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
|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%|
|Detroit Red Wings||0.507||<1%|
|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
|Vegas Golden Knights||0.662||>99%|
|Los Angeles Kings||0.648||>99%|
|St. Louis Blues||0.486||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.
Darryl Sutter is inarguably one of the - if not the singular - best NHL head coaches of the past two decades… and yet @YzermanSZN brings up a good point.— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) March 15, 2023
The infamous Pelletier debut presser isn’t likely to end up on Sutter’s sizzle reel: https://t.co/azLac6uwZn pic.twitter.com/zTW5NCosEH
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.