The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs begin on Wednesday April 10 and the regular season ends on Saturday April 6. The Eastern Conference playoff race has been crazy.
The Montreal Canadiens currently hold onto the eight spot in the east with a 39-28-7 record with 85 points. The Columbus Blue Jackets are currently in ninth with a 40-34-4 record with 84 points. The Philadelphia Flyers are currently in tenth with a 36-30-8 record with 80 points.
Columbus has a 53.7 percent chance to reach the postseason according to hockey reference, Montreal has a 52.7 percent chance to reach the postseason according to hockey reference, and Philadelphia has a 2.9 percent chance to reach the postseason according to hockey reference.
Four of the final eight games for the Blue Jackets is against non-playoff teams. However, they will face the Montreal Canadiens at home next Thursday March 28.
Two of the final eight games for the Canadiens is against non-playoff teams.
Seven of the final eight games for the Flyers is against playoff teams. It is quite possible the game at home against the Carolina Hurricanes on the final day of the regular season could be for a playoff spot.
Even though goaltender Carter Hart has carried Philadelphia up to this point, playing against tough teams down the stretch won’t allow them to reach the postseason.
Columbus should reach the postseason with their soft schedule and the players they have on the roster, but I have a ton of doubts about them because I don’t know if they are willing to work for it and the Blue Jackets have lost the last three games.
Montreal has a brutal four-game stretch to end the season against the Winnipeg Jets, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, and the Toronto Maple Leafs, but I feel like they will be the team that works the hardest and because of that, the Canadiens will be the final team in the east postseason.
That also means I think they will also beat the Columbus Blue Jackets on the road in a marquee match up next Thursday.