2024 NHL playoff race tracker: Standings updates, projected first-round matchups as postseason approaches

Written by on March 21, 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 | 41-14-15 | 97 points

Points percentage: .693
Regulation wins: 32
Regulation plus overtime wins: 38
Current first-round matchup: Detroit Red Wings

Another hat trick from David Pastrnak on Tuesday night gave the Bruins another two points, and they continue to jockey with the Panthers atop the Atlantic Division.

2. Florida Panthers | 45-19-4 | 94 points

Points percentage: .691
Regulation wins: 37
Regulation plus overtime wins: 43
Current first-round matchup: Toronto Maple Leafs

Florida has endured minor injuries to some of its key players, most notably Matthew Tkachuk and Aleksander Barkov. As a result, the Panthers have dropped a couple games, but they won’t be down for too long.

3. Toronto Maple Leafs | 38-20-9 | 85 points

Points percentage: .634
Regulation wins: 26
Regulation plus overtime wins: 33
Current first-round matchup: Florida Panthers

A poor start for the Leafs sunk them against the Flyers on Tuesday, and now they have the Lightning starting to close in on them. Toronto needs to pick it up in order to lock down a top-three spot in the division.

Metropolitan Division

1. New York Rangers | 45-120-4 | 94 points

Points percentage: .681
Regulation wins: 37
Regulation plus overtime wins: 44
Current first-round matchup: Tampa Bay Lightning

The Rangers dropped a big game against the Jets on Tuesday, and they have a tough schedule coming up the rest of this week. New York will need points in those games to maintain their first-place spot in the division.

2. Carolina Hurricanes | 43-20-6 | 92 points

Points percentage: .667
Regulation wins: 36
Regulation plus overtime wins: 41
Current first-round matchup: Philadelphia Flyers

Carolina just can’t stop winning, and the team has all but closed the gap on New York in the Metro. If this hot streak continues, the Hurricanes will have a shot at overtaking the Rangers.

3. Philadelphia Flyers | 35-26-8 | 78 points

Points percentage: .565
Regulation wins: 27
Regulation plus overtime wins: 31
Current first-round matchup: Carolina Hurricanes

John Tortorella pulled a pretty risky lever on Tuesday by scratching captain Sean Couturier, but the team responded with a big win over the Maple Leafs. Can the Flyers keep doing enough to hang on to a playoff spot?

Wild Card

WC1. Tampa Bay Lightning | 37-25-6 | 80 points

Points percentage: .576
Regulation wins: 30
Regulation plus overtime wins: 34
Current first-round matchup: New York Rangers

The Bolts just keep finding ways to pick up big wins. On Tuesday, they went into Vegas, and Brayden Point scored a pair of third-period goals to beat the Golden Knights.

WC2. Detroit Red Wings | 35-28-6 | 76 points

Points percentage: .551
Regulation wins: 24
Regulation plus overtime wins: 33
Current first-round matchup: Boston Bruins

Detroit narrowly avoided disaster in its last game against Columbus. After the Wings tied the game with around 12 seconds left, Patrick Kane scored the game-winner in overtime to deliver a badly-needed two points.

Washington Capitals | 33-25-9 | 75 points

Points percentage: .560
Regulation wins: 27
Regulation plus overtime wins: 30
Current first-round matchup: N/A

Winners of three in a row, the Capitals are using WD-40 and duct tape to keep themselves in the playoff race. It’s been impressive to watch, but Washington has big tests against Toronto and Carolina coming up.

New York Islanders | 29-24-15 | 73 points

Points percentage: .537
Regulation wins: 21
Regulation plus overtime wins: 28
Current first-round matchup: N/A

Things have turned very quickly for the Islanders. After scratching and clawing their way into a playoff spot, they have now lost five straight games.

Buffalo Sabres | 33-32-5 | 71 points

Points percentage: .507
Regulation wins: 27
Regulation plus overtime wins: 31
Current first-round matchup: N/A

Buffalo dropped a key game against the Red Wings on Saturday, and some of the momentum they built up earlier this month has come to a halt.

New Jersey Devils | 33-32-4 | 70 points

Points percentage: .507
Regulation wins: 28
Regulation plus overtime wins: 33
Current first-round matchup: N/A

The Devils did beat the the Penguins on Tuesday, so there’s that.

