NHL Playoff Watch Daily: Battle of Florida takes center stage

2 weeks ago 5

7:31 AM ET

Tim KavanaghESPN.com

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Tim Kavanagh is a senior NHL editor for ESPN. He's a native of upstate New York.

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.

Washington Capitals

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

New York Islanders

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

Pittsburgh Penguins

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

Boston Bruins

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

New York Rangers

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

Philadelphia Flyers

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

New Jersey Devils

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

Buffalo Sabres

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

Carolina Hurricanes

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

Tampa Bay Lightning

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

Florida Panthers

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

Nashville Predators

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

Chicago Blackhawks

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

Dallas Stars

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

Columbus Blue Jackets

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

Detroit Red Wings

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.

Toronto Maple Leafs

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

Winnipeg Jets

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

Edmonton Oilers

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

Montreal Canadiens

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

Calgary Flames

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

Vancouver Canucks

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

Ottawa Senators

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.

Colorado Avalanche

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

Vegas Golden Knights

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

Minnesota Wild

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

St. Louis Blues

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

Arizona Coyotes

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

San Jose Sharks

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

Los Angeles Kings

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

Anaheim Ducks

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.

1. Buffalo Sabres

Points: 29
Regulation wins: 8

2. Ottawa Senators

Points: 32
Regulation wins: 10

3. New Jersey Devils

Points: 34
Regulation wins: 11

4. Anaheim Ducks

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 9

5. Vancouver Canucks

Points: 35
Regulation wins: 11

6. Detroit Red Wings

Points: 38
Regulation wins: 14

7. Los Angeles Kings

Points: 38
Regulation wins: 14

8. Columbus Blue Jackets

Points: 39
Regulation wins: 11

9. San Jose Sharks

Points: 40
Regulation wins: 12

10. Calgary Flames

Points: 41
Regulation wins: 16

11. Arizona Coyotes

Points: 43
Regulation wins: 15

12. Dallas Stars

Points: 44
Regulation wins: 14

13. Chicago Blackhawks

Points: 45
Regulation wins: 13

14. Philadelphia Flyers

Points: 46
Regulation wins: 13

15. New York Rangers

Points: 48
Regulation wins: 18

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