Anytime the Dallas Stars and the Minnesota Wild face off, it’s a reminder of when the North Stars relocated from Minnesota to Texas, and all of the anger about that decision for years to come among residents of the State of Hockey. Fun fact: That franchise has now played more regular-season games as the Dallas Stars than the Minnesota North Stars.

In other words, there is some additional heat for the intradivisional clash between the two clubs Thursday night (8 p.m. ET on ESPN). And oh yeah, both teams also have their sights set on the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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For the Wild, the battle continues to earn home-ice advantage in the No. 2 vs. No. 3 matchup against the St. Louis Blues. Currently, the clubs both have 96 points, and the Wild have a game in hand; however, they need to remain ahead because St. Louis has a significant lead on the regulation wins counter (39 to 33).

As for the Stars, they enter Thursday night’s matchup as the West’s second wild card, three points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights (with one game in hand), and one point behind the Nashville Predators for the first wild-card spot. One would imagine that getting that first wild card carries extra weight because it means a matchup against the Calgary Flames and not the Colorado Avalanche in the first round; however, the Stars won the season series against the Avs, two games to one, so perhaps they wouldn’t mind playing David against this year’s version of Goliath.

As we enter the final stretch of the 2021-22 regular season, it’s time to check in on all the playoff races — along with the teams jockeying for position in the 2022 NHL draft lottery.

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

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 Florida Panthers vs. WC2 Washington Capitals
A2 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. A3 Tampa Bay Lightning
M1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. WC1 Boston Bruins
M2 New York Rangers vs. M3 Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference

C1 Colorado Avalanche vs. WC2 Dallas Stars
C2 Minnesota Wild vs. C3 St. Louis Blues
P1 Calgary Flames vs. WC1 Nashville Predators
P2 Edmonton Oilers vs. P3 Los Angeles Kings


Thursday’s games

Note: All times Eastern. All out-of-market games available to stream on ESPN+.

Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m.
St. Louis Blues at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m.
Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m.
Anaheim Ducks at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7 p.m.
New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m.
Detroit Red Wings at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m (ESPN+)
Edmonton Oilers at Nashville Predators, 8 p.m.
Minnesota Wild at Dallas Stars, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
San Jose Sharks at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m.
New Jersey Devils at Colorado Avalanche, 9 p.m.
Vegas Golden Knights at Calgary Flames, 9 p.m.
Arizona Coyotes at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m.


Wednesday night’s scoreboard

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

New York Rangers 4, Philadelphia Flyers 0
Columbus Blue Jackets 5, Montreal Canadiens 1
Colorado Avalanche 9, Los Angeles Kings 3


Expanded standings

Atlantic Division

x – Florida Panthers

Points: 110
Regulation wins: 38
Playoff position: A1
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. WPG (Friday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

x – Toronto Maple Leafs

Points: 100
Regulation wins: 40
Playoff position: A2
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. WSH (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Tampa Bay Lightning

Points: 96
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: A3
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. ANA (Thursday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Boston Bruins

Points: 95
Regulation wins: 35
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. OTT (Thursday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

e – Detroit Red Wings

Points: 66
Regulation wins: 17
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Next game: @ CAR (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

e – Buffalo Sabres

Points: 65
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 7
Next game: vs. STL (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

e – Ottawa Senators

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 23
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Next game: @ BOS (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

e – Montreal Canadiens

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 8
Next game: vs. NYI (Friday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Metropolitan Division

x – Carolina Hurricanes

Points: 104
Regulation wins: 42
Playoff position: M1
Games left: 8
Next game: vs. DET (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

x – New York Rangers

Points: 102
Regulation wins: 40
Playoff position: M2
Games left: 7
Next game: vs. DET (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Pittsburgh Penguins

Points: 95
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: M3
Games left: 7
Next game: vs. NYI (Thursday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Washington Capitals

Points: 92
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 9
Next game: @ TOR (Thursday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

New York Islanders

Points: 77
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: @ PIT (Thursday)
Playoff chances:
Tragic number: 5

Columbus Blue Jackets

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 8
Next game: @ LA (Saturday)
Playoff chances:
Tragic number: 1

e – New Jersey Devils

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 18
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Next game: @ COL (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

e – Philadelphia Flyers

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 18
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 8
Next game: @ BUF (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Central Division

x – Colorado Avalanche

Points: 112
Regulation wins: 43
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. NJ (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Minnesota Wild

Points: 96
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 10
Next game: @ DAL (Thursday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

St. Louis Blues

Points: 96
Regulation wins: 39
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 9
Next game: @ BUF (Thursday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Nashville Predators

Points: 89
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. EDM (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 97%
Tragic number: N/A

Dallas Stars

Points: 88
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. MIN (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 91%
Tragic number: N/A

Winnipeg Jets

Points: 81
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 8
Next game: @ FLA (Friday)
Playoff chances:
Tragic number: 9

e – Chicago Blackhawks

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. SJ (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

e – Arizona Coyotes

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Next game: @ VAN (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Pacific Division

Calgary Flames

Points: 99
Regulation wins: 40
Playoff position: P1
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. VGK (Thursday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Edmonton Oilers

Points: 90
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: P2
Games left: 8
Next game: @ NSH (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 95%
Tragic number: N/A

Los Angeles Kings

Points: 88
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: P3
Games left: 6
Next game: vs. CBJ (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 58%
Tragic number: N/A

Vegas Golden Knights

Points: 85
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 8
Next game: @ CGY (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 48%
Tragic number: 13

Vancouver Canucks

Points: 82
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 8
Next game: vs. ARI (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 10%
Tragic number: 10

e – Anaheim Ducks

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 7
Next game: @ TB (Thursday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E

San Jose Sharks

Points: 68
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 10
Next game: @ CHI (Thursday)
Playoff chances:
Tragic number: 1

e – Seattle Kraken

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 20
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 9
Next game: vs. NJ (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


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. As of 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. Arizona Coyotes

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 16

2. Montreal Canadiens

Points: 51
Regulation wins: 14

3. Seattle Kraken

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 20

4. Philadelphia Flyers

Points: 57
Regulation wins: 18

5. New Jersey Devils

Points: 58
Regulation wins: 18

6. Chicago Blackhawks

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 15

7. Ottawa Senators

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 23

8. Buffalo Sabres

Points: 65
Regulation wins: 21

9. Detroit Red Wings

Points: 66
Regulation wins: 17

10. San Jose Sharks

Points: 68
Regulation wins: 20

11. Anaheim Ducks

Points: 71
Regulation wins: 20

12. Columbus Blue Jackets

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 24

13. New York Islanders

Points: 77
Regulation wins: 31

14. Winnipeg Jets

Points: 81
Regulation wins: 28

15. Vancouver Canucks

Points: 82
Regulation wins: 29

16. Vegas Golden Knights

Points: 85
Regulation wins: 32

Notes on conditionally traded picks impacting the top 16:

  • Columbus will receive Chicago’s first-round pick if Chicago does not win either of the two draws in the 2022 draft lottery. Otherwise, the pick defers to 2023.

  • Buffalo will receive Vegas’ first-round pick if it is outside the top 10 selections. Otherwise, the pick defers to 2023.