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NHL Playoff Picture: Rangers Atop Standings, Not Odds

Five Teams Eliminated from Postseason Contention

Time is running short for NHL teams eyeing spots in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Seven teams have already clinched postseason berths while five teams have been eliminated so that leaves 20 teams fighting it out for nine spots. The NHL odds figure to change over the final two weeks of the regular season.

Edmonton has played the fewest games in the NHL with the Oilers having 10 games remaining.

NHL Playoff Picture: Rangers Atop Standings, Not Odds
Vincent Trocheck #16 of the New York Rangers/Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

Five of the nine teams with the best odds to win the Presidents’ Trophy have clinched spots in the playoffs. The only team in that group not currently in playoff position is the New Jersey Devils.

When looking at the NHL futures odds, Carolina and Florida, a pair of teams in second place in their respective divisions, currently have the best odds to win the Stanley Cup followed by Colorado and Edmonton.

Let’s take a look at the playoff picture with just over two weeks left in the regular season.


Eye On the Prize

It has been a while since there have been so many contenders to win the Presidents’ Trophy and earn home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs this late in the season.

The New York Rangers lead the NHL with 104 points with eight games left to play. Dallas is at 103 points with seven games remaining.




Boston and Carolina each have 101 points, Colorado and Vancouver are at 100 points with Florida at 99 points.

Colorado and Vancouver are the only teams with a realistic chance to finish with the most points in the NHL who will play on the final day of the regular season, so perhaps the Presidents’ Trophy race will not come down to the final day.


A Look at the Division Races

Vancouver is in the best position among the current division leaders as the Canucks lead Edmonton by two points. However, the Oilers do have two games in hand on the Canucks. The teams will play on April 13.

With a seven-game winning streak, Dallas has opened up a three-point lead on Colorado in the Central Division. The Avalanche has eight games left, one more than Dallas. Sunday’s matchup between Colorado and Dallas might have a huge impact on which team wins the division.

The Rangers are up on Carolina by three points with a game in hand in the Metropolitan Division.

Toronto had the best odds to win the Atlantic Division title when the season began, according to the BetUS sportsbook odds. However, it would be quite an accomplishment for Toronto to catch Boston or Florida.

The Bruins lead the Panthers by two points atop the Atlantic Division with the Panthers having one more game than the Bruins. The teams meet on Saturday in a nationally televised game.


Get Out the Golf Clubs

Anaheim, Arizona, Chicago, Columbus, and San Jose have already been eliminated from playoff contention.

Montreal is likely to be the next team to be eliminated with Ottawa, Seattle, and Calgary not far behind.

Teams aren’t blatantly tanking this season as they did last year in an attempt to secure the rights to Connor Bedard, but it will be many of the same teams vying for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.


Things Getting Wild

The playoff format is the same with the top three teams in each division earning playoff spots along with two wild-card teams in each conference.

Tampa Bay holds down the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with a nine-point lead to work with after going 8-1-1 in the last 10 games.

Philadelphia holds down the final spot in the East but Detroit is just two points behind. Time is running out for the Islanders, Devils, Penguins and Sabres to make a run at a postseason berth. The NHL betting line has the Islanders at +285 to make the playoffs.

Things are a little clearer in the Western Conference with Nashville and Los Angeles the likely wild card teams.

St. Louis is five points behind Los Angeles with Minnesota eight points back. The Wild could have been seven points out of a playoff spot but when Minnesota pulled its goalie in overtime, the Wild lost the point it would have earned by taking Vegas into overtime.


A Look at the Bracket

If the playoffs began today, this is how things would look. In the Eastern Conference, it would be the Philadelphia Flyers meeting the New York Rangers, the Tampa Bay Lightning going up against the Boston Bruins with Toronto-Florida and Washington-Carolina the other first-round series.

In the West, Dallas would face Los Angeles, Vancouver would draw Nashville with the other two series being Winnipeg-Colorado and Vegas-Edmonton, with the reigning Stanley Cup winners from Vegas opening the title defense on the road. The Golden Knights are +1200 to repeat in Las Vegas NHL odds.



Questions Of The Day

Which NHL team has the best ATS record this season?

The Montreal Canadiens are 47-26 against the spread this season with the Philadelphia Flyers next at 46-28.

Who is the last team to win the President’s Trophy and the Stanley Cup title in the same season?

The 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks not only had the most points in the NHL during the regular season, they also won the Stanley Cup. None of the previous 10 Presidents’ Trophy winners have reached the Stanley Cup Final.


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