NHL Eastern Conference Playoff Picture if the Season Ended Today

The NHL season hasn’t hit the halfway point yet, but it’s never too early to start talking about playoffs. Teams are vying for crucial postseason positioning to gain an edge in their quest to capture Lord Stanley. Throughout the remainder of the season, we’ll keep track of how the Eastern Conference playoff picture is shaping up. 

NHL Eastern Conference Playoff Picture if the Season Ended Today 

No. 1 Atlantic Division – Boston Bruins vs. No. 2 Wild Card – Pittsburgh Penguins 

No. 1 Metropolitan Division – Carolina Hurricanes vs. No. 1 Wild Card – New York Rangers 

No. 2 Atlantic Division – Toronto Maple Leafs vs. No. 3 Atlantic Division  – Tampa Bay Lightning 

No 2. Metropolitan Division – New Jersey Devils vs. No. 3 Metropolitan Division – Washington Capitals 

There’s no question that the Bruins (32-4-4) are the best of the best. With 68 points, they’re not just the No. 1 team in the conference but also the No. 1 team in the league. They are nine points ahead of the second-place Hurricanes, who gained some distance in the divisional standings with an 11-game win streak in December. The Leafs are close behind the Hurricanes in conference standings, but there’s a decent drop-off after that. Expect shifting between the Devils, Capitals, Rangers, Lightning, and Penguins for the remainder of the season. 

The B’s are on pace for a record-setting 139 points in an 82-game season. Other teams in the conference aren’t necessarily trying to catch them in the standings but rather avoid them when it comes to playoff seeding. Although anything can happen in the postseason, meeting the B’s in the early rounds would be a significant challenge. Meanwhile, the Bruins shouldn’t be concerned about playoff pairings. They’ve proven they can beat anyone in this league, especially with a home-ice advantage.