Can the Pittsburgh Penguins hold on? NHL playoffs picture

NHL Playoff Picture: Can The Pittsburgh Penguins Hold On?

We talkin’ about NHL playoffs! The playoff picture is sorting itself out. But there’s still a lot that needs to be decided. Only one team has actually booked its ticket to the postseason and that’s the Stanley Cup favorites, the Boston Bruins. 

So there’s plenty of jockeying and positioning as the 2022-23 regular season winds toward its conclusion in April. Not only do we still need to figure out who’s in and who’s out but who’s got home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. Here’s a dive into the NHL playoff picture.

NHL Playoff Picture: Eastern Conference

NHL Eastern Conference Playoff Picture
Team Points% Playoff Chances
Boston Bruins 0.807 100%
Carolina Hurricanes 0.725 100%
New Jersey Devils 0.690 100%
Toronto Maple Leafs 0.664 100%
New York Rangers 0.648 >99%
Tampa Bay Lightning 0.625 >99%
New York Islanders 0.569 76%
Pittsburgh Penguins 0.563 57%
Florida Panthers 0.556 66%
Buffalo Sabres 0.514 <1%
Ottawa Senators 0.514 <1%
Washington Capitals 0.514 <1%
Detroit Red Wings 0.507 <1%
Philadelphia Flyers 0.457 0%
Montreal Canadiens 0.437 0%
Columbus Blue Jackets 0.364 0%

The Eastern Conference teams in bold are the ones currently in a playoff position. Thanks to MoneyPuck for the playoff chances.

Florida panthers Playoff Chances

0.556 points percentage, 66% chance to make playoffs

The Florida Panthers didn’t make any moves at the trade deadline, deciding to stick with the guys they had already. And well, that decision has paid off, sort of. Florida still isn’t in a playoff spot but has been the second-best team in the NHL since March 3. Paul Maurice’s men have put up a .813 points percentage and gone 6-2 SU in the last month.

The duo of Matthew Tkachuk and Aleksander Barkov has been instrumental for the Cats with a combined eight goals and 30 points in eight games. 

If the Panthers fail to make the postseason, it will be because those two aren’t outscoring Florida’s problems, specifically in the net. Sergei Bobrovsky might have six wins in his last seven games, but he’s also sporting a .902 save percentage and 2.71 goals-against average in those games. Bobrovsky isn’t earning that $10.5-million paycheck with his performance between the pipes for Florida.

Pittsburgh Penguins Playoff Chances

0.563 points percentage, 57% chance to make playoffs

What was Pittsburgh doing at the trade deadline, exactly? I understand Ron Hextall’s decision to add. If you have Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin, you go for it. But the guys he brought in – Nick Bonino, Dmitry Kulikov and Mikael Granlund – were all head-scratchers.

And their decision hasn’t really changed the team’s fortunes. In terms of their relative expected goal differential, all three rank in the bottom 10 for the Pens. Bonino is the worst at -1.54, Kulikov is the fourth-lowest at -1.04 and Granlund is 10th at -0.49. That means this trio, relative to the rest of their teammates, have given the Pens a combined -3.07 expected goals per 60.

The additions the Penguins made at the deadline are killing them. Currently, the Penguins are in a playoff position by a single point. Those three are going to have to carry their weight or Crosby will miss the playoffs for the first time since his rookie season.

NHL Western Conference Playoff Picture

NHL Western Conference Playoff Picture
Team Points% Playoff Picture
Vegas Golden Knights 0.662 >99%
Los Angeles Kings 0.648 >99%
Minnesota Wild 0.634 >99%
Dallas Stars 0.634 >99%
Colorado Avalanche 0.629 99%
Edmonton Oilers 0.625 >99%
Seattle Kraken 0.607 95%
Winnipeg Jets 0.576 72%
Nashville Predators 0.565 8%
Calgary Flames 0.549 26%
St. Louis Blues 0.486 0%
Vancouver Canucks 0.479 0%
Arizona Coyotes 0.458 0%
Anaheim Ducks 0.394 0%
Chicago Blackhawks 0.386 0%
San Jose Sharks 0.373 0%

The Western Conference teams in bold are currently in a playoff position. Again, thank you MoneyPuck for the playoff chances. 

Calgary Flames Playoff Chances

0.549 points percentage, 26% chance to make playoffs

The Flames’ big offseason moves have not brought the expected results. The vets they acquired – Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri – haven’t really worked out. And head coach Darryl Sutter hasn’t covered himself in glory either.

Frankly, I’m surprised the Flames’ chances to make the playoffs are in double digits. The reason it’s higher than I thought it should be is that they’ve got the easiest remaining schedule in the Western Conference. So if Calgary can take advantage of the soft schedule, they could force their way into the postseason. But they’ll have to get some “help” from the teams currently in a playoff spot.

Winnipeg Jets Playoff Chances

0.576 points percentage, 72% chance to make playoffs

If the Flames make the playoffs, it’s thanks to the Winnipeg Jets. Winnipeg is four points up on Calgary and even in games remaining with 10 contests left on the schedule. The Jets control their own destiny so long as they can outperform the Flames.

To do so, they’ll need better goalkeeping from former Vezina winner Connor Hellebuyck. In the month of March, Hellebuyck holds a dreadful .898 save percentage and 3.00 GAA. Over his career, he has a .916 SV% and 2.68 GAA.