Pittsburgh Penguins | 30-29-9 | 69 points

Points percentage: .507
Regulation wins: 25
Regulation plus overtime wins: 28
Current first-round matchup: N/A

The Penguins lost to the Devils. Again, I’m leaving them here out of respect for Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.

Western Conference playoff picture

Central Division

1. Winnipeg Jets | 44-19-5 | 93 points

Points percentage: .684
Regulation wins: 39
Regulation plus overtime wins: 44
Current first-round matchup: Nashville Predators

The Jets went into The Big Apple on Tuesday and played extremely well in a win over the Rangers. They were rewarded with first place in the Central Division.

2. Colorado Avalanche | 44-20-5 | 93 points

Points percentage: .674
Regulation wins: 237
Regulation plus overtime wins: 42
Current first-round matchup: Dallas Stars

Mikko Rantanen lit up the scoreboard with a hat trick against the Blues, and now Colorado has won seven in a row. They seem to be peaking at the right time these days.

3. Dallas Stars | 41-19-9 | 91 points

Points percentage: .659
Regulation wins: 30
Regulation plus overtime wins: 38
Current first-round matchup: Colorado Avalanche

The Stars go from an extended break into a pretty soft schedule to end the month of March. Can they take advantage of that and surpass the Avalanche and the Jets in the battle for the Central Division crown?

Pacific Division

1. Vancouver Canucks | 43-18-8 | 94 points

Points percentage: .681
Regulation wins: 37
Regulation plus overtime wins: 43
Current first-round matchup: Vegas Golden Knights

The Canucks have a relatively comfortable lead atop the Pacific Division, and they can build upon that with some winnable games on Thursday and Saturday.

2. Edmonton Oilers | 41-21-4 | 86 points

Points percentage: .648
Regulation wins: 32
Regulation plus overtime wins: 38
Current first-round matchup: Los Angeles Kings

Connor McDavid and the Oilers look somewhat locked into second place, and that’s bad news for whichever Pacific team finishes in the third-place spot.

3. Los Angeles Kings | 35-22-11 | 81 points

Points percentage: .596
Regulation wins: 30
Regulation plus overtime wins: 33
Current first-round matchup: Edmonton Oilers

The Kings bludgeoned the Blackhawks on Tuesday, setting up a very important matchup with the Wild on Wednesday. Lose that one, and Los Angeles is suddenly in the danger zone.

Wild Card

WC1. Nashville Predators | 40-25-4 | 84 points

Points percentage: .609
Regulation wins: 33
Regulation plus overtime wins: 38
Current first-round matchup: Winnipeg Jets

The Predators steamrolled the Sharks, 8-2, to extend their point streak to 15 games. The level of difficulty shoots up quite a bit against the Panthers on Thursday.

WC2. Vegas Golden Knights | 36-25-7 | 79 points

Points percentage: .581
Regulation wins: 28
Regulation plus overtime wins: 32
Current first-round matchup: Vancouver Canucks

Vegas remains in win-one-lose-one mode, and that could be a problem if Minnesota keeps winning down the stretch. The good news for the Golden Knights is that their next two games are against the Kraken and Blue Jackets.

Minnesota Wild | 34-27-8 | 76 points

Points percentage: .551
Regulation wins: 27
Regulation plus overtime wins: 31
Current first-round matchup: N/A

The Wild have been playing solid hockey of late, and they have a huge opportunity to close the gap in the wild card race. Minnesota has a massive tilt against Los Angeles on Wednesday.

St. Louis Blues | 36-30-3 | 75 points

Points percentage: .543
Regulation wins: 27
Regulation plus overtime wins: 32
Current first-round matchup: N/A

The Blues suffered a regulation loss to the Avalanche on Tuesday, further damaging their playoff chances. Still, I’m sure they’ll find a way to keep accumulating points to stay in the picture.

Calgary Flames | 33-30-5 | 71 points

Points percentage: .522
Regulation wins: 28
Regulation plus overtime wins: 33
Current first-round matchup: N/A

The Flames are in tough playoff shape right now, and a couple more losses will drop them off this list.

Seattle Kraken | 28-27-12 | 68 points

Points percentage: .507
Regulation wins: 22
Regulation plus overtime wins: 25
Current first-round matchup: N/A

Seattle has lost five straight games, so they need to make a run starting Thursday or it can kiss the postseason goodbye.

The post 2024 NHL playoff race tracker: Standings updates, projected first-round matchups as postseason approaches first appeared on CBS Sports.


Reader's opinions

Leave a Reply


Current track

Title

Artist