NHL playoff watch: How the final wild card can be won Tuesday

Sports

A certain sequence of events had to happen on Monday night for four teams to remain in the running for the second Eastern wild card — and that sequence of events occurred.

So where do things stand heading into Tuesday? It’s a little complicated! But here is the path to the postseason for the Washington Capitals (89 points), Detroit Red Wings (89), Pittsburgh Penguins (88) and Philadelphia Flyers (87).

  • The Capitals control their own destiny. A win over the Flyers (7 p.m. ET, NHL Power Play on ESPN+) would give them 91 points, and they hold the regulation wins tiebreaker over the Red Wings, the only other club of these four that can get to 91.

  • Detroit’s path includes a win over the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET, NHL Power Play on ESPN+) and a loss of some variety for the Capitals (either regulation or in overtime/shootout). The Wings lose the RW tiebreaker to any of the remaining four teams.

  • The max total for the Penguins is 90, but if they finish tied with the Caps and Wings at that total (or at 89, with an OT/SO loss in their final game), they are in thanks to the RW tiebreaker. Accordingly, they are fans of the Canadiens and Flyers (yikes) on Tuesday night. Game No. 82 for Pittsburgh is Wednesday against the New York Islanders, who have clinched the No. 3 spot in the Metro Division.

The Flyers can get in, but it is complicated.

Philly must beat Washington in regulation, and the Wings and Penguins must lose their games in regulation. This gives the Flyers, Caps and Wings all 89 points, and the Penguins 88. The Wings are out due to the RW tiebreaker, and the Caps and Flyers go to a fifth tiebreaker:

  • Regulation wins: Tied 31-31 in this scenario

  • Regulation wins plus OT wins: Tied 35-35

  • Total wins: Tied 39-39

  • Head-to-head points: (they did not play an even number of games: with one or more of the other tied clubs, the first game played in the city that has the extra game shall not be included) Tied 2-2

  • Greater goal differential: Philly is ahead -25 to -38

Got all that? Tuesday night should be another wild one, with the Atlantic Division title on the line as well, and the Vancouver Canucks looking to close things out in the Pacific.

Note: Playoff chances are via Stathletes.

Jump ahead:
Current playoff matchups
Tuesday’s schedule
Monday’s scores
Expanded standings
Race for No. 1 pick

Current playoff matchups

Eastern Conference

A1 Boston Bruins vs. WC1 Tampa Bay Lightning
A2 Florida Panthers vs. A3 Toronto Maple Leafs
M1 New York Rangers vs. WC2 Washington Capitals
M2 Carolina Hurricanes vs. M3 New York Islanders

Western Conference

C1 Dallas Stars vs. WC2 Vegas Golden Knights
C2 Winnipeg Jets vs. C3 Colorado Avalanche
P1 Vancouver Canucks vs. WC1 Nashville Predators
P2 Edmonton Oilers vs. P3 Los Angeles Kings


Tuesday’s games

Note: All times ET. All games not on TNT or NHL Network are available via NHL Power Play, which is included in an ESPN+ subscription (local blackout restrictions apply).

Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m.
Detroit Red Wings at Montreal Canadiens, 7 p.m.
Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m.
Carolina Hurricanes at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Florida Panthers, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Seattle Kraken at Winnipeg Jets, 8 p.m.
Chicago Blackhawks at Vegas Golden Knights, 10 p.m. (ESPN+/Hulu)
Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. (ESPN+/Hulu)


Monday’s scoreboard

Detroit Red Wings 5, Montreal Canadiens 4 (OT)
Buffalo Sabres 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 2
New York Islanders 4, New Jersey Devils 1
Pittsburgh Penguins 4, Nashville Predators 2
Washington Capitals 2, Boston Bruins 0
New York Rangers 4, Ottawa Senators 0
Edmonton Oilers 9, San Jose Sharks 2
Minnesota Wild 3, Los Angeles Kings 1


Expanded standings

Atlantic Division

Points: 109
Regulation wins: 36
Playoff position: A1
Games left: 1
Points pace: 110
Next game: vs. OTT (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 108
Regulation wins: 41
Playoff position: A2
Games left: 1
Points pace: 109
Next game: vs. TOR (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 102
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: A3
Games left: 2
Points pace: 105
Next game: @ FLA (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 96
Regulation wins: 36
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 1
Points pace: 97
Next game: vs. TOR (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 89
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Points pace: 90
Next game: @ MTL (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 65.7%
Tragic number: 2

Points: 84
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Points pace: 84
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Points pace: 77
Next game: @ BOS (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Points pace: 76
Next game: vs. DET (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Metropolitan Division

Points: 114
Regulation wins: 43
Playoff position: M1
Games left: 0
Points pace: 114
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 111
Regulation wins: 44
Playoff position: M2
Games left: 1
Points pace: 112
Next game: @ CBJ (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 92
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: M3
Games left: 1
Points pace: 93
Next game: vs. PIT (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 89
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 1
Points pace: 90
Next game: @ PHI (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 21.6%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 88
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Points pace: 89
Next game: @ NYI (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 11.7%
Tragic number: 1

Points: 87
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Points pace: 88
Next game: vs. WSH (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 6.4%
Tragic number: 1

Points: 81
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 0
Points pace: 81
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Points pace: 65
Next game: vs. CAR (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Central Division

Points: 111
Regulation wins: 40
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 1
Points pace: 112
Next game: vs. STL (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 106
Regulation wins: 44
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 2
Points pace: 109
Next game: vs. SEA (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 105
Regulation wins: 41
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 1
Points pace: 106
Next game: vs. EDM (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 99
Regulation wins: 38
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 0
Points pace: 99
Next game: N/A
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 91
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Points pace: 92
Next game: @ DAL (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 87
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Points pace: 88
Next game: vs. SEA (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Points pace: 76
Next game: vs. EDM (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Points pace: 52
Next game: @ VGK (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Pacific Division

Points: 107
Regulation wins: 43
Playoff position: P1
Games left: 2
Points pace: 110
Next game: vs. CGY (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 104
Regulation wins: 39
Playoff position: P2
Games left: 2
Points pace: 107
Next game: @ ARI (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 97
Regulation wins: 37
Playoff position: P3
Games left: 1
Points pace: 98
Next game: vs. CHI (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 96
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 2
Points pace: 98
Next game: vs. CHI (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Points pace: 81
Next game: @ VAN (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 2
Points pace: 81
Next game: @ WPG (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Points pace: 58
Next game: @ VGK (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 1
Points pace: 48
Next game: @ CGY (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

p — clinched Presidents’ Trophy
y — clinched division
x — clinched playoff berth
e — eliminated from playoff contention


Race for the No. 1 pick

The NHL uses a draft lottery to determine the order of the first round, so the team that finishes in last place is not guaranteed the No. 1 selection. As of 2021, a team can 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. Sitting No. 1 on the draft board for this summer is Macklin Celebrini, a freshman at Boston University.

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 17

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 20

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 20

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 20

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 27

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 24

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 27

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 31

Points: 81
Regulation wins: 33

Points: 84
Regulation wins: 33

Points: 87
Regulation wins: 30

Points: 87
Regulation wins: 32

Points: 88
Regulation wins: 32

Points: 89
Regulation wins: 27

Points: 91
Regulation wins: 31

* The Penguins’ first-round pick was traded to the Sharks as part of the Erik Karlsson trade. However, it is top-10 protected.

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