Sports

NHL playoff watch: Where will the Islanders finish?

When it comes to the Stanley Cup playoffs, the old adage is that a hot goalie can steal a series. So it should terrify the various Eastern Conference powerhouses that the New York Islanders are hanging around in a wild-card position with a dozen games to play.

Though he doesn’t have the win total of other top netminders, Ilya Sorokin is having a monster season. His save percentage of .925 is third in the league, and he’s earning plenty of attention in the Vezina Trophy conversation.

The Isles are currently in the first wild-card spot, with 80 points and 31 regulation wins in 71 games played, ahead of the suddenly hot Florida Panthers (79 and 31 in 70) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (78 and 25 in 70). So will New York still be in a wild-card position when the final games of the 2022-23 regular season are complete on April 14?

Tonight’s matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs — one of those aforementioned powerhouses — is the next step on the Islanders’ journey (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and Hulu). They bested the Leafs 3-2 in OT back on Nov. 21, then lost 5-2 on Jan. 23. Thanks to a furious trade season, both of these rosters look quite a bit different these days (including former Leaf Pierre Engvall now skating for the Isles).

The next matchups should be easier; the Isles will visit the basement-dwelling Columbus Blue Jackets and the lottery-bound Buffalo Sabres. The ensuing five games will be quite the crucible: home against the New Jersey Devils; at the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes; then back home for another game against the Lightning. They’ll then close out against the Philadelphia Flyers, Capitals and Montreal Canadiens.

As of today, FiveThirtyEight gives the Isles a 69% chance of making the playoffs, with the Panthers at 77% and the Penguins at 44%.

As we enter the final stretch of the regular season, it’s time to check all the playoff races — along with the teams jockeying for position in the 2023 NHL draft lottery.

Note: Playoff chances are via FiveThirtyEight.

Jump ahead:
Current playoff matchups
Today’s games
Last night’s scores
Expanded standings
Race for No. 1 pick

Current playoff matchups

Eastern Conference

A1 Boston Bruins vs. WC2 Florida Panthers
A2 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. A3 Tampa Bay Lightning
M1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. WC1 New York Islanders
M2 New Jersey Devils vs. M3 New York Rangers

Western Conference

C1 Dallas Stars vs. WC1 Seattle Kraken
C2 Colorado Avalanche vs. C3 Minnesota Wild
P1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. WC2 Winnipeg Jets
P2 Los Angeles Kings vs. P3 Edmonton Oilers


Tuesday’s games

Note: All times Eastern. All games not on ESPN, TNT or NHL Network are available via NHL Power Play, which is included in an ESPN+ subscription (local blackout restrictions apply).

Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m.
Nashville Predators at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens, 7 p.m.
Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers, 7 p.m.
Minnesota Wild at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m.
Florida Panthers at Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m.
Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Islanders, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN+/Hulu)
Detroit Red Wings at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m.
Arizona Coyotes at Winnipeg Jets, 8 p.m.
Seattle Kraken at Dallas Stars, 8:30 p.m.
Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks, 10 p.m.
Vegas Golden Knights at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m.


Monday’s scoreboard

Watch “In the Crease” on ESPN+ for highlights from every game.

Florida Panthers 5, Detroit Red Wings 2
Ottawa Senators 2, Pittsburgh Penguins 1
Colorado Avalanche 5, Chicago Blackhawks 0
Edmonton Oilers 5, San Jose Sharks 4 (OT)
Los Angeles Kings 8, Calgary Flames 2


Expanded standings

Atlantic Division

Points: 111
Regulation wins: 46
Playoff position: A1
Games left: 13
Points pace: 132
Next game: vs. OTT (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 93
Regulation wins: 35
Playoff position: A2
Games left: 13
Points pace: 111
Next game: @ NYI (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 90
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: A3
Games left: 11
Points pace: 104
Next game: @ MTL (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 12
Points pace: 93
Next game: @ PHI (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 77%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Points pace: 86
Next game: @ BOS (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 2%
Tragic number: 18

Points: 72
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 86
Next game: vs. NSH (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 4%
Tragic number: 19

Points: 69
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 82
Next game: @ STL (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 16

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 18
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Points pace: 70
Next game: vs. TB (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 5


Metropolitan Division

Points: 98
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: M1
Games left: 14
Points pace: 118
Next game: @ NYR (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 97
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: M2
Games left: 12
Points pace: 114
Next game: vs. MIN (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 92
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: M3
Games left: 12
Points pace: 108
Next game: vs. CAR (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 80
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 11
Points pace: 92
Next game: vs. TOR (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 69%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 78
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Points pace: 91
Next game: @ COL (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: 44%
Tragic number: 23

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Points pace: 84
Next game: vs. CBJ (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 3%
Tragic number: 16

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 74
Next game: vs. FLA (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 9

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 58
Next game: @ WSH (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Central Division

Points: 89
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 12
Points pace: 104
Next game: vs. SEA (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 88
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 13
Points pace: 105
Next game: vs. PIT (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 88
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 12
Points pace: 103
Next game: @ NJ (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 81
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 11
Points pace: 94
Next game: vs. ARI (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 70%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Points pace: 92
Next game: @ BUF (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 20%
Tragic number: 23

Points: 67
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 80
Next game: vs. DET (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 12

Points: 65
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Points pace: 76
Next game: @ WPG (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 8

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Points pace: 63
Next game: @ WSH (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Pacific Division

Points: 92
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: P1
Games left: 12
Points pace: 108
Next game: @ VAN (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 92
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: P2
Games left: 11
Points pace: 106
Next game: vs. WPG (Saturday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 88
Regulation wins: 37
Playoff position: P3
Games left: 11
Points pace: 102
Next game: vs. ARI (Wednesday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 83
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 13
Points pace: 99
Next game: @ DAL (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 93%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 77
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Points pace: 89
Next game: @ ANA (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 19%
Tragic number: 18

Points: 67
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 80
Next game: vs. VGK (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 1%
Tragic number: 12

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 13
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 12
Points pace: 66
Next game: vs. CGY (Tuesday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 11
Points pace: 61
Next game: @ VAN (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

X — Clinched playoff berth; E — Eliminated from playoff contention


Race for the No. 1 pick

The NHL uses a draft lottery to determine the order of the first round, so the team that finishes in last place is not guaranteed the No. 1 selection. As of 2021, a team might 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. Sitting No. 1 on the draft board for this summer is Connor Bedard, who has been lauded as a generational talent.

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 53
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 56
Regulation wins: 13

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 18

Points: 62
Regulation wins: 23

Points: 65
Regulation wins: 20

Points: 67
Regulation wins: 19

Points: 67
Regulation wins: 23

Points: 69
Regulation wins: 24

Points: 72
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 27

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 77
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 78
Regulation wins: 25

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