With the 2020-21 regular season heading into crunch time, there are still plenty of key affairs to be determined down the stretch. Teams are jockeying for the final playoff positions, players are battling for individual hardware, and a few of the league's stars look to leave their marks.
Here are five storylines to follow as the campaign winds down.
McDavid's chase for 100
Connor McDavid needs 16 points in the Edmonton Oilers' final eight outings to rack up a remarkable 100 over the shortened 56-game slate. The schedule should benefit McDavid, too, with games coming against favorable opponents.
The Oilers have five tilts remaining with the Vancouver Canucks - a club valiantly playing out its schedule after enduring a COVID-19 outbreak - two against the Montreal Canadiens, and one against the Calgary Flames. McDavid has tallied eight points in five games against the Canucks this season and 15 in nine outings against Edmonton's provincial rivals.
McDavid is already in rarified air with his historic campaign, as The Athletic's James Mirtle pointed out. The Hart Trophy favorite is on pace for 144 points over a full 82-game slate, which would mark the highest single-season total since Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr amassed 161 and 149, respectively, in 1995-96.
Race for final playoff seeds
The Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues are close to clinching the last playoff spot in their respective groups, but a pair of races in the North and Central Divisions should provide plenty of entertainment down the stretch.
In the North, the Flames have battled back into contention and sit six points behind the Canadiens for fourth. The sides don't meet again this season, but Calgary has a chance to end strong with its final four games coming against Vancouver. The Habs, however, have three games against the first-place Toronto Maple Leafs and a pair against McDavid and the Oilers.
The race in the Central is seemingly between two clubs at this point, with the Chicago Blackhawks needing a miracle to get in. The Dallas Stars, with one game in hand, sit two points behind the Nashville Predators for the final berth in the division. The Predators have made the playoffs in six straight seasons, and a pivotal game between them and the Stars on Saturday will make a big impact on the Preds' hopes of extending that streak.