Push for the Playoffs: Capitals, Islanders start series with big East Division implications

James O'Brien
·3 min read

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.

All due respect to the Flyers and Rangers, but it doesn’t look like there will be much drama when it comes to which four East Division teams will make the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. But between the Bruins, Capitals, Islanders, and Penguins, there could be some fierce battles for home-ice advantage, and playoff seeding.

With that in mind, the Capitals and Islanders could shape and reshape their playoff outlooks during their upcoming three-game, head-to-head set.

In the case of the Capitals, they follow those three games vs. the Islanders with two against the Penguins, so April 24 – May 1 represents a huge week for Peter Laviolette & Co.

“I feel we’re down the road of a season where everybody understands what we’re doing now, and there shouldn’t be any excuses with regard to not understanding that or how we move about our business.” Laviolette said. “I think that the stretch and the teams that we have to play in the stretch are games where we’ll have to play the right way. And by doing that, you prepare yourself for the playoffs.”

Motivation shouldn’t be an issue for the Capitals or Islanders. If they need it, though, they merely need to scroll down and check out those East Division standings.

[Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

IF PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY (matchups by total points)

EAST DIVISION
1. Capitals vs. 4. Bruins
2. Islanders vs. 3. Penguins

NORTH DIVISION
1. Maple Leafs vs. 4. Canadiens
2. Jets vs. 3. Oilers

WEST DIVISION
1. Golden Knights vs. 4. Coyotes
2. Avalanche vs. 3. Wild

(NOTE: St. Louis currently holds a better points percentage than Arizona — .512 to .479.)

CENTRAL DIVISION
1. Hurricanes vs. 4. Predators
2. Panthers vs. 3. Lightning

(NOTE: Dallas currently holds a better points percentage than Nashville — .556 to .542.)

TODAY’S KEY GAMES

Maple Leafs vs. Jets, 7 p.m. ET
Flyers vs. Rangers, 7 p.m. ET
Capitals vs. Islanders, 7 p.m. ET
Hurricanes vs. Panthers, 7 p.m. ET
Avalanche vs. Blues, 8 p.m. ET

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Penguins – 99.4%
Capitals – 99.1%
Islanders – 98.4%
Bruins – 96.2%
Rangers – 6.8%
Flyers – 0.2%
Devils – eliminated
Sabres – eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Maple Leafs – 99.99%
Jets – 99.9%
Oilers – 98.9%
Canadiens – 85.3%
Flames – 8.4%
Canucks – 7.6%
Senators – 0%

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Hurricanes – 100%
Panthers – 100%
Lightning – 99.96%
Stars – 57.6%
Predators – 37.5%
Blackhawks – 4.9%
Blue Jackets – 0%
Red Wings – 0%

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via MoneyPuck)

Golden Knights – CLINCHED
Avalanche – 100%
Wild – 100%
Blues – 46.2%
Coyotes – 21.9%
Kings – 25.5%
Sharks – 6.3%
Ducks – 0%

draft lottery
Getty Images

DRAFT LOTTERY PICTURE (via MoneyPuck)

Sabres – 17.4%
Ducks – 12.1%
Devils – 10.2%
Blue Jackets – 9.7%
Senators – 9.3%
Red Wings – 8.9%
Sharks – 5.8%
Canucks – 4.1%
Kings – 3.9%
Coyotes – 3.9%
Flames – 3.5%
Blackhawks – 2.7%
Flyers – 2.6%
Blues – 2.4%
Predators – 1.1%
Rangers – 1.1%

ART ROSS TROPHY RACE
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 77 points
Leon Draisaitl, Oilers – 64
Patrick Kane, Blackhawks – 58
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 55
Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs – 55
Brad Marchand, Bruins – 55

ROCKET RICHARD RACE
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs – 33 goals
Mikko Rantanen, Avalanche – 26
Connor McDavid, Oilers – 25
Alex Ovechkin, Capitals – 24
Brad Marchand, Bruins – 24
Alex DeBrincat, Blackhawks – 23

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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: Capitals, Islanders start series with big East Division implications originally appeared on NBCSports.com