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NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Of the NHL’s four new realigned divisions, the Central has the tightest race among the top three seeds right now, with the Carolina Hurricanes (62 points), Florida Panthers (61) and Tampa Bay Lightning (60) taking turns looking like the team to beat.

Monday night, we’ll see two of those clubs face off, as the Lightning host the Hurricanes at 7 p.m. ET. The season series to this point is tied 3-3, with the Lightning holding a 13-12 goals scored advantage. The Canes come in hot off a victory against the Nashville Predators, which included the eventual game-winner scored by trade deadline newcomer Jani Hakanpaa. Meanwhile, the Lightning are coming off a tough 5-3 loss to the Panthers.

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 matchups
Race for No. 1 pick

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

East Division

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0:32

Mika Zibanejad scores the big go-ahead power-play goal for the Rangers in their 5-3 win over the Devils.

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: E1
Games left: 10
Next game: @ NYI (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 98.3%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: E2
Games left: 11
Next game: vs. NYR (Apr. 20)
Playoff chances: 92.7%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: E3
Games left: 11
Next game: vs. NJ (Apr. 20)
Playoff chances: 96.8%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 18
Playoff position: E4
Games left: 13
Next game: @ BUF (Apr. 20)
Playoff chances: 89.8%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Next game: @ NYI (Apr. 20)
Playoff chances: 21.9%
Tragic number: 19

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Next game: @ NYR (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 0.5%
Tragic number: 13

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 34
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: @ PIT (Apr. 20)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 2

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 31
Regulation wins: 9
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Next game: vs. BOS (Apr. 20)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Central Division

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 13
Next game: @ TB (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 61
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 11
Next game: vs. CBJ (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 12
Next game: vs. CAR (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: C4
Games left: 10
Next game: vs. CHI (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 28.2%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Next game: @ NSH (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 10.6%
Tragic number: 20

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 46
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. DET (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 61.3%
Tragic number: 23

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: @ FLA (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 10

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 38
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: @ DAL (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 9


North Division

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1:23

Bo Horvat scores twice, including the game-winning goal, as Vancouver defeats Toronto in its return from a 25-day COVID hiatus.

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 61
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N1
Games left: 11
Next game: @ VAN (Apr. 20)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: N2
Games left: 11
Next game: vs. TOR (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: N3
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. MTL (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 99.1%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N4
Games left: 14
Next game: @ EDM (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 76.4%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 41
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: vs. OTT (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 19.7%
Tragic number: 18

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 37
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 18
Next game: vs. TOR (Apr. 20)
Playoff chances: 5%
Tragic number: 26

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 34
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Next game: @ CGY (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 9


West Division

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0:23

Shea Theodore sends a pass through the Ducks’ defense to Mark Stone, who skates in all alone for the power-play goal in Vegas’ 5-2 win over Anaheim.

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: W1
Games left: 13
Next game: @ STL (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: W2
Games left: 12
Next game: vs. SJ (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: W3
Games left: 13
Next game: @ ARI (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: W4
Games left: 11
Next game: vs. MIN (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 45.6%
Tragic number: N/A

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. COL (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 34.2%
Tragic number: 25

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 40
Regulation wins: 12
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: @ VGS (Apr. 19)
Playoff chances: 9.1%
Tragic number: 19

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 38
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Next game: vs. ANA (Apr. 20)
Playoff chances: 11.1%
Tragic number: 21

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 9
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: @ LA (Apr. 20)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 10


Current playoff matchups

East Division

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

Central Division

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

North Division

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

West Division

No. 1 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 4 Arizona Coyotes
No. 2 Vegas Golden Knights 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.

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 31
Regulation wins: 9

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 34
Regulation wins: 11

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 34
Regulation wins: 11

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 9

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 37
Regulation wins: 11

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 38
Regulation wins: 14

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 38
Regulation wins: 14

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 11

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 40
Regulation wins: 12

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 41
Regulation wins: 16

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 13

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 46
Regulation wins: 15

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 13

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 14

NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Canes, Lightning face off in critical Central matchup

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 20



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