NHL playoff picture

NHL Playoff Picture: Penguins Games In Hand Advantage

We're deep into the 2023-24 season and the NHL playoff picture is starting to take shape. But most teams still believe they can get into a playoff position by the end of the regular season. But only 16 of the 32 teams in this league will.

Here's a look at the biggest risers and fallers in the playoff picture in each Conference as well as make-it-or-miss-it odds.

NHL playoff Picture: Eastern Conference

TeamRecordPlayoff ChancesChange
Florida Panthers39-16-4>99%0%
Boston Bruins34-12-14>99%0%
New York Rangers39-17-3>99%0%
Carolina Hurricanes35-18-6>99%+1%
Toronto Maple Leafs33-17-899%+16%
Detroit Red Wings33-20-675%+28%
Philadelphia Flyers31-22-771%-7%
Tampa Bay Lightning32-24-574%-16%
New Jersey Devils30-25-419%-6%
Washington Capitals27-22-96%+4%
Pittsburgh Penguins27-21-847%+2%
New York Islanders24-20-147%-10%
Buffalo Sabres27-28-43%-4%
Montreal Canadiens23-28-80%-1%
Ottawa Senators25-29-31%-5%
Columbus Blue Jackets19-28-100%0%

Teams in bold are currently in a playoff position.

Detroit Red Wings Playoff Chances

33-20-6, 4th in Atlantic Division, +28% chance to make playoffs

The Red Wings are starting to pull away from the field. Detroit now has an eight-point cushion on the first team outside of the wild card picture and are closing in on the Leafs in the top three of the Atlantic.

A six-game winning streak helps a lot. The secret to that streak is the Wings' incredible offense. They've scored an average of 4.7 goals in that six-game heater. Will that be enough to win the Cup? Probably not. A Stanley Cup Champion can't rely on outscoring their problems. But look, we don't care about their Cup chances. We're just interested in their ability to make the post-season at the end of the year. 

There's no doubt they will. Their -400 odds agree with me.

Tampa Bay Lightning Playoff Chances

32-24-5, 5th in Atlantic Division, -16% chance to make playoffs

If you're just looking at point totals, Tampa is five points clear of the first wild-card challenger. The problem lies in the number of games they've played. With 61 games played, most teams have 2-3 games in hand on them. The Penguins have five games in hand and are only seven points back.

With a 5-5-0 record over their last 10, that isn't going to be good enough to stay ahead of some of these challengers. Even with Nikita Kucherov's Hart Trophy-winning form, the Bolts aren't winning enough games. That's why we've seen a steep drop in the Lightning's chances. 

NHL Playoff Picture: Western Conference

TeamRecordPlayoff ChancesChange
Vancouver Canucks38-16-7>99%0%
Winnipeg Jets37-15-5>99%0%
Dallas Stars35-17-9>99%0%
Colorado Avalanche36-19-599%0%
Vegas Golden Knights33-19-796%-1%
Edmonton Oilers34-20-298%-1%
Los Angeles Kings29-19-1091%+1%
Nashville Predators33-25-265%+33%
Calgary Flames29-25-513%-8%
St. Louis Blues30-26-27%-12%
Minnesota Wild28-25-614%+4%
Seattle Kraken25-22-1117%-4%
Arizona Coyotes23-30-50%-13%
Anaheim Ducks20-35-30%0%
San Jose Sharks15-37-50%0%
Chicago Blackhawks15-39-50%0%

Teams in bold are currently in a playoff position.

Nashville Predators Playoff Chances

33-25-2, 4th in Central Division, +33% chance to make playoffs

New GM Barry Trotz must be tickled pink about his Predators' chances to make the playoffs. They weren't supposed to make it this year. The 23-24 season was supposed to be another step in the rebuild. And it still might be, but why not enjoy some playoff hockey while they're at it?

A six-game winning streak is coming at the best possible time for the Preds. They've now got a five-point cushion in the final wild card.

The secret to Nashville's success has been on the road. They've got an 18-10-2 record (60%) away from home. If they can fix that 0.500 home record they'll easily walk into the playoffs. 

Arizona Coyotes Playoff Chances

22-21-10, 7th in Central Division, -13% chance to make the playoffs

I feel bad for Arizona. They had a really good start to the year. There was hope for once. Maybe, for the first time in a long time, they wouldn't have to dwell in the basement. 

NOPE.

An 0-8-2 run has seen them plummet faster than a Falcon hunting a helpless pigeon. The 'Yotes will miss the playoffs for the fourth year in a row and the 11th time in 12 years.

NHL Odds To Make Or Miss Playoffs

NHL Playoff Odds
TeamOdds To Make PlayoffsOdds To Miss Playoffs
Calgary Flames+285-400
Detroit Red Wings-400+285
Los Angeles Kings-770+470
Minnesota Wild+340-500
Nahsville Predators-125-102
New Jersey Devils+158-205
New York Islanders+390-590
Pittsburgh Penguins+120-154
Philadelphia Flyers-118-108
Seattle Kraken+450-750
St. Louis Blues+600-1100
Tampa Bay Lightning-260+196
Washington Capitals+900-2500

Odds as of Feb. 28

Odds to Watch: Pittsburgh Penguins To Make Playoffs (+120)

Sidney Crosby will not stand for missing the playoffs. Not getting in last season was a deep insult. And the 36-year-old has done everything in his power to get them back there again with a 90-point pace.

But it goes beyond Crosby. Goalie Tristan Jarry has been much better this year with a 0.912SV% and 2.57GAA. Stability in net has been an issue since Marc-Andre Fleury was at his peak. Jarry finally seems comfortable as a starter and it's helping out big-time.

As I mentioned earlier, the Penguins have a ton of games in hand on the Lightning and with a three-game winning streak, the Pens seem poised to make good on those games in hand. 

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