We’re into the final week of the 2021-22 NHL regular season and there’s still a ton that is undecided in the Western Conference playoff picture. The one thing that is decided are the two top seeds in the Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames. Those two teams will coast in the final few games and see who ends up being their first-round opponent when the postseason begins in May. Let’s take a look at the Western Conference bracket and playoff picture.
Western Conference playoff picture
Update, April 29 — Edmonton won an overtime shootout to guarantee themselves second place and home ice advantage against the Kings in the first round. The Predators won an overtime shootout and are one point up on the Stars heading into each team’s final game. On Friday night, Nashville travels to Arizona and Dallas hosts Anaheim.
Update, April 28 — The Kings picked up their fifth straight win on Wednesday night and moved two points out of the Oilers for the 2-seed. There’s a chance the Kings overtake Edmonton for home ice in the first round. The Oilers have a game in hand and their final two games are against the Sharks and Canucks, who are both eliminated.
Update, April 27 — The Golden Knights were knocked out of playoff contention for the first time in their existence with a shootout loss to the Blackhawks on Wednesday night. The Stars went to overtime and got a point, which helped them clinch a spot as one of the wild card teams in the West. Dallas was also able to get a point to jump the Preds for the first wild card.
The Golden Knights would need a ton of help to get into the postseason and would need to win their final two games to even have a shot. So chances are the eight teams listed above in the matchups will be in the West playoff bracket. Those matchups are far from set, however. The Wild and Blues are tied and will fight for home ice advantage in the first round. Minnesota has to play Calgary and Colorado in its final two games. The Blues only have one game left, so the Wild have a slight advantage with the game in hand. St. Louis can knock Vegas out of playoff contention with a win in its regular-season finale.
The Preds and Stars are both tied in the wild card spots and can swap. It’s a “pick your poison” scenario anyway. Maybe you want the Flames since they’re technically the lesser of the two evils and have underperformed in the playoffs the past decade or so. The Stars were in the Cup a few seasons ago and the Preds are also a tough draw as a 1-seed.