Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily look at the races for the 2022 NHL postseason. There are 19 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.
There is one game on the NHL schedule Monday, and it has playoff implications.
Winnipeg Jets at Montreal Canadiens (7 pm ET; NHLN, SN, RDS, NHL LIVE)
The Jets come off a 4-3 win at the Ottawa Senators on Sunday that ended a four-game skid (0-3-1) and complete their back-to-back set at Bell Center. Winnipeg can move to within five points of the Dallas Stars for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference but will be without center Mark Scheifele, who sustained an upper-body injury during the second period and did not return against Ottawa. The Canadiens, 2-4-1 in their past seven, have been eliminated from playoff contention.
If playoffs started Monday
Here is a look at the matchups for the first round as they stand entering games Monday:
(1A) Florida Panthers (WC2) Washington Capitals
(1M) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (WC1) Boston Bruins
(2A) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (3A) Tampa Bay Lightning
(2M) New York Rangers vs. (3M) Pittsburgh Penguins
(1C) Colorado Avalanche (WC2) Dallas Stars
(1P) Calgary Flames vs. (WC1) Nashville Predators
(2C) Minnesota Wild vs. (3C) St. Louis Blues
(2P) Edmonton Oilers vs. (3P) Los Angeles Kings
About last night
There were seven games Sunday, each with playoff implications:
Washington Capitals 4, Boston Bruins 2: The Capitals won their third straight and remain four points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Washington is 15 points ahead of the New York Islanders for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. The Bruins fell to the first wild card from the East and trail the Tampa Bay Lightning by one point for third in the Atlantic Division.
Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Nashville Predators 2 (OT): Sidney Crosby scored in overtime to help the Penguins win. Crosby became the 22nd NHL player to reach 1,400 regular-season points and did so in his 1,100th game. Pittsburgh ended a four-game losing streak and moved to within six points of the New York Rangers for second in the Metropolitan. The Predators hold the first wild card from the Western Conference, one point ahead of the Stars, who are the second wild card from the West. Nashville is seven points back of the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild for third in the Central Division.
Minnesota Wild 6, Los Angeles Kings 3: The Wild, who are 10-1-2 in their past 13, scored six unanswered goals and moved into a tie with the Blues for second place in the Central. The Kings blew a 3-0 lead and have lost three in a row. They remain third in the Pacific Division, four points back of the second-place Edmonton Oilers and two points ahead of the fourth-place Vegas Golden Knights.
Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Buffalo Sabers 0: Brian Elliott made 28 saves for the shutout and the Lightning moved into third place in the Atlantic, one point ahead of the Bruins and four points behind the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs. The win ended Tampa Bay’s four-game skid (0-2-2). The Sabers, who have lost three straight, have been eliminated from playoff contention.
Carolina Hurricanes 5, Anaheim Ducks 2: Jordan Staal‘s third hat trick in the NHL sparked the Hurricanes to the win and helped them regain sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan, two points ahead of the New York Rangers. The Ducks, 2-11-3 in their past 16, were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday.
Dallas Stars 6, Chicago Blackhawks 4: Jason Robertson scored two goals for the Stars, who moved two points ahead of the Golden Knights for the second wild card from the West, and within one point of the Predators for the first wild card. The Blackhawks have been eliminated from playoff contention.
Winnipeg Jets 4, Ottawa Senators 3: Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and two assists and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored his 100th NHL goal to help the Jets stay within seven points of the Stars for the second wild card from the West. The Senators have lost three in a row and have been eliminated from playoff contention.