Stars-Oilers [1296x729]
Stars-Oilers [1296x729] (Credit: Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

Rays closer Fairbanks to IL with nerve issues

As noted in the March 23 episode of the playoff watch this season, winning the Presidents' Trophy doesn't guarantee a team will win the Stanley Cup (though it's not a curse, as some still claim). One thing it does guarantee: home-ice advantage for as long as the winner continues playing, which is no small thing.

So where does the race stand heading into Wednesday's action?

The New York Rangers are atop the league, with 104 points and 39 regulation wins. They have a game forthcoming against the rival New Jersey Devils (7 p.m. ET, TNT), a continuation of a series of games that have been feisty for the past few decades. The Rangers face just one more team currently in playoff position the rest of the way, but they have two more games against their other big rival, the New York Islanders, who are battling hard in an attempt to get back into a wild-card spot. Stathletes projects the Rangers to finish with 113.9 standings points, which is the most in the league.

Somewhat under the radar, the Dallas Stars are just a point behind the Rangers, but with three fewer regulation wins. The Stars have a theoretically more difficult opponent on Wednesday in the Edmonton Oilers (9:30 p.m. ET, NHL Power Play on ESPN+), and also face the Colorado Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets down the stretch. The projection for the Stars is 112.3 points, which is second most.

The Pacific Division-leading Vancouver Canucks are on the Arizona State campus Wednesday for a matchup against the Arizona Coyotes (10 p.m. ET, NHL Power Play on ESPN+). The Canucks sit at 100 points, but they have 40 regulation wins, an important edge if there's a tie atop the points column at season's end. The Canucks have the most challenging remaining schedule of these three clubs, with showdowns against the Los Angeles Kings, Vegas Golden Knights, Oilers and Jets coming in the season's final weeks. Stathletes projects Vancouver to finish with 109.9 points, which is fifth most (also behind the Avs and the Carolina Hurricanes).

But what about the Atlantic leaders? The idle Boston Bruins (103 points, 34 regulation wins) and Florida Panthers (99, 38) are obviously still a threat to make a final push for the regular-season points title. But the Stathletes model doesn't like their chances quite as much, with Florida projected for 109.7 points and Boston 109.4.

As we traverse 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 2024 NHL draft lottery.

Note: Playoff chances are via Stathletes.

Jump ahead: Current playoff matchups Clinching scenario Wednesday's schedule Tuesday's scores Expanded standings Race for No. 1 pick

Current playoff matchups

Eastern Conference

A1 Boston Bruins vs. WC1 Tampa Bay Lightning A2 Florida Panthers vs. A3 Toronto Maple Leafs M1 New York Rangers vs. WC2 Washington Capitals M2 Carolina Hurricanes vs. M3 Philadelphia Flyers

Western Conference

C1 Dallas Stars vs. WC2 Los Angeles Kings C2 Colorado Avalanche vs. C3 Winnipeg Jets P1 Vancouver Canucks vs. WC1 Nashville Predators P2 Edmonton Oilers vs. P3 Vegas Golden Knights

Clinching scenario

The Toronto Maple Leafs can clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning or if they lose in an overtime or shootout to the Lightning.

Wednesday's games

Note: All times ET. All games not on TNT or NHL Network are available via NHL Power Play, which is included in an ESPN+ subscription (local blackout restrictions apply).

Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers, 7 p.m. (TNT) Edmonton Oilers at Dallas Stars, 9:30 p.m. Seattle Kraken at Los Angeles Kings, 9:30 p.m (TNT) Vancouver Canucks at Arizona Coyotes, 10 p.m.

