The 2019-20 NHL regular season concludes on Saturday, April 4. If past history is any indication, we won’t know all of the Stanley Cup playoff matchups until after April 4 as races in some form seem to come down to the final day every year. Currently at Mybookie, the Tampa Bay Lightning are +650 favorites to win the second Stanley Cup in team history followed by the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins both at +700. Here’s a look at the current NHL playoffs matchups in each conference, but needless to say some if not all of these are going to change by early April.
Possible NHL Playoffs Matchups 2020
EASTERN CONFERENCE NHL PLAYOFFS
Boston vs. Philadelphia
Probably surprise you to know that the Flyers lead the series 2-0, although both were wins in shootouts. They play one last time on March 10. Boston’s David Pastrnak is a Hart Trophy candidate as he’s tied for first in the NHL with 42 goals and tied for second with 82 points.
Tampa Bay vs. Toronto
This would be easily the most entertaining first-round series in terms of offensive talent. The Lightning may overtake Boston for the No. 1 overall seed as the Bolts are on an 11-game winning streak. That’s a franchise record. The Lightning became the first team to win 40 games for the third straight season after also doing so in 2017-18 and 2018-19 (outright or tied). They became just the third team in NHL history to accomplish the feat in three or more consecutive campaigns, joining the Oilers (4 from 1983-84 to 1986-87) and Canadiens (3 from 1959-60 to 1961-62; 4 from 1975-76 to 1978-79).
Tampa Bay, which surrendered the game-opening goal for just the third time over the course of its 11-game run, has only trailed for 57:47 over its current stretch as opposed to having led or been tied for 608:32. Tampa beat Toronto 7-3 in the lone meeting on Oct. 10.
Washington vs. Carolina
Washington leads the Metropolitan Division, while Columbus is the top Wild-Card team currently. The Blue Jackets have won two of the three meetings and the one loss was in a shootout. The clubs haven’t played since Dec. 27. Capitals defenseman John Carlson has reached 70 points to match his single-season career high (13-57—70 in 2018-19). Only four different defensemen in the last 30 years have required fewer games to record their 70th point of a season.
Pittsburgh vs. NY Islanders
All three of the games between these teams have gone to overtime, with the Islanders winning two. All three were in November, though. They play one last time on March 15.
WESTERN CONFERENCE NHL PLAYOFFS
Edmonton vs. Calgary
Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl could become the first player to reach 100 in 61 games or fewer since Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1996-97 (100 points; 44 goals, 56 assists in 61 games). Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov, who won the scoring title last season, reached 100 points in his 62nd game. Only three different players in Oilers history have reached 100 points in 61 games or fewer; the last one was Wayne Gretzky, who did it in 43 games in 1987-88. Draisaitl has 95 points as of this writing. Edmonton is 3-1 vs. Calgary this year.
Vegas vs. Vancouver
The Canucks made a big move on Monday, landing forward Tyler Toffoli from Los Angeles. The 27-year-old has 18 goals and 34 points in 58 games this season. “Tyler brings goal-scoring abilities and is good in battles,” general manager Jim Benning said. However, young star winger Brock Boeser is out with a rib cartilage fracture and will be re-evaluated in three weeks’ time. Boeser has 16 goals and 45 points in 56 games this season. This series is tied 1-1 this year.
St. Louis vs. Arizona
Of course, the Blues were Stanley Cup champions for the first time last season but have lost both meetings vs. Arizona this year. On Monday, 21-year-old Clayton Keller found the score sheet for the third time in five games and netted his 50th career goal with Arizona. Among players to debut with the Coyotes, Keller (229 GP) required the second-fewest games to reach the benchmark, with Daniel Briere (181 GP w/PHX) standing as the only player to do so in fewer contests since the club relocated to Arizona.
Dallas vs. Colorado
The Avalanche got awful news Monday as first-line winger Mikko Rantanen left Monday’s game against Tampa Bay late in the second period with what appeared to be shoulder injury. He was sent crashing into the boards after being tripped up by Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak. Rantanen missed 16 games earlier this season with an ankle injury. He has 19 goals and 41 points this season, while being limited to 42 games. Rantanen is now going to miss “weeks” per coach Jared Bednar.