NHL Playoff Clinching Scenarios & Player Milestones – 4/10/24 – The Hockey Writers – NHL News

The NHL has three scheduled games tonight. It’s a strictly Western Conference slate featuring playoff-clinching scenarios and a race to win a division crown.

Projected Lineups

Chicago Blackhawks – St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m.

Vegas Golden Knights – Edmonton Oilers 8:30 p.m.

Arizona Coyotes – Vancouver Canucks, 10:30 p.m.

Clinching Playoff Scenarios

Keeping all these games together since they have intertwined clinching and elimination scenarios.

The Vegas Golden Knights have a few avenues tonight they can take en route to securing a playoff spot. The defending Stanley Cup champions can clinch a spot through the following ways. The first scenario comes if they defeat the Edmonton Oilers in regulation AND the St. Louis Blues lose to the Chicago Blackhawks. It can be in regulation or overtime. If they defeat the Oilers in overtime or shootout, then the Blues need to lose to the Blackhawks in regulation. This regulation loss would, in turn, lock the Los Angeles Kings into a playoff spot.

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Blues playoff hopes hang on by a fraying thread. However, based on both scenarios, if they win, they live to fight another day. If the Blues’ playoff hopes come to an end, all eight playoff teams in the Western Conference would be set. Their seeding would not be, however. Regarding these games, the Golden Knights can leapfrog the Kings into third place in the Pacific Division if they win. A loss in regulation or overtime would keep them where they are now (second wild card).

The Vancouver Canucks got into first place in the Pacific Division on Dec. 21 and have held the position for the last 111 days. They look to keep that streak going tonight with a win over the Arizona Coyotes. This game holds implications, especially if they lose in regulation. That scenario puts the Oilers in further control of their destiny from a division-winning standpoint.

The Oilers sit at 99 points and have a game against the Coyotes on Friday. Should the Oilers win both games and the Canucks lose in regulation, they would have a chance to jump into first place on Saturday with a win in regulation.

Along with the Blackhawks, the Coyotes have already been eliminated from playoff contention and would simply be in the upset role (if you are the Canucks).

Honorable Mentions

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has an outside chance of reaching a career milestone tonight. He has a shot at reaching 700 career points. He is currently at 696. A big night by Nugent-Hopkins would certainly be welcomed by the Oilers who are looking to do what they can to win the Pacific Division.