NHL playoff picture: Devils, Oilers eliminated from postseason race

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers have been eliminated from playoff contention after their losses on Sunday.

The Boston Bruins moved back into the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference after shutting out the hapless Florida Panthers on Sunday, although the lead over the Montreal Canadiens is still tenuous at best for the top spot in the Northeast Division. The Capitals still hold onto the No. 3 spot in the standings, although the hottest team in the NHL still has some work to do lock up a playoff spot and hold off the Winnipeg Jets -- it seems the only way a team from the Southeast will make the postseason will be if that team actually wins the division.yaho

In the West, the Dallas Stars retained control of their own destiny with an overtime loss in Los Angeles on Sunday night. The Columbus Blue Jackets, despite their win on Sunday, still need some help to make the postseason as they have just two games remaining on the season -- including an important matchup on the road against those same Stars on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild might be headed into panic mode as the team failed to pick up a point on home ice and now have a very distinct chance of missing the postseason altogether.

The big news of the day, however, was the elimination from postseason contention of the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers -- two teams expected to have much better seasons than were realized.

The following are your NHL Playoff standings headed into today.

Eastern Conference

Clinched Playoff Spot:

1. Pittsburgh Penguins, 68 points (44 games played)

2. Boston Bruins, 59 points (44 GP)

4. Montreal Canadiens, 59 points (45 GP)

5. Toronto Maple Leafs, 55 points (45 GP)

Currently in Playoff Position:

3. Washington Capitals, 52 points (45 GP)

6. New York Islanders, 53 points (45 GP)

7. Ottawa Senators, 52 points (44 GP)

8. New York Rangers, 52 points (45 GP)

On the Bubble:

9. Winnipeg Jets, 49 points (45 GP)

Western Conference

Clinched Playoff Spot:

1. Chicago Blackhawks, 73 points (44 GP)

2. Anaheim Ducks, 62 points (45 GP)

3. Vancouver Canucks, 57 points (45 GP)

4. Los Angeles Kings, 57 points (45 GP)

Currently in Playoff Position:

5. San Jose Sharks, 55 points (45 GP)

6. St. Louis Blues, 54 points (45GP)

7. Minnesota Wild, 51 points (45 GP)

8. Columbus Blue Jackets, 51 points (46 GP)

On the Bubble:

9. Detroit Red Wings, 48 points (44 GP)

10. Dallas Stars, 48 points (45 GP)

11. Phoenix Coyotes, 46 points (44 GP)

Here are Monday's games that could directly affect the playoff picture:

Winnipeg Jets at Buffalo Sabres - 7 p.m. ET

The Jets are the only team left in the East still battling for the postseason, and it's likely a difference between going home early and getting a Top 3 seed in the playoffs. The Sabres put up a valiant effort near the end of the season but fell short, and now must ride out the season on pride and will.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators - 7:30 p.m. ET

There's a lot riding on this game, as the Penguins are fighting for the President's Trophy and the Senators faithful are looking for revenge against Matt Cooke. The Penguins will basically concede the trophy with a loss tonight and a Chicago win in Vancouver.

Phoenix Coyotes at Detroit Red Wings - 7:30 p.m. ET

The Coyotes need a lot of help to make the postseason, and that starts with winning all of their remaining games this season -- including Monday's game in Detroit. The Red Wings have not been very dominant lately but have found ways to lose the "right" way, earning points in six of their last ten games to remain alive in the playoff hunt. Like Dallas, if the Red Wings win out they'll make the postseason.

Chicago Blackhawks at Vancouver Canucks - 10 p.m. ET

The Blackhawks can clinch the President's Trophy with a win tonight and a loss by Pittsburgh in Ottawa, or an overtime loss in Vancouver along with a regulation loss by Pittsburgh. The Canucks are also pretty much locked into the No. 3 spot in the West, unless the Ducks loss their remaining three games and Vancouver wins out.

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