Push for the Playoffs: Will Canadiens finally clinch a playoff spot?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Push for the Playoffs will run every morning through the end of the 2020-21 NHL season. We’ll highlight the current playoff picture in both conferences, take a look at what the first-round matchups might look like, see who’s leading the race for the best odds in the draft lottery and more.

It remains a matter of time: the Montreal Canadiens are almost certain to clinch the final playoff spot in the North Division. That would also complete the playoff picture for the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, as 15 of the other 16 teams have been decided.

From there, it would just be out jostling for whatever positioning is up for grabs.

If the Canadiens actually do clinch that playoff spot on Monday — or later? — don’t be surprised if there’s a vibe of “finally.” Between the falling Jets and the humbled Habs, the bottom portion of the North Division’s playoff race keeps stumbling to the finish line.

[Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

On Saturday, the Canadiens needed some success, plus some sort of Canucks loss to the Oilers. Edmonton did its part, beating Vancouver in regulation while Connor McDavid reached 100 points.

To the Habs’ frustration, they couldn’t secure the single standings point to clinch their playoff berth. Instead, the Maple Leafs beat the Canadiens in regulation, securing a division title for Toronto.

With that, the Canadiens wind it back to try to clinch a playoff spot. Aesthetically, a win would be a nice way to clinch, especially with a three-game losing streak currently active. Technically, the Canadiens merely need a “charity point” vs. an Oilers team whose second seed is cemented.

On paper, the Canadiens should win this game. And, frankly, the Oilers would be smart to rest players. They have nothing to gain but pride, and that box got checked with 100 points in 53 games.

Yet, this is hockey, so who knows? There’s a chance that the Canadiens might be plugging away at this playoff clinching problem even beyond Monday. Even if that chance is pretty slim. Probably?

IF PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY (matchups by total points)

1. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 4. New York Islanders
2. Washington Capitals vs. 3. Boston Bruins

1. Carolina Hurricanes vs. 4. Nashville Predators — series official
2. Florida Panthers vs. 3. Tampa Bay Lightning — series official, seeding to be determined

1. Toronto Maple Leafs vs. 4. Montreal Canadiens
2. Edmonton Oilers vs. 3. Winnipeg Jets

1. Vegas Golden Knights vs. 4. St. Louis Blues
2. Colorado Avalanche vs. 3. Minnesota Wild

Oilers vs. Canadiens, 7 p.m. ET
Islanders vs. Bruins, 7 p.m. ET (NBCSN; livestream)
Lightning vs. Panthers, 7 p.m. ET
Avalanche vs. Golden Knights, 10 p.m. ET


Penguins – Clinched division title
Capitals – Clinched
Islanders – Clinched
Bruins – Clinched
Rangers – eliminated
Flyers – eliminated
Devils – eliminated
Sabres – eliminated


Hurricanes – Clinched division title
Panthers – Clinched
Lightning – Clinched
Predators – Clinched
Stars – eliminated
Blackhawks – eliminated
Red Wings – eliminated
Blue Jackets – eliminated


Maple Leafs – Clinched division title
Oilers – Clinched
Jets – Clinched
Canadiens – 96.9%
Flames – 3.1%
Canucks – 0%
Senators – eliminated


Golden Knights – Clinched
Avalanche – Clinched
Wild – Clinched
Blues – Clinched
Kings – eliminated
Coyotes – eliminated
Sharks – eliminated
Ducks – eliminated

draft lottery
Getty Images


Sabres – 18.5%
Ducks – 13.5%
Devils – 11.1%
Blue Jackets – 9.1%
Red Wings – 8.1%
Canucks – 7.9%
Sharks – 6.4%
Senators – 6%
Kings – 5.7%
Coyotes – 3.2%
Blackhawks – 3%
Flames – 2.9%
Flyers – 2%
Stars – 1.6%
Rangers – 1%


Connor McDavid, Oilers – 100 points
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 79
Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs – 67
Brad Marchand, Bruins – 67
Patrick Kane, Blackhawks – 66


Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 40 goals
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 32
Alex DeBrincat, Blackhawks – 31
Mikko Rantanen, Avalanche – 30
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 30

More NHL news

The Buzzer: Flames stay alive on light Sunday in NHL John Tortorella, Blue Jackets ‘mutually agree to part ways’ Connor McDavid only needs 53 games to score 100 points

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Push for the Playoffs: Will Canadiens finally clinch a playoff spot? originally appeared on NBCSports.com