When do the NHL playoffs start? Schedule, standings, odds for 2019 Stanley Cup chase

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(Getty Images)

The 2018-19 NHL regular season is drawing to a close, and while some teams are in full “Lose for Hughes” mode, others are gearing up for a playoff run.

Every team still in the race is within a few points of their closest competitor, except for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who handily clinched the Presidents’ Trophy. Is this the year Steven Stamkos and Co. lift the Stanley Cup? Or will Joe Thornton end his Hall of Fame career with one last trophy?

Only time will tell who this year’s playoff heroes and losers will be.

Below are the latest NHL standings, along with odds, projections, and everything else there is to know as the 2018-19 season nears its end.

When do the 2019 NHL playoffs start?

The last day of the NHL regular season is Saturday, April 6, with 15 games on the slate. The 2019 playoffs begin three days later on April 9.

How do the Stanley Cup playoffs work?

Eight teams in each conference qualify. Each best-of-seven series is played in a 2–2–1–1–1 format, and the winners advances to the next round.

In the first round, the top seed in each conference plays the second wild card winner while the other division winner plays the first wild card. In each division, the second and third place teams battle it out to see who will advance to the conference semifinals. 

Teams that advance to the conference semifinals are reseeded with the highest seed playing the lowest. 

NHL standings

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Record Points Games left
p-Tampa Bay Lightning 58-13-4 120 7
Boston Bruins 45-20-9 99 8
Toronto Maple Leafs 44-25-5 93 9
Metropolitan Record Points Games left
Washington Capitals 43-24-8 94 8
New York Islanders 42-25-7 91 8
Pittsburgh Penguins 40-24-11 91 7
Wild Card Record Points Games left
Carolina Hurricanes 40-26-7 87 9
Montreal Canadiens 39-28-7 85 8
Columbus Blue Jackets 40-30-4 84 8
Philadelphia Flyers 36-30-8 80 8
Florida Panthers 33-29-12 78 8
Buffalo Sabres 31-33-9 71 9
z-New York Rangers 28-32-13 69 9
z-New Jersey Devils 27-39-9 63 7
z-Detroit Red Wings 26-38-10 62 8
z- Ottawa Senators 25-43-6 56 8

Western Conference

Central Record Points Games left
Winnipeg Jets 44-26-4 92 8
Nashville Predators 42-27-6 90 7
St. Louis Blues 39-27-8 86 8
Pacific Record Points Games left
x-Calgary Flames 46-21-7 99 8
x-San Jose Sharks 43-23-9 95 7
Vegas Golden Knights 42-27-5 89 8
Wild Card Record Points Games left
Dallas Stars 38-30-6 82 8
Minnesota Wild 35-31-9 79 7
Colorado Avalanche 33-29-12 78 8
Arizona Coyotes 36-32-6 78 8
Chicago Blackhawks 32-31-10 74 9
Vancouver Canucks 32-32-10 74 8
Edmonton Oilers 33-34-7 73 8
Anaheim Ducks 31-36-9 71 6
z-Los Angeles Kings 26-39-8 60 9

p-clinched Presidents’ Trophy
x-clinched playoff spot
z-eliminated

NHL playoff picture: Potential Round 1 matchups

Here’s how the 2019 Stanley Cup playoff’s first-round series would look if the season ended today.

Eastern Conference

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens
Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Western Conference

Calgary Flames vs. Minnesota Wild
San Jose Sharks vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Winnipeg Jets vs. Dallas Stars
Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues

Last updated March 22

Updated odds to win the 2019 Stanley Cup

Team Odds*
Tampa Bay Lightning 5/2
San Jose Sharks 6/1
Vegas Golden Knights 8/1
Boston Bruins 10/1
Washington Capitals 10/1
Calgary Flames 12/1
Nashville Predators 12/1
St. Louis Blues 12/1
Winnipeg Jets 12/1
Pittsburgh Penguins 14/1
Toronto Maple Leafs 14/1
Carolina Hurricanes 30/1
Columbus Blue Jackets 30/1
New York Islanders 30/1
Dallas Stars 50/1
Minnesota Wild 50/1
Montreal Canadiens 60/1
Arizona Coyotes 80/1
Colorado Avalanche 80/1
Chicago Blackhawks 300/1
Edmonton Oilers 300/1
Philadelphia Flyers 300/1
Buffalo Sabres 500/1
Florida Panthers 500/1
New York Rangers 500/1
Vancouver Canucks 500/1
Anaheim Ducks 1000/1