NHL playoff picture after Friday: Last but not least





For the final week of the 2018-19 NHL regular season we will take an updated look at the Stanley Cup Playoff picture — what the standings look like, the potential matchups, who clinched, and set the stage for Saturday’s biggest games.

The only game that mattered in the playoff race on Friday was the game the Columbus Blue Jackets played in. Win and they were in, and that’s exactly what they did

For some big numbers and highlights, check The Buzzer.

z – clinched conference x – clinched playoff berth (via NHL.com)

Friday’s East playoff clinchers

  • Just one: Columbus, as aforementioned. They make the playoffs for the fifth time in team history and for the third straight year. They’ve never won a playoff series.

z – clinched conference x – clinched playoff berth (via NHL.com)

Friday’s West playoff clinchers

  • None. All eight playoff teams in the West are decided. Where some of them finish will be determined on Saturday.
  • It should be noted that Colorado could climb into the first wildcard with a win on Saturday and a Dallas loss in regulation.

FRIDAY’S SCORES

Blue Jackets 3, Rangers 2 (SO)
Blackhawks 6, Stars 1
Ducks 5, Kings 2

IF THE PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY
Lightning vs. Blue Jackets
Capitals vs. Hurricanes
Islanders vs. Penguins
Bruins vs. Maple Leafs — series clinched

Flames vs. Avalanche
Jets vs. Blues
Sharks vs. Golden Knights — series clinched
Predators vs. Stars

SATURDAY’S BIGGEST GAMES (with all 16 teams set, Saturday becomes a day of seeding battles)

Canucks at Blues (4 p.m. ET):

The easy math is that the Blues finish first in the Central if they win and both Nashville and Winnipeg lose. Basically, if they win, it’s cross your fingers time as they watch the two later games.

Blue Jackets at Senators (7 p.m. ET):

The Blue Jackets, who clinched on Friday, will finish in the first wildcard with a win and a Carolina loss in any fashion. They can also clinch providing they get a point and Carolina loses in regulation.

Hurricanes at Flyers (7 p.m. ET):

The Hurricanes can overtake the Pittsburgh Penguins for third in the Metropolitan if they win and Pittsburgh loses in regulation.

Rangers at Penguins (7 p.m. ET):

The Penguins need a single point to ensure they keep first place. They can also finish as high as second if they win and the New York Islanders loss in regulation in Washington. The Penguins can also finish as low as the first wildcard if Carolina wins and Pittsburgh loses in regulation.

Islanders at Capitals (7 p.m. ET):

The Capitals have won the Metro, but a point by the Islanders will ensure they finish second. Pittsburgh can overtake them with a win and an Islanders regulation loss.

Wild at Stars (8 p.m. ET):

Dallas keeps their first wildcard seed providing they get a point at home to Minnesota. If they lose, Colorado could overtake them with a win.

Blackhawks at Predators (8 p.m. ET):

The Predators will win the Central Division title with a win. Things get dicey if they manage only a point or lose in regulation. See Blues game above and Jets game down below.

Jets at Coyotes (10 p.m. ET):

Winnipeg will retake the Central lead and the division title if they win and Nashville loses in any fashion. They will also get it if they pick up a loser point and Nashville loses in any fashion.

Avalanche at Sharks (10:30 p.m. ET):

The Avs can finish in the first wildcard spot providing they beat San Jose and Dallas loses in regulation.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck





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