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NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Battle of Florida takes center stage

Saturday brings us an 11-game slate in the NHL, and it’s a schedule that will have hockey fans reminiscing about all-day hockey from the opening rounds of the 2020 postseason. The puck drops for our first games at 12:30 p.m. ET (New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers), and closes out with a pair at 8 p.m. ET (San Jose Sharks vs. Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Dallas Stars).

But perhaps the most anticipated Saturday showdown finds the Tampa Bay Lightning hosting the Florida Panthers in the latest renewal of the Battle of Florida. Both teams sit in strong playoff position in the Central Division, and are locked in a race with the Carolina Hurricanes to determine who will get the top seed heading into next month’s postseason.

The most recent matchup saw the Lightning win in overtime, 3-2, and they lead the season series by the same margin. Tonight’s game promises to be another tantalizing affair, and streams live on ESPN+.

As we enter the final stretch of the regular season, it’s time to check in on all the playoff races — along with the teams jockeying for position in the 2021 NHL draft lottery.

Note: Playoff chances are via Money Puck. Tragic numbers are courtesy of Damian Echevarrieta of the NHL.

East Division

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0:24

Taylor Hall records his second goal since being traded to the Bruins as they beat the Islanders 3-0.

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: E1
Games left: 12
Next game: @ PHI (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 93.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: E2
Games left: 12
Next game: @ PHI (Apr. 18)
Playoff chances: 94%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: E3
Games left: 13
Next game: @ BUF (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 98.4%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: E4
Games left: 14
Next game: vs. WSH (Apr, 18)
Playoff chances: 89.8%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 18
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. NJ (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 20.7%
Tragic number: 21

Points: 46
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. WSH (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 3.2%
Tragic number: 18

Points: 34
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Next game: @ NYR (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 8

Points: 29
Regulation wins: 8
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. PIT (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 1


Central Division

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 14
Next game: vs. NSH (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 13
Next game: vs. FLA (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 12
Next game: @ TB (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: C4
Games left: 11
Next game: @ CAR (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 55.1%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: @ DET (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 6.6%
Tragic number: 20

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Next game: vs. CBJ (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 38.4%
Tragic number: 23

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Next game: @ DAL (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 12

Points: 38
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Next game: vs. CHI (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 11


North Division

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0:24

Tyler Toffoli tallies a pair of goals as the Canadiens squeak by the Flames 2-1.

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N1
Games left: 12
Next game: @ VAN (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: N2
Games left: 12
Next game: vs. EDM (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: N3
Games left: 14
Next game: @ WPG (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 97.2%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 47
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N4
Games left: 15
Next game: vs. CGY (Apr. 16)
Playoff chances: 85.1%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 41
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: @ MTL (Apr. 16)
Playoff chances: 14.6%
Tragic number: 18

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 11
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 19
Next game: vs. TOR (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 3.1%
Tragic number: 26

Points: 32
Regulation wins: 10
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: @ MTL (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: 9


West Division

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0:29

Reilly Smith is stopped in front, but William Karlsson jumps on the puck and scores nine seconds into the period in the Golden Knights’ 4-0 win over the Ducks.

Points: 64
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: W1
Games left: 13
Next game: @ STL (Apr. 22)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: W2
Games left: 13
Next game: @ ANA (Apr. 18)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 55
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: W3
Games left: 14
Next game: vs. SJ (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 99.9%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: W4
Games left: 14
Next game: @ ARI (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 42.3%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Next game: vs. STL (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 34.6%
Tragic number: 24

Points: 40
Regulation wins: 12
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Next game: @ MIN (Apr. 17)
Playoff chances: 13.9%
Tragic number: 22

Points: 38
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Next game: vs. ANA (Apr. 20)
Playoff chances: 9%
Tragic number: 23

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 9
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Next game: vs. VGS (Apr. 18)
Playoff chances: 0.2%
Tragic number: 13


Race for the No. 1 pick

The NHL uses a draft lottery to determine the order at the top of the first round, so the team that finishes in last place is not guaranteed the No. 1 selection. New for 2021, a team may move up a maximum of 10 spots if it wins the lottery, so only 11 teams are eligible for the draw for the No. 1 pick. Full details on the process can be found here.

Points: 29
Regulation wins: 8

Points: 32
Regulation wins: 10

Points: 34
Regulation wins: 11

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 9

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 11

Points: 38
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 38
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 11

Points: 40
Regulation wins: 12

Points: 41
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 46
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 18



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