The projections at the top are starting to match standings closely as the season wears on, but the gap between the bubble teams has widened somewhat. The Ontario teams continue their slow fall; both are now under 5% to make the playoffs. The Sabres short spell of good luck is well forgotten and their extremely poor possession play is now perfectly matched by their results.
The Islanders are still the class of the division despite the tightness in points. The knot of the Rangers, Penguins, and Capitals is likely to remain very tight, perhaps even coming down to tiebreakers. The weaker teams have fallen off dramatically and a late challenge is very unlikely.
Apart from a not-entirely-even fight between Boston and Florida, the Eastern playoffs are essentially set; with a cutoff of around 94 points.
The ludicrously strong Central division (with an amazing *six* teams with positive possession) is by far the strongest division in the league. The only team who appears substantially different from their projection is Colorado, who have been very fortunate to appear in the playoff race and will fall off unless they can remedy their very poor 5v5 play.
The Ducks have opened up a huge lead on the remainder of the division and are extremely likely to have home-ice advantage for the first two rounds. The Coyotes and Oilers are not in Sabre territory by any means but have lost far too many games to worry about much except their draft ranking. The remainder of the division, together with the Jets, Stars, and Wild, look set for a tremendously tight finish with six teams finishing within a range of five points, of which four will make the playoffs. The most substantial discrepancy between the standings and the projections is in the case of LA and Calgary; the former is the best 5v5 team in the league by some distance and the latter is punching well above their weight. Although the point difference is not extreme the Kings are still the more likely team to wind up in the post-season, likely at Calgary’s expense.
The playoff cutoff looks to be around 92 points.