Clinching scenarios for Friday
The Carolina Hurricanes will win the Central Division title if the Dallas Stars beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in regulation.
The Nashville Predators will clinch a playoff berth if the Lightning defeats the Stars in settlement.
The St. Louis Blues will clinch a playoff berth if they beat the Vegas Golden Knights in any way and the Colorado Avalanche defeat the Los Angeles Kings in any way, or if they beat the Vegas Golden Knights in any way. they get a point against the Golden Knights and the Avalanche beat the Kings in regulation.
There are seven games on the NHL schedule on Friday, five of which have playoff implications:
Stars de Dallas au Lightning de Tampa Bay (19 h HE; BSSUN, BSSW +, NHL.TV): The Stars, who made it to the Stanley Cup final last season, would be eliminated from the competition with a regulation loss. They lag the Nashville Predators in fourth by four points with three games to go. If the Stars are eliminated, they would be the first team to miss the playoffs this season after reaching the Stanley Cup Final since the 2012-13 New Jersey Devils. The Lightning have won back-to-back wins and are five points behind the Carolina Hurricanes in the Central. Tampa Bay is tied for second with the Florida Panthers and has three games to go. The Panthers have two more games to go.
Philadelphia Flyers to the Washington Capitals (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN1, TVAS, NBCSWA, NBCSP, NHL.TV): The Capitals can tie for first place with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the East Division with a win. They are two points behind the Penguins with two games in hand. Washington is two points ahead of the third-placed Boston Bruins. The Capitals won five straight regular season wins over the Flyers, who were eliminated from the playoffs.
Anaheim Ducks au Minnesota Wild (20 h HE; BSN +, KCOP-13, NHL.TV): The Wilds are third in the Western Division, one point behind second in the Colorado Avalanche, but have played another game. The Wild have five straight wins in the regular season series against the Ducks, who were eliminated from the playoffs.
St.Louis Blues à Vegas Golden Knights (22 h HE; ESPN +, ATTSN-RM, BSMW, NHL.TV): The Blues can clinch a playoff berth with a win and an Avalanche win over the Los Angeles Kings, or with a point and an Avalanche settlement win over the Kings. St. Louis, who has five games to play, is fourth in the West, eight points ahead of sixth-place Los Angeles, which also has five games to play and is the only team in the division behind the Blues that can catch them. The Golden Knights are first in the West, four points ahead of the second-placed Avalanche.
Colorado Avalanche at the Los Angeles Kings (10 p.m. ET: SN1, BSW, ALT2, NHL.TV): The Avalanche is second in the West, four points behind the Golden Knights in first place, and one point ahead of the Wild in third. The Kings will be eliminated if they lose to the Avalanche and the Blues beat the Golden Knights, or if they lose in settlement and the Blues get a point. Los Angeles is sixth in the West, eight points behind St. Louis; each team has five games remaining.
About last night
There were six games on the NHL schedule on Thursday, all with playoff implications:
Toronto Maple Leafs 5, Montreal Canadiens 2: Before Auston Matthews scored his 40th NHL-leading goal of the season for Toronto, who moved less than a point after netting first in the North Division. The Maple Leafs, who have three games to play, are eight points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers, who have four games to play. The Canadians remained fourth in the North, two points behind the Winnipeg Jets for third, with three games to go. Montreal could have clinched a playoff berth with Edmonton’s victory and victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Maple Leafs, Oilers and Jets each landed a playoff berth.
Canucks de Vancouver 6, Oilers d’Edmonton 3: Oilers forward Connor McDavid had three assists to reach 96 points (31 goals, 65 assists), but Edmonton’s three-game winning streak came to an end. The Oilers remained seven points ahead of the third-place Jets; each team has four more games. Brock Boeser scored his 20th goal and Thatcher Demko made 39 saves for seventh-place Vancouver, which ended a six-game losing streak and remained in the playoff contests finishing within 14 points of fourth-place Montreal with eight games to go.
Pittsburgh Penguins 8, Buffalo Sabers 4: Penguins forward Jeff Carter scored four goals in a game for the first time in the NHL and Pittsburgh advanced two points past the Washington Capitals for first place in the Eastern Division. Pittsburgh closes its regular season against Buffalo on Saturday with Washington having three games to play. The Sabers were eliminated from the playoffs.
Bruins de Boston 4, Rangers de New York 0: Rookie Guardian Jeremy Swayman made 15 saves for their second NHL shutout and four players scored for third place Boston, which moved two points from second place Washington and remained four points from first place in Pittsburgh. The Bruins, who have three games to play, are 5-0-1 in their last six games. The Rangers, who have lost five in a row, were eliminated from the playoffs.
Devils du New Jersey 2, Islanders de New York 1: Devils forward Michael McLeod scored to break a 1-1 tie with 4:29 left in the second period and the Islanders lost their third straight game (0-2-1) to drop three points behind the Bruins to take third place in the East . Behind the second-place Capitals by five points with two games to go, the fourth-place Islanders can only finish third in the division and will open the playoffs on the road. The Devils, who won five of six (5-1-0), were eliminated from the playoffs.
Chicago Blackhawks 2, Caroline Hurricanes 1 (OT): Chicago forward Alex DeBrincat scored at 2:02 into extra time, but Carolina extended their points streak to 13 games (9-0-4) to tie the Carolina / Hartford Whalers franchise record of 2016-17 (9-0-4 ) and increase its lead in the Central Division to five points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers. The Hurricanes and Panthers each have two games to play while the Lightning have three games to play. The Blackhawks were eliminated from the playoffs.
Video: NHL Tonight talks about the teams with the most pressure
If the playoffs started on Friday
Here’s a look at the first round matches as they enter Friday’s matches:
1. Toronto Maple Leafs vs 4. Montreal Canadiens
2. Edmonton Oilers vs. 3. Winnipeg Jets
1. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 4. New York Islanders
2. Washington Capitals vs. 3. Boston Bruins
1. Carolina Hurricanes vs. 4. Nashville Predators
2. Tampa Bay Lightning vs. 3. Florida Panthers
1. Vegas Golden Knights contre 4. St. Louis Blues
2. Colorado Avalanche contre 3. Minnesota Wild
NHL.com Editor Tom Gulitti contributed to this report