NHL playoff picture: Capitals pushing for playoff contention

USA TODAY Sports

The NHL postseason is on the horizon, with many teams still in the fight for playoff seeding.

There was little movement in the NHL playoff seedings following action Monday night.

The Minnesota Wild managed to regain the Northwest Division lead from the Vancouver Canucks following a 7-4 victory over the Dallas Stars, while the San Jose Sharks grabbed hold of the eighth seed after a 5-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Here are the current playoff standing entering competition on Tuesday:

Eastern Conference

1. Pittsburgh Penguins, 50 points (33 games played)
2. Montreal Canadiens, 45 points (31 GP)
3. Winnipeg Jets, 36 points (33 GP)
4. Boston Bruins, 45 points (31 GP)
5. Ottawa Senators, 42 points (33 GP)
6. Toronto Maple Leafs, 38 points (33 GP)
7. New Jersey Devils, 37 points (33 GP)
8. New York Rangers, 33 points (31 GP)

Western Conference

1. Chicago Blackhawks, 51 points (31 GP)
2. Anaheim Ducks, 48 points (32 GP)
3. Minnesota Wild, 40 points (31 GP)
4. Vancouver Canucks, 40 points (32 GP)
5. Detroit Red Wings, 39 points (33 GP)
6. Los Angeles Kings, 38 points (32 GP)
7. St. Louis Blues, 36 points (31 GP)
8. San Jose Sharks, 34 points (31 GP)

Here are games scheduled for Tuesday that could directly affect playoff positioning:

New York Islanders vs. Washington Capitals, 7 p.m., ET

The Capitals have risen out of the depths of the Eastern Conference's cellar to pull within two points of the eighth seed. The Islanders are also two points back and both squads will have a chance to tie the Rangers in total points (dependent on their outcome against the Philadelphia Flyers). However, neither team will climb any higher than ninth given that each will have played one more game than the Rangers.

Winnipeg Jets vs. Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m., ET

In the event of any kind of Rangers loss and a Carolina win/over time loss, the Hurricanes can move back into eighth place. They hold the tiebreaker because they have played fewer games than the Rangers.

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m., ET

The battle for the Northwest Division continues on Tuesday night. If the Canucks earn a point against the Blue Jackets, they retake the lead.

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