NHL standings: Seeding scenarios, breakdown for final spots in 2021 playoffs

The NHL’s 2021 season is winding down, although when the official end date of the season will be is still undetermined. As of now, the last regular-season game is scheduled for May 19 when the Flames hosting the Canucks. 

Regardless of when things officially end, and when the playoffs officially begin, the playoffs races are heating up as a number of teams remain in the hunt. With teams only playing opponents in their own division, each game creates a four-point swing and there’s a good chance positioning won’t be decided till the division wraps up games.

Unlike previous years, this season will see four teams advance from each of the four divisions with the top seed facing the fourth seed and No. 2 taking on No. 3. The winners will then face off before the champs of each division meet in the semifinals.

Here’s how the 2021 Stanley Cup playoff bracket looks at this very minute.

Last updated: 11:00 p.m. ET on April 26

All probabilities from  Sports Club Stats.

NHL playoff standings 2021

East Division

1. Pittsburgh Penguins (67 points, 25 RW)

Remaining games: 7
Remaining opponents: BOS, WSH (2), PHI (2), BUF (2)
Points percentage: .684
Playoff probability: 100%

Penguins beat the Bruins 1-0 to leapfrog the idle Capitals into first place.

2. Washington Capitals (66 points, 25 RW)

Remaining games: 8
Remaining opponents: NYI, PIT (2), NYR (2), PHI (2), BOS
Points percentage: .688
Playoff probability: 99.9%

Without Alex Ovechkin (lower-body injury), the Capitals cashed in with a 6-3 win over the Islanders on Saturday night in Zdeno Chara’s 1,600th NHL game.

3. New York Islanders (63 points, 21 RW)

Remaining games: 8
Remaining opponents: WSH (1), NYR (2), BUF (2), NJD (2), BOS (1)
Points percentage: .656
Playoff probability: 98.5%

The Islanders face the Capitals again on Tuesday and a win will help pull them closer to that top spot.

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4. Boston Bruins (60 points, 20 RW)

Remaining games: 9
Remaining opponents: PIT, BUF (2), NJD (2), NYR (2), NYI, WSH
Points percentage: .638
Playoff probability: 92.9%

Boston has two games in hand against everyone the Rangers who inched closer Sunday.


5. New York Rangers (56 points, 22 RW)

Remaining games: 7
Remaining opponents: BUF, NYI (2), WSH (2), BOS (2)
Points percentage: .571
Playoff probability: 8.7%

The Rangers have gone 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.

0% playoff probability: Philadelphia Flyers

Officially eliminated from contention: New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres

North Division

1. Toronto Maple Leafs (65 points, 24 RW)

Remaining games: 8
Remaining opponents:  MTL (4), VAN (2), OTT, WPG
Points percentage: .677
Playoff probability: 100%

With a win on Hockey Night in Canada over the Jets, the Maple Leafs widen their gap for the North title.

2. Winnipeg Jets (57 points, 21 RW)

Remaining games: 9
Remaining opponents: EDM (2), MTL, OTT (2), CGY, OTT, VAN (2), TOR
Points percentage: .606
Playoff probability: 100%

Huge game on Monday at 9 p.m. ET against the Oilers.

3. Edmonton Oilers (56 points, 25 RW)

Remaining games: 11
Remaining opponents: WPG (2), CGY (2), VAN (5), MTL (2)
Points percentage: .622
Playoff probability: 99.9%

With three games in hand on the Jets, the Oilers could snag the second spot — and home-ice — if the two teams meet in the playoffs.

4. Montreal Canadiens (51 points, 19 RW)

Remaining games: 9
Remaining opponents: TOR (4), WPG, OTT (2), EDM (2)
Points percentage: .543
Playoff probability: 76.0%

Cole Caufield made his NHL debut as the Canadiens snapped a two-game losing streak to the Flames.


5. Calgary Flames (45 points, 18 RW)

Remaining games: 8
Remaining opponents: EDM (2), WPG, OTT, VAN (4)
Points percentage: .469
Playoff probability: 12.7%

The Flames playoff chances are dwindling.

6. Vancouver Canucks (41 points, 13 RW)

Remaining games: 14
Remaining opponents: OTT, TOR (2), EDM (5), WPG (2), CGY (4)
Points percentage: .488
Playoff probability: 11.5%

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The Canucks have a ton of action left and, in theory, could still sneak into the postseason.

