2024 NHL playoff race tracker: Projected first-round matchups, standings after Tuesday night’s games

Written by on April 4, 2024

The NHL is in the home stretch of the 2023-24 regular season. That means playoff races are healing up atop divisions and on the wild card bubble.

Throughout the last 15 or so games, every point will be crucial as team’s battle for playoff positioning. Fans will be doing a lot of scoreboard watching over the next month, and they’ll be checking the updated standings every month.

The playoff picture may change on a nightly basis, so CBS Sports has you covered with our NHL playoff race tracker. It’ll be updated daily to show where each playoff hopeful stands as the postseason gets closer and closer.

Reminder: Here’s how the NHL playoff seeding works

  • The top three teams in each division automatically qualify for the playoffs.
  • Each conference has two wild-card spots.
  • The top division winner in each conference will play the second wild card team, and the other division winner will play the first wild card team.
  • The second and third-place teams in each division will match up with one another in the first round.

*Regulation wins are the first tiebreaker, and regulation plus overtime wins are the second tiebreaker. Shootout wins are not counted in regulation plus overtime wins.

Eastern Conference playoff picture

Atlantic Division

1. Boston Bruins | 44-17-15 | 103 points

Points percentage: .678
Regulation wins: 34
Regulation plus overtime wins: 40
Current first-round matchup: Tampa Bay Lightning

The Bruins have recently struggled with three losses over their last six games. However, they did blank the Predators to get back on track on Tuesday.

2. Florida Panthers | 47-24-5 | 99 points

Points percentage: .651
Regulation wins: 38
Regulation plus overtime wins: 44
Current first-round matchup: Toronto Maple Leafs

Much like the Bruins, the Panthers have been struggling lately as they’ve lost eight of their last 10 games. The talent of this team is through the roof, but it’s concerning how much Florida is struggling right now.

3. Toronto Maple Leafs | 43-22-9 | 95 points

Points percentage: .642
Regulation wins: 31
Regulation plus overtime wins: 38
Current first-round matchup: Florida Panthers

The Maple Leafs have been the third team in the Atlantic Division for most of the season, but that spot is far from guaranteed. The Lightning continue to creep up on the Leafs over the final month of the regular season.

Metropolitan Division

1. New York Rangers | 50-21-4 | 104 points

Points percentage: .693
Regulation wins: 39
Regulation plus overtime wins: 47
Current first-round matchup: Washington Capitals

The Rangers dropped a game to the Penguins, but this is still one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. They’ll be fighting with the Bruins and Hurricanes down the stretch to see who earns the top seed.

2. Carolina Hurricanes | 47-21-7 | 101 points

Points percentage: .703
Regulation wins: 39
Regulation plus overtime wins: 47
Current first-round matchup: Philadelphia Flyers

The Hurricanes have thrived since landing the likes of Jake Guentzel and Evgeny Kuznetsov at the trade deadline. Carolina looks like a juggernaut in the East after outscoring the Red Wings and Canadiens 7-0 over their last two games.

3. Philadelphia Flyers | 36-29-11 | 83 points

Points percentage: .546
Regulation wins: 28
Regulation plus overtime wins: 32
Current first-round matchup: Carolina Hurricanes

The Flyers did earn a point in an overtime loss to the Islanders, and we even saw the debut of goaltender Ivan Fedotov in relief of Samuel Ersson. It was a gutsy effort for Philadelphia and good to earn a point, but those are games that the Flyers need to win at this stage of the season.

Wild card

WC1. Tampa Bay Lightning | 41-26-7 | 89 points

Points percentage: .601
Regulation wins: 33
Regulation plus overtime wins: 38
Current first-round matchup: Boston Bruins

The Lightning are likely the team that no one wants to face in the opening round of the postseason. Tampa Bay has won eight of its last 10 games, and Nikita Kucherov continues to be electric.

WC2. Washington Capitals | 36-28-10 | 82 points

Points percentage: .554
Regulation wins: 28
Regulation plus overtime wins: 32
Current first-round matchup: New York Rangers

The Capitals have come out of nowhere to place themselves in the playoff conversation, but dropping three consecutive games isn’t ideal. Still, goaltender Charlie Lindgren has been so impressive for the majority of the month.

Detroit Red Wings | 37-30-8 | 82 points

Points percentage: .547
Regulation wins: 26
Regulation plus overtime wins: 35
Current first-round matchup: N/A

The Red Wings have taken a complete nosedive over the last month with just four wins since Feb. 29. Detroit did get back on track with a huge win against the Lightning, who the Red Wings are competing with for a wild card spot.

New York Islanders | 33-27-15 | 81 points

Points percentage: .540
Regulation wins: 24
Regulation plus overtime wins: 32
Current first-round matchup: N/A

The Islanders have just four victories in their last 12 games. However, the Islanders did get much-needed wins against the Flyers and Blackhawks to remain alive in the Wild Card race.

