With the 2018-19 NHL season winding down, the race for the final wild-card spot in the East is getting tight.
A Look at the NHL East Wild Card Race
Here is a current snapshot of the standings, and a break down of how things might pan out in the coming week.
The Carolina Hurricanes currently hold the first wild-card spot in the East with 91 points and a 42-28-7 record.
Since the new year, the Hurricanes has been one of the hottest teams in the NHL. A big reason for their success is due to Jordan Staal’s return and impressive two-way play. Additionally, Nino Niederreiter has been a major contributor (26 points, 31 games) since being acquired from the Minnesota Wild earlier this year.
Carolina currently has one game in hand over the Montreal Canadiens. Additionally, they have one more point than the Blue Jackets despite playing the same amount of games (77).
If the Hurricanes are able to win three of their final five games, one must like their chances of securing a wild-card spot in the East.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets made “all-in-moves” at the NHL trade deadline.
It is pretty much a “playoff-or-bust” scenario for this team.
The team came up with a big 6-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. As a result, they currently hold down the final wild-card spot in the East with a 43-30-4 record and 90 points.
Artemi Panarin has also been hot, registering a point in six of his last eight games.
They have five games left facing three non-playoff teams including the Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers. These are games that they should be able to win, but they have been inconsistent at times this year.
It remains to be seen if John Tortorella can light a fire under his troops and get them to secure a wild-card spot. Otherwise, the Blue Jackets’ roster can look very different next season.
The Montreal Canadiens have the odds stacked against them for the final wild-card spot in the East. They have the least amount of games (4) remaining and currently sit ninth in the East.
Out of every team on this list, they also have the most difficult schedule.
The odds are not in their favor, as they pretty much have to win all their games to have a shot at securing a wild-card spot. They will also have to do it without Paul Byron. It looks like he will miss at least a game or two, due a recent head injury.