We have reached the winding moments of the 2021-22 NHL regular season. Most teams are down to two or three games left on their schedule. Which teams are preparing for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and which teams are organizing their beach attire for the offseason?
The entire Eastern Conference has already been decided on who is in and who is out. There are teams still fighting for seeding, but it has primarily been figured out at this point. In the Western Conference, teams are still battling for the final playoff seeds and could battle til the very last game for playoff implications.
Let’s take a look at the conference winners who’s in and out and the projected matchups so you can plan your bets against the NHL Playoffs Odds.
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Out of the Eastern Conference, the Florida Panthers have won the season-long race. What a year it has been for the Panthers, as they have dominated most teams that have stood in their way. Florida will finish the season out with three road games as they need two wins to clinch the President’s Trophy.
Even after firing their head coach towards the beginning of the season, the Panthers have been able to fight through it all. Jonathan Huberdeau has been one of the best players in the league all season. His 115 points is the most in the NHL.
The Colorado Avalanche have wrapped up the Western Conference this season. They have played great all season and this moment has been building for the last few seasons. Can Colorado take the next step and get all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals?
The four core players of Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and Nazem Kadri have led this Avalanche team. MacKinnon is the star and the face of the franchise but Colorado would not be in the position they are now without the three other players.
As we know, the Panthers and the Avalanche are in. From the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Boston Bruins have clinched a spot in the Atlantic Division. From the Metropolitan Division, the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Washington Capitals have all clinched spots as well.
From the Western Conference, the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues have each earned a spot in the playoffs. There is still one spot up for grabs in the Central Division between the Nashville Predators and the Dallas Stars. From the Pacific Division, the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers have both reserved a spot in the playoffs.
Two spots are still up for grabs in the Pacific Division, with the Los Angeles Kings, Vegas Golden Knights, and the Vancouver Canucks battling for those spots.
There are very few surprises if any when looking at who has been eliminated from playoff contention. There are a few surprises at how bad certain teams have played but the teams that one would suspect to be in the playoffs, have made it. If Vegas drops out of the playoff race, that would be the one big surprise to take away.
Teams like the Winnipeg Jets and the New York Islanders did not play well enough to get the job done.
In the Atlantic Division, the matchups look to be set in stone between the Panthers and the Bruins. Boston is trying to chase down the Lightning who are three points ahead currently. The Maple Leafs would take on Tampa Bay as of right now.
From the Metropolitan Division, the Penguins and the Capitals are battling it out for the final two spots, but if the playoffs started today, the Hurricanes would be hosting the Capitals. The Penguins would be traveling to New York to play the Rangers.
From the Central Division, Colorado will take on either Nashville or Dallas. St. Louis and Minnesota are set in stone to play each other in the first round but we are waiting to see who gets home-ice advantage.
In the Pacific Division, the Flames would take one of three possible teams. Depending on how it shakes out, they could play the Kings, Knights, or the Canucks. The Oilers would take on the third seed of the final standings between those three teams.
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