Tuesday's scoreboard

Buffalo Sabres 6, Washington Capitals 2 Montreal Canadiens 5, Florida Panthers 3 Pittsburgh Penguins 6, New Jersey Devils 3 New York Islanders 2, Chicago Blackhawks 1 Boston Bruins 3, Nashville Predators 0 Minnesota Wild 3, Ottawa Senators 2 Anaheim Ducks 5, Calgary Flames 3 Vegas Golden Knights 6, Vancouver Canucks 3

Expanded standings Atlantic Division x - Boston Bruins

Points: 103 Regulation wins: 34 Playoff position: A1 Games left: 6 Points pace: 111 Next game: @ CAR (Thursday) Playoff chances: 100% Tragic number: N/A

x - Florida Panthers

Points: 99 Regulation wins: 38 Playoff position: A2 Games left: 6 Points pace: 107 Next game: @ OTT (Thursday) Playoff chances: 100% Tragic number: N/A

Toronto Maple Leafs

Points: 95 Regulation wins: 31 Playoff position: A3 Games left: 8 Points pace: 105 Next game: vs. TB (Wednesday) Playoff chances: 99.9% Tragic number: N/A

Tampa Bay Lightning

Points: 89 Regulation wins: 33 Playoff position: WC1 Games left: 8 Points pace: 99 Next game: @ TOR (Wednesday) Playoff chances: 99.9% Tragic number: N/A

Detroit Red Wings

Points: 82 Regulation wins: 26 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 7 Points pace: 90 Next game: vs. NYR (Friday) Playoff chances: 45.9% Tragic number: 14

Buffalo Sabres

Points: 77 Regulation wins: 30 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 6 Points pace: 83 Next game: vs. PHI (Friday) Playoff chances: 0.7% Tragic number: 7

Ottawa Senators

Points: 70 Regulation wins: 24 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 8 Points pace: 78 Next game: vs. FLA (Thursday) Playoff chances: ~0% Tragic number: 4

Montreal Canadiens

Points: 70 Regulation wins: 19 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 8 Points pace: 78 Next game: vs. TB (Thursday) Playoff chances: ~0% Tragic number: 4

Metropolitan Division x - New York Rangers

Points: 104 Regulation wins: 39 Playoff position: M1 Games left: 7 Points pace: 114 Next game: vs. NJ (Wednesday) Playoff chances: 100% Tragic number: N/A

x - Carolina Hurricanes

Points: 101 Regulation wins: 39 Playoff position: M2 Games left: 7 Points pace: 110 Next game: vs. BOS (Thursday) Playoff chances: 100% Tragic number: N/A

Philadelphia Flyers

Points: 83 Regulation wins: 28 Playoff position: M3 Games left: 6 Points pace: 90 Next game: @ BUF (Friday) Playoff chances: 54.9% Tragic number: N/A

Washington Capitals

Points: 82 Regulation wins: 28 Playoff position: WC2 Games left: 8 Points pace: 91 Next game: vs. PIT (Thursday) Playoff chances: 52.9% Tragic number: N/A

New York Islanders

Points: 81 Regulation wins: 24 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 7 Points pace: 89 Next game: @ CBJ (Thursday) Playoff chances: 34.0% Tragic number: 13

Pittsburgh Penguins

Points: 79 Regulation wins: 29 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 7 Points pace: 86 Next game: @ WSH (Thursday) Playoff chances: 10.2% Tragic number: 11

New Jersey Devils

Points: 76 Regulation wins: 31 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 7 Points pace: 83 Next game: @ NYR (Wednesday) Playoff chances: 1.5% Tragic number: 8

e - Columbus Blue Jackets

Points: 62 Regulation wins: 19 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 7 Points pace: 68 Next game: vs. NYI (Thursday) Playoff chances: 0% Tragic number: E

Central Division x - Dallas Stars

Points: 103 Regulation wins: 36 Playoff position: C1 Games left: 7 Points pace: 113 Next game: vs. EDM (Wednesday) Playoff chances: 100% Tragic number: N/A

x - Colorado Avalanche

Points: 100 Regulation wins: 39 Playoff position: C2 Games left: 7 Points pace: 109 Next game: @ MIN (Thursday) Playoff chances: 100% Tragic number: N/A

Winnipeg Jets

Points: 96 Regulation wins: 40 Playoff position: C3 Games left: 7 Points pace: 105 Next game: vs. CGY (Thursday) Playoff chances: 99.9% Tragic number: N/A

Nashville Predators

Points: 90 Regulation wins: 35 Playoff position: WC1 Games left: 7 Points pace: 98 Next game: vs. STL (Thursday) Playoff chances: 98.4% Tragic number: N/A

