The NHL did have to suspend their season, but the NHL is in talks about resuming without fans, but also for a potential playoff battle. Well, that really left us thinking about the potential playoff teams and battles, just as a thought and for a true NHL fan for something to dream about and think about for the future. Here is the teams that could may be in the mix for the restart of the NHL season if it jumps to playoffs only.
The locks that are going to be the top 3 in the division are the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Toronto Maple Leafs out of the Atlantic. The Metro Division would have the divisional lock of the Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The downside is some of those divisional locks were starting to slip and may have missed the playoffs all together with how they were slipping in some of the their play, but with only 12 or 13 games left for some the playoffs were a real possibility.
Where it gets very interesting is the Wild Card spot. The Wild Card battle for the Eastern Conference if the season were to end today would have the Carolina Hurricanes and the Columbus Blue Jackets getting into the playoffs. Now, the next 3 teams for the Wild Card is trailing by only 3 points from the first team out to the team in striking distance for the Wild Card is the Islanders, Rangers, and then the Panthers. Now, the teams on the far outside would actually surprise a lot of people, but some of them are only a game or two away from being eliminated.
The Red Wings are already out, but the Senators were the next team that could have been eliminated. The Devils and the Sabres were not far from being eliminated. The Canadiens were 10 points out of the playoff spot so still within striking distance, but with the way the season was winding down the Canadiens may not have been able to pull out the playoff berth.
While the NHL season may resume and finish out the regular season, with most teams only having about 13 games left the NHL may skip straight to the playoffs. With that being the case, the Eastern Conference will definitely have a good amount of competition. The conference champion really depends on which team is able to get back to the ice faster and is conditioned better, which will tip the hands in towards the Boston Bruins, who have shown time and time again to start quickly on the year.