NHL playoff picture: Updated standings, bracket, matchups & key dates for 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs

The weather is getting warmer, and that means the action on the ice is heating up as well. 

The NHL regular season is in its final stretch, with the start of the playoffs coming in April. While the postseason picture is beginning to take shape for the top contenders, there are a plethora of teams looking to make a late push for the final spots.

As of now, no team is locked into a playoff spot, but there are three teams who know they will not be competing for the Stanley Cup. The Sharks, Blackhawks and Ducks have all been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.

MORE: Panthers top latest 2024 Stanley Cup odds

The race to the postseason is shaping up to be an exciting one. Here’s everything you need to know about the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs.

NHL playoff bracket, matchups 2024

Here’s what the NHL playoff matchups look like as of March 19. 

Eastern Conference

(A1) Bruins vs. (WC2) Capitals

(A2) Panthers vs. (A3) Maple Leafs

(M1) Rangers vs. (WC1) Lightning

(M2) Hurricanes vs. (M3) Flyers

Western Conference

(C1) Jets vs. (WC1) Predators

(C2) Avalanche vs. (C3) Stars

(P1) Canucks  vs. (WC2) Golden Knights

(P2) Oilers vs. (P3) Kings

NHL standings 2023

(As of games concluded on March 18)

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

Seed Team Games  Record Points
1. Bruins 69 40-14-15 95
2. Panthers 68 45-19-4 94
3. Maple Leafs 66 38-19-9 85

Metropolitan Division

Seed Team Games Record Points
1. Rangers 68 45-19-4 94
2. Hurricanes 68 42-20-6 90
3. Flyers 68 34-26-8 76

Wild Card 

Seed Team Games Record Points
1. Lightning 67 36-25-6 78
2. Capitals 67 33-25-9 75
Red Wings 68 34-28-6 74
Islanders 67 29-23-15 73
Sabres 69 33-31-5 71
Penguins 67 30-28-9 69
Devils 68 32-32-4 68
Canadiens 67 25-31-11 61
Senators 66 28-34-4 60
Blue Jackets 68 23-34-11 57

* = clinched Presidents’ Trophy

Y = clinched division

X = clinched playoff berth

E = eliminated from playoffs

Western Conference

Central Division

Seed Team Games Record Points
1. Jets 67 43-19-5 91
2. Avalanche 68 43-20-5 91
3. Stars 69 41-19-9 91

Pacific Division

Seed Team Games Record Points
1. Canucks  68 42-18-8 92
2. Oilers 65 40-21-4 84
3. Kings 67 34-22-11 79

Wild Card 

Seed Team Games Record Points
1. Predators 68 39-25-4 82
2. Golden Knights 67 36-24-7 79
Blues 68 36-29-3 75
Wild 68 33-27-8 74
Flames 68 33-30-5 71
Kraken 67 28-27-12 68
Coyotes 68 28-35-5 61
E – Ducks 68 23-42-3 49
E – Blackhawks 68 19-44-5 43
E – Sharks 67 16-44-7 39

Z = clinched best record in conference

Y = clinched division

X = clinched playoff berth

E = eliminated from playoffs

When do the NHL playoffs start?

  • NHL Playoffs: April 18

The 2023-24 NHL regular season will end Thursday, April 18.

The first round of the NHL playoffs is expected to start Monday, April 22. 

How will the 2024 NHL playoffs work?

There are four rounds in the Stanley Cup playoffs — the first round, the second round, the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Finals. 

In the first round, the top team in the conference plays the second wild-card team. The other division winner takes on the other wild-card team. In the rest of the first-round series, the No. 2 team from each division plays the No. 3 team from the same division.

After that, the teams do not get reseeded in the second round. Rather, the winner of the series between the No. 2 and No. 3 teams for a division plays the winner of the series between their division winner and the wild card team.

For example, if the Bruins finished first in the Atlantic and won their first-round matchup, they would play the winner of the series between the Nos. 2 and 3 teams in the Atlantic.

After the second round, the last two teams in each conference square off in the conference finals. The Eastern and Western Conference winners then fight for the Stanley Cup in the finals. 

Each series features a best-of-seven format played in a 2–2–1–1–1 style.

In terms of home-ice advantage, that means the team with the better record plays Games 1, 2, 5 and 7 at its home arena, while its opponent hosts Games 3, 4, and 6. Only the first four games in the series are guaranteed, with Games 5, 6 and 7 only played if necessary. 

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