The Stanley Cup Playoffs are inching nearer by the day.
With the regular season only a week away from its conclusion, playoff teams and matchups are being solidified, and the way teams are playing right now will be critical to their playoff success.
In the Eastern Conference, all eight playoff spots are officially locked up. The reality is that they’ve been set for months, but the clubs in the East are now looking to solidify their spots in the standings. What we know for sure is that the Florida Panthers will be the number one seed, having locked that up on Thursday.
Entering the final Saturday of the regular season, the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers are deadlocked in the race for the Metropolitan Division crown, while the races between the four teams that are most likely to land in the wild card slots are all within three points.
Which teams are in the best positions ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
Out West, the Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames have already clinched division titles. They are joined by the Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, and Edmonton Oilers as Western Conference teams that have punched their ticket to compete for the Stanley Cup.
Still in contention for the remaining playoff berths are the Los Angles Kings, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, Vegas Golden Knights, and Vancouver Canucks. All five of those teams have five games or fewer remaining, making each one that much more important.
The first step is simply getting into the playoffs, but seeding is key, and momentum can sustain a playoff run or halt it before it even gets started. People always say that it’s important to be playing your best hockey at the right time, and that time has arrived.
Which teams are poised to make deep runs? Here are the top five Stanley Cup contenders entering the final week of the 2021-2022 regular season.