Pittsburgh Penguins | 34-30-11 | 79 points

Points percentage: .527
Regulation wins: 29
Regulation plus overtime wins: 32
Current first-round matchup: N/A

The Penguins got a massive win against the Rangers on Monday, and followed it up with a victory against the Devils. In addition, Sidney Crosby clinched the 19th point-per-game season of his NHL career, and continues to age like a fine wine.

Buffalo Sabres | 36-35-5 | 77 points

Points percentage: .507
Regulation wins: 30
Regulation plus overtime wins: 34
Current first-round matchup: N/A

The Sabres dominated the Capitals in a win against the Capitals on Tuesday. It’s huge considering that the Capitals are some of their biggest competition in the Wild Card race.

Western Conference playoff picture

Central Division

1. Dallas Stars | 47-19-9 | 103 points

Points percentage: .687
Regulation wins: 36
Regulation plus overtime wins: 44
Current first-round matchup: Los Angeles Kings

The Stars have grabbed the lead in the Central thanks to a seven-game winning streak. Goaltender Jake Oettinger may finally be turning his season around as he’s allowed two or fewer goals in each of his last five starts.

2. Colorado Avalanche | 47-22-6 | 100 points

Points percentage: .667
Regulation wins: 39
Regulation plus overtime wins: 45
Current first-round matchup: Winnipeg Jets

Nathan MacKinnon continues to make a Hart Trophy push with his sensational season. After looking unbeatable in recent weeks, the Avalanche have dropped three of their last four games, including a lackluster 4-1 defeat at the hands of the lowly Blue Jackets.

3. Winnipeg Jets | 45-24-6 | 96 points

Points percentage: .640
Regulation wins: 40
Regulation plus overtime wins: 45
Current first-round matchup: Colorado Avalanche

The Jets were a big-time slide with a six-game losing streak, but were able to get back into the win column against the Kings. Defeating the Kings was a huge victory considering that the Kings are looking to regain the No. 3 spot in the Central Division race.

Pacific Division

1. Vancouver Canucks | 46-21-8 | 100 points

Points percentage: .667
Regulation wins: 40
Regulation plus overtime wins: 46
Current first-round matchup: Nashville Predators

The Canucks hold a sizable lead in the Pacific Division, and they’ve won four of their last seven games. There’s really no reason to panic with goaltender Thatcher Demko out of the lineup. 

2. Edmonton Oilers | 45-23-5 | 95 points

Points percentage: .651
Regulation wins: 35
Regulation plus overtime wins: 43
Current first-round matchup: Vegas Golden Knights

Connor McDavid and the Oilers previously looked to be locked into second place, but the Golden Knights are making a late-season charge. Edmonton is going to want to have a home-ice advantage in the opening round, so wins will be paramount down the stretch.

3. Vegas Golden Knights | 42-25-8 | 92 points

Points percentage: .613
Regulation wins: 32
Regulation plus overtime wins: 38
Current first-round matchup: Edmonton Oilers

The Golden Knights are getting hot at the right time as they’ve earned three consecutive wins against the Jets, Wild, and Canucks. Vegas is playing some of its best hockey with six wins over its last seven contests.

Wild card

WC1. Nashville Predators | 43-28-4 | 90 points

Points percentage: .600
Regulation wins: 35
Regulation plus overtime wins: 41
Current first-round matchup: Vancouver Canucks

The Predators were one of the hottest teams in the NHL, but have lost three consecutive games. Even still, Filip Forsberg was on a nine-game point streak, and is playing his best hockey of the season.

WC2. Los Angeles Kings | 38-25-11 | 87 points

Points percentage: .588
Regulation wins: 32
Regulation plus overtime wins: 36
Current first-round matchup: Dallas Stars

The Kings have fallen out of the No. 3 spot in the Pacific Division, and have dropped three consecutive games after previously going on a four-game winning streak. It could be a back-and-forth between the Kings and Golden Knights the rest of the way.

St. Louis Blues | 40-31-4 | 84 points

Points percentage: .560
Regulation wins: 29
Regulation plus overtime wins: 36
Current first-round matchup: N/A

The Blues certainly aren’t out of the playoff picture, but they need to start stringing wins together to catch the Kings for that final wild-card spot. They were able to top the Oilers in a massive overtime win to take a step in the right direction.

Minnesota Wild | 36-29-9 | 81 points

Points percentage: .547
Regulation wins: 29
Regulation plus overtime wins: 33
Current first-round matchup: N/A

The Wild are currently six points behind the Kings for the final wild-card spot in the West. Minnesota really needs to start stringing wins together down the stretch if they want to make a playoff push.

The post 2024 NHL playoff race tracker: Projected first-round matchups, standings after Tuesday night’s games first appeared on CBS Sports.


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