playoff chances: 49.7%Tragic number: N/A

Points: 50Regulation wins: 16Playoff position: N/AGames left: 10Next game: @ DET (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 43.6%Tragic number: 18

Points: 49Regulation wins: 14Playoff position: N/AGames left: 9Next game: vs. NSH (Apr. 23)Playoff chances: 6.7%Tragic number: 15

Points: 41Regulation wins: 15Playoff position: N/AGames left: 7Next game: vs. DAL (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 0%Tragic number: 3

Points: 39Regulation wins: 11Playoff position: N/AGames left: 7Next game: @ TB (Apr. 25)Playoff chances: 0%Tragic number: 1

North Divisionplay

0:21

Auston Matthews matches his jersey number with his 34th goal of the season in Toronto’s 5-3 win over Winnipeg.

Points: 63Regulation wins: 23Playoff position: N1Games left: 9Next game: @ WPG (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 100%Tragic number: N/A

Points: 57Regulation wins: 21Playoff position: N2Games left: 10Next game: vs. TOR (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 99.9%Tragic number: N/A

Points: 56Regulation wins: 25Playoff position: N3Games left: 11Next game: @ WPG (Apr. 26)Playoff chances: 99.4%Tragic number: N/A

A panel of NHL players, coaches, GMs and other front-office personnel ranked the best players at each position:

• Centers• Wingers• Defensemen• Goalies

Points: 49Regulation wins: 18Playoff position: N4Games left: 12Next game: @ CGY (Apr. 23)Playoff chances: 88.7%Tragic number: N/A

Points: 41Regulation wins: 16Playoff position: N/AGames left: 11Next game: vs. MTL (Apr. 23)Playoff chances: 8.5%Tragic number: 14

Points: 39Regulation wins: 12Playoff position: N/AGames left: 16Next game: vs. OTT (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 3.5%Tragic number: 22

Points: 38Regulation wins: 13Playoff position: N/AGames left: 9Next game: @ VAN (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 0%Tragic number: 7

West Divisionplay

0:33

Andre Burakovsky records two goals in the Avalanche’s 4-2 win over the Blues.

Points: 68Regulation wins: 26Playoff position: W1Games left: 10Next game: @ ANA (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 100%Tragic number: N/A

Points: 66Regulation wins: 28Playoff position: W2Games left: 12Next game: @ STL (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 100%Tragic number: N/A

Points: 61Regulation wins: 24Playoff position: W3Games left: 11Next game: @ LA (Apr. 23)Playoff chances: 100%Tragic number: N/A

Points: 45Regulation wins: 16Playoff position: W4Games left: 9Next game: @ LA (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 20.2%Tragic number: N/A

Points: 44Regulation wins: 13Playoff position: N/AGames left: 12Next game: vs. COL (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 39.7%Tragic number: 23

Points: 41Regulation wins: 12Playoff position: N/AGames left: 10Next game: vs. MIN (Apr. 24)Playoff chances: 6.3%Tragic number: 16

Points: 40Regulation wins: 15Playoff position: N/AGames left: 13Next game: vs. MIN (Apr. 23)Playoff chances: 33.8%Tragic number: 21

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

Current playoff matchupsEast Division

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

Central Division

No. 1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. No. 4 Nashville PredatorsNo. 2 Florida Panthers vs. No. 3 Tampa Bay Lightning

North Division

No. 1 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. No. 4 Montreal CanadiensNo. 2 Winnipeg Jets vs. No. 3 Edmonton Oilers

West Division

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

• Who will be the top pick this summer? »• Early top-32 prospect rankings »• How COVID-19 will impact evaluations »

Points: 31Regulation wins: 9

Points: 34Regulation wins: 11

Points: 35Regulation wins: 9

Points: 38Regulation wins: 13

Points: 39Regulation wins: 11

Points: 39Regulation wins: 12

Points: 40Regulation wins: 15

Points: 41Regulation wins: 12

Points: 41Regulation wins: 15

Points: 41Regulation wins: 16

Points: 44Regulation wins: 13

Points: 49Regulation wins: 14

Points: 49Regulation wins: 14

Points: 50Regulation wins: 16

Points: 52Regulation wins: 20

Published: 2021-04-23 14:37:50

Tags: #NHL #Playoff #Watch #Daily #Chicago #Blackhawks #York #Rangers #Calgary #Flames #critical #matchups

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