0% playoff probability: Ottawa Senators

Central Division

1. Carolina Hurricanes (69 points, 23 RW)

Remaining games: 8
Remaining opponents: DAL, DET, CBJ, CHI (3), NSH (2)
Points percentage: .719
Playoff probability: Clinched playoff berth

With games in hand — and two games against the division’s basement left— it’s looking likely the Canes take the top spot.

2. Florida Panthers (67 points, 22 RW)

Remaining games: 6
Remaining opponents: NSH, CHI (2), DAL, TBL (2)
Points percentage: .670
Playoff probability: 100%

With just six games left, the Panthers’ spot in the No. 2 slot is precarious.

3. Tampa Bay Lightning (66 points, 25 RW)

Remaining games: 8
Remaining opponents: CHI, DAL (3), DET (2), FLA (2)
Points percentage: .688
Playoff probability: 100%

The division champs are looking poised for a postseason spot and another run at Lord Stanley’s Cup.

4. Nashville Predators (56 points, 19 RW)

Remaining games: 6
Remaining opponents: FLA, DAL, CBJ (2), CAR (2)
Points percentage: .560  
Playoff probability:

John Hynes’ status was teetering at one point, but his club went 6-3-1 in the last 10 and are in the postseason entering Tuesday’s action.


5. Dallas Stars (54 points, 16 RW)

Remaining games: 8
Remaining opponents: CAR, TBL (3), NSH, FLA, CHI (2)
Points percentage: .563
Playoff probability: 46.1%

If things are determined by points percentage, as of Tuesday morning, the Stars would leapfrog the Predators.

6. Chicago Blackhawks (49 points, 14 RW)

Remaining games: 8
Remaining opponents: TBL, FLA (2), CAR (3), DAL (2)
Points percentage: .510
Playoff probability: 3.0%

While the Blackhawks look out of the postseason, no one expected them to be in the conversation in the first place.

0% playoff probability: Detroit Red Wings

Officially eliminated from contention: Columbus Blue Jackets

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West Division

1. Vegas Golden Knights (70 points, 27 RW)

Remaining games: 9
Remaining opponents: COL (2), ARI (2), MIN (2), STL (2), SJS
Points percentage: .745
Playoff probability: Clinched playoff berth

The Golden Knights face the Avalanche in a match-up that could widen the gap — or shorten it — on Wednesday.

2. Colorado Avalanche (66 points, 28 RW)

Remaining games: 10
Remaining opponents: VGK (2), SJS (4), LAK (4)
Points percentage: .717
Playoff probability: Clinched playoff berth

The Avalanche lost to the Blues on Monday to remain four back of the division-leading Golden Knights. 

3. Minnesota Wild (65 points, 26 RW)

Remaining games: 9
Remaining opponents: STL (5), VGK (2), ANA (2)
Points percentage: .691   
Playoff probability:
Clinched playoff berth

The Wild can’t finish worse than third and are within striking distance of the No. 1 seed.

4. Arizona Coyotes (47 points, 17 RW)

Remaining games: 8
Remaining opponents: SJS (4), VGK (2), LAK (2)
Points percentage: .490
Playoff probability: 37.2%

With a shutout of the Kings on Saturday night, the Yotes leapfrogged the Blues for the No. 4 spot.


5. St. Louis Blues (48 points, 15 RW)

Remaining games: 10
Remaining opponents: MIN (5), ANA (2), LAK, VGK (2)
Points percentage: .522
Playoff probability: 54.2%

The Blues and Wild meet on Wednesday for the first of three big games in a row.

6. San Jose Sharks (41 points, 12 RW)

Remaining games: 9
Remaining opponents: ARI (4), COL (4), VGK
Points percentage: .436
Playoff probability: 0.5%

Considering they’ve gone 1-8-1 in the last 10, the Sharks are no longer swimming to a playoff spot.

7. Los Angeles Kings (40 points, 15 RW)

Remaining games: 11
Remaining opponents: ANA (4), ARI (2), COL (4), STL
Points percentage: .444
Playoff probability: 8.1%

LA has a better postseason chance than the Sharks thanks to two games in hand and four against the basement-dwelling Ducks.

0% playoff probability: Anaheim Ducks