St. Louis Blues

Points: 84 Regulation wins: 29 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 7 Points pace: 92 Next game: @ NSH (Thursday) Playoff chances: 5.8% Tragic number: 11

Minnesota Wild

Points: 81 Regulation wins: 29 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 8 Points pace: 90 Next game: vs. COL (Thursday) Playoff chances: 3.8% Tragic number: 10

e - Arizona Coyotes

Points: 67 Regulation wins: 25 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 8 Points pace: 74 Next game: vs. VAN (Wednesday) Playoff chances: 0% Tragic number: E

e - Chicago Blackhawks

Points: 49 Regulation wins: 16 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 7 Points pace: 54 Next game: vs. DAL (Saturday) Playoff chances: 0% Tragic number: E

Pacific Division x - Vancouver Canucks

Points: 100 Regulation wins: 40 Playoff position: P1 Games left: 7 Points pace: 109 Next game: @ ARI (Wednesday) Playoff chances: 100% Tragic number: N/A

Edmonton Oilers

Points: 95 Regulation wins: 35 Playoff position: P2 Games left: 9 Points pace: 107 Next game: @ DAL (Wednesday) Playoff chances: 99.9% Tragic number: N/A

Vegas Golden Knights

Points: 92 Regulation wins: 32 Playoff position: P3 Games left: 7 Points pace: 101 Next game: @ ARI (Friday) Playoff chances: 99.6% Tragic number: N/A

Los Angeles Kings

Points: 87 Regulation wins: 32 Playoff position: WC2 Games left: 8 Points pace: 96 Next game: vs. SEA (Wednesday) Playoff chances: 92.4% Tragic number: N/A

Seattle Kraken

Points: 75 Regulation wins: 25 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 8 Points pace: 83 Next game: @ LA (Wednesday) Playoff chances: ~0% Tragic number: 4

Calgary Flames

Points: 73 Regulation wins: 29 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 8 Points pace: 81 Next game: @ WPG (Thursday) Playoff chances: ~0% Tragic number: 2

e - Anaheim Ducks

Points: 54 Regulation wins: 19 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 6 Points pace: 58 Next game: vs. SEA (Friday) Playoff chances: 0% Tragic number: E

e - San Jose Sharks

Points: 42 Regulation wins: 13 Playoff position: N/A Games left: 8 Points pace: 47 Next game: vs. LA (Thursday) Playoff chances: 0% Tragic number: E

p -- clinched Presidents' Trophy y -- clinched division x -- clinched playoff berth e -- eliminated from playoff contention

Race for the No. 1 pick

The NHL uses a draft lottery to determine the order of the first round, so the team that finishes in last place is not guaranteed the No. 1 selection. As of 2021, a team can 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. Sitting No. 1 on the draft board for this summer is Macklin Celebrini, a freshman at Boston University.

1. San Jose Sharks

Points: 42 Regulation wins: 13

2. Chicago Blackhawks

Points: 49 Regulation wins: 16

3. Anaheim Ducks

Points: 54 Regulation wins: 19

4. Columbus Blue Jackets

Points: 62 Regulation wins: 19

5. Arizona Coyotes

Points: 67 Regulation wins: 25

6. Montreal Canadiens

Points: 70 Regulation wins: 19

7. Ottawa Senators

Points: 70 Regulation wins: 24

8. Calgary Flames

Points: 73 Regulation wins: 29

9. Seattle Kraken

Points: 75 Regulation wins: 25

10. New Jersey Devils

Points: 76 Regulation wins: 31

11. Buffalo Sabres

Points: 77 Regulation wins: 30

12. Pittsburgh Penguins*

Points: 79 Regulation wins: 29

13. New York Islanders

Points: 81 Regulation wins: 24

14. Minnesota Wild

Points: 81 Regulation wins: 29

15. Detroit Red Wings

Points: 82 Regulation wins: 26

16. St. Louis Blues

Points: 84 Regulation wins: 29

* The Penguins' first-round pick was traded to the Sharks as part of the Erik Karlsson trade. However, it is top-10 protected.