Right now, whether they admit it or not, for the playoff have-nots it’s all about the NHL draft lottery.  The Edmonton Oilers edged the Ducks 2-1 Sunday night in Anaheim.  The two points moved them back into a points tie with the Canadiens, but Edmonton is 28th because they have more wins than the Canadiens.  Both the Oilers and Canadiens have three games left in their season.

The Canadiens will host Tampa Wednesday, play at Carolina Thursday and complete their season at home against Toronto Saturday.   Edmonton’s schedule includes a Monday night game in Los Angeles, home to a Anaheim Thursday and in Vancouver Saturday.

If the Canadiens are are still 29th overall next Sunday when the season ends, under the lottery rules, they could draft no worse than third in June.  The draft lottery involving the 14 non-playoff teams will be held at 8.00pm Tuesday April 10th.

In the other Sunday game involving teams from the bottom third of the standings Minnesota moved up to 24th with a shootout win over Chicago.

The Draft Lottery Race – Overall Standings Updated After Games of April 1st

22nd – Tampa Bay    79 pts.  4 games remaining

23rd – Carolina          78 pts.  3 games remaining

24th – Minnesota      78 pts.  3 remaining

25th – Anaheim         77 pts.  3 remaining

26th – NY Islanders 77 pts.   3 remaining

27th – Toronto           77 pts.   3 remaining

28th – Edmonton     73 pts.   3 remaining ***

29th – Canadiens     73 pts.   3 remaining  ***

30th – Columbus      61 pts.   3 remaining

*** = should he Canadiens and Oilers remain tied at the end of the season, the tiebreaker  is total wins minus victories in shootouts. (see NHL By-Law 27.3 below).  The Oilers have 31 wins, five of them in the shootout.  Their total is 26.  The Canadiens have 29 minus 5 for 24.   Thus the Oilers are 28th and the Canadiens 29th.

NHL By-Law 27.3

At the conclusion of the regular Schedule of Championship Games the standing of the teams in each Conference shall be determined in accordance with the following priorities in the order listed:

a) First place in each of the three divisions seeded 1, 2 and 3.

b) The higher number of points earned by the Club.

c) The greater number of games won by the Club (excluding games won in the Shootout).

d) The higher number of points earned in games against each other among two or more Clubs having equal standing under priorities (b) and (c).

e) The greater differential between goals scored for and against by clubs having equal standing under priority (d).