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NHL Stanley Cup playoff bracket: Updated league standings, potential first-round matchups

USA TODAY SPORTS 4/4/2023 Mike Brehm, USA TODAY

The NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs will begin in mid-April and the biggest question is whether the Boston Bruins can keep their spectacular play going through four rounds of the postseason. 

The Bruins clinched the Presidents' Trophy on Thursday night and have a chance to break the NHL record of 62 wins in a season. But which other teams will make the playoffs and what are the matchups in the first round?

USA TODAY Sports is here with everything you need to know about the NHL playoffs, including updated playoff brackets. Here's a comprehensive look at the current NHL postseason outlook, including when the playoffs and the Stanley Cup Final are scheduled to start:

From NFL plays to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day.

NHL STRETCH DRIVE: Analyzing the division title and playoff races

The Colorado Avalanche will clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the San Jose Sharks. They also can clinch if they get one point vs. the Sharks and the Calgary Flames lose to the Chicago Blackhawks. They also will gain a playoff berth if the Nashville Predators lose to the Vegas Golden Knights in any fashion and the Flames lose to the Blackhawks in regulation.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs will meet in the first round of the playoffs for the second year in a row. © Nick Turchiaro, USA TODAY Sports The Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs will meet in the first round of the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Updated NHL playoff standings

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(as of April 3 -- complete standings can be found here. p-clinched Presidents' Trophy, x-clinched playoff spot, y-clinched division title, z-eliminated from playoff contention)

Metropolitan Division

x-Carolina Hurricanes

x-New Jersey Devils

x-New York Rangers

Atlantic Division

p-Boston Bruins

x-Toronto Maple Leafs

x-Tampa Bay Lightning

Wild cards

New York Islanders

Pittsburgh Penguins

Currently out of playoff position

Florida Panthers

Buffalo Sabres

Ottawa Senators

Detroit Red Wings

Washington Capitals

z-Philadelphia Flyers

z-Montreal Canadiens

z-Columbus Blue Jackets

WESTERN CONFERENCE

(as of April 3)

Central Division

x-Dallas Stars

x-Minnesota Wild

Colorado Avalanche

Pacific Division

x-Vegas Golden Knights

x-Los Angeles Kings

x-Edmonton Oilers

Wild card

Seattle Kraken

Winnipeg Jets

Currently out of playoff position

Calgary Flames

Nashville Predators

z-St. Louis Blues

z-Vancouver Canucks

z-Arizona Coyotes

z-San Jose Sharks

z-Anaheim Ducks

z-Chicago Blackhawks

Eastern Conference playoff bracket

(as of April 3)

Boston Bruins vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders 

New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning 

Western Conference

(as of April 3)

Vegas Golden Knights vs. Winnipeg Jets

Dallas Stars vs. Seattle Kraken

Los Angeles Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers

Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche

When do the Stanley Cup playoffs begin?

They're scheduled to begin on April 17, three days after the scheduled April 14 end of the regular season.

What is the tentative starting date of the Stanley Cup Final?

The scheduled starting date is June 3, though that's subject to change. TNT will air the games in the United States.

Who won the Stanley Cup in 2022?

The Colorado Avalanche won for the first time since 2001. They defeated the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.

CONNOR BEDARD WATCH: Which NHL team has best draft lottery odds for generational talent?

When is the NHL draft?

The NHL draft is June 28 (first round) and June 29 (Rounds 2-7) at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena. The NHL draft lottery will be held at 7 p.m. ET on May 8 among the 16 non-playoff teams or teams that acquired their first-round picks in a trade. Teams can move up a maximum of 10 spots in the two drawings. Only the bottom 11 teams will have a chance to draft generational talent Connor Bedard at No. 1 overall. The Regina (Saskatchewan) Pats center led the Western Hockey League during the regular season with 143 points in 57 games.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NHL Stanley Cup playoff bracket: Updated league standings, potential first-round matchups

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