The 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin on April 17, so we’re about 10 days away from playoff hockey. Despite being that many days away from the postseason, we still have very little clarity on how the matchups will shake out. That’s a testament to how competitive the NHL has grown in 2022-23. Below we’ll take a look at the updated playoff bracket for the Eastern Conference and Western Conference with some analysis.
Eastern Conference playoff bracket
No. 1 ATL — Boston Bruins — 133 points
WC2 MET — Florida Panthers — 92 points
No. 2 ATL — Toronto Maple Leafs — 109 points
No. 3 ATL — Tampa Bay Lightning — 96 points
No. 1 MET — Carolina Hurricanes — 113 points
WC1 MET — New York Islanders — 93 points
No. 2 MET — New Jersey Devils — 110 points
No. 3 MET — New York Rangers — 107 points
Note: Bracket is updated as of April 14.
Update — The seeds in the Eastern Conference are set after the Hurricanes defeated the Panthers on Thursday night. Carolina will be the top seed in the Metro and face the WC1 New York Islanders. While the Devils will face the rival Rangers in the first round. The Bruins will take on the Florida Panthers.
Update — The Islanders have clinched the spot and the Penguins have been eliminated. Now, to just decide the three other matchups in the Eastern Conference on Thursday.
Update — So things have finally gotten a bit interesting in the East Wild Card. The Islanders lost on Monday night, the Panthers picked up a point and so did the Sabres. With a few games left, the Islanders are in the worst position. The Penguins control their own destiny. Pittsburgh wins two games and it is in. The Panthers are also in with a win in their season finale vs. the Hurricanes.
The ‘Canes need a win to secure the top seed in the Metro. If Carolina splits the last two games and the Devils win out, New Jersey gets the No. 1 seed from the division. The Rangers can’t jump the Hurricanes but can still get home-ice advantage if the Devils falter a bit.
Update — The Senators were officially eliminated from playoff contention, so the Pens, Isles and Panthers remain for the East Wild Card. Everyone is off Friday and all three teams play Saturday.
The race in the Atlantic Division is basically decided. The Bruins are the top seed by a wide margin and the Leafs should host the Bolts in the first round. Toronto will almost definitely get home-ice advantage.
As for the Metro, the Canes, Devils and Rangers remain three points apart each. So there’s a chance we see all three teams move a bit before the end of the regular season. The Devils are the best of the road teams and the Hurricanes are very good at home.
The Wild Card is down to three teams with the Pens, Isles and Panthers. Pitt is behind by a point and trail in terms of regulation wins. The Penguins also have an easy schedule down the stretch. All three teams won’t have a rough time, so it could come down to tiebreakers or settle like the standings are now.
Western Conference playoff bracket
No. 1 PAC — Vegas Golden Knights — 111 points
WC2 CEN — Winnipeg Jets — 95 points
No. 2 PAC — Edmonton Oilers — 109 points
No. 3 PAC — Los Angeles Kings — 104 points
No. 1 CEN — Colorado Avalanche — 109 points
WC1 PAC — Seattle Kraken — 100 points
No. 2 CEN — Dallas Stars — 108 points
No. 3 CEN — Minnesota Wild — 103 points
Note: Bracket is updated as of April 15.
Update — The Flames were eliminated with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Predators on Monday night. The Preds still have two games left and an outside shot at jumping Winnipeg. If the Jets lose their last two games and Nashville wins out, the Preds get in as the second WC. The rest of the field is set but seeding is yet to be decided and should come down to the final games of the season for most of the teams.
Update — The Preds enter this weekend a point out of the Wild Card in the West. Nashville has as good a shot as any to sneak into the playoffs again. The Flames only have three games remaining while the Preds and Jets have four games left. Nashville and Calgary face each other on Monday in what is essentially going to feel like a playoff game. The Kraken have already clinched at least a Wild Card spot in the playoffs, so it’s down to the last spot in the West.
The Avs, Wild and Stars are all tied at 98 points but the Avs have a game on both Minnesota and Dallas. Colorado still has the advantage with a game in hand. Worst case is the Avs get home-ice against the Stars or Wild in the first round. In terms of teams who need home-ice in the first round, the Wild are a much better home team. Minnesota should push the last stretch of games. The Avalanche may ease off the pedal a bit. Colorado is strong on the road so may not favor home-ice advantage as much. Colorado won nine of 16 games on the road last year during the run to the Stanley Cup championship.
The Oilers are a point behind the Golden Knights but Vegas has a game in hand. The Kings aren’t 100% in the clear for the top-3 seeds in the Pacific. If L.A. were to lose out and the Kraken were to win out, Seattle would jump out of the Wild Card. The Kings have to at least split their final four games to feel good about staying in the No. 3 spot in the division. Dropping down could mean having to face the Avs, Wild or Stars in the first round (which may not be that bad anyway).
The Calgary Flames and Jets are tied at 89 points heading into the final stretch of games. Winnipeg has a game in hand on Calgary, which provides an advantage. Seattle is up five points and has games on both the Flames and Jets, so chances are the Kraken will be the first WC in the West.