I skipped yesterday’s only game off for a nice day off and tonight we have a huge 13 game slate to dive into to start off a fully loaded final week of the NHL regular season heading into the playoffs. Let’s win!!
Bruins vs. Panthers (7:00)
Florida is the best team in the NHL with a 57-16-6 record and they have a four point lead over the Avalanche for the President’s Trophy with both teams having three games remaining in the regular season. The Panthers’ 13 game win streak came to an end on Sunday as they got pumped 8-4 at home by their in state rival Lightning. Florida’s played fantastic hockey lately (and all season really) with a 20-3-1 record in their last 24 games. They have the highest scoring offense in the NHL by a pretty big margin, averaging 4.16 goals per game. Despite giving up eight goals on Sunday, they’ve been good defensively as well, allowing a twelfth fewest in the NHL average of 2.89 goals per game. The Bruins are 49-25-5 in the second Wild Card spot in the East. They’re coming off a 5-3 win in Montreal on Sunday and have four wins in their last five games. The B’s have been fantastic defensively, allowing a fourth fewest in the NHL average of 2.67 goals per game. They’ve scored an average of 3.06 goals per game, grinding out low scoring wins. Depending on how the last few games of the season shakes out for the Bruins, Lightning and Capitals, this could potentially be a preview of the first round playoff series in the East. The first two games they played, these teams split those games with a Panthers winning 4-1 at home on October 27th and the Bruins answering back with a 3-2 win in a shootout at home on October 30th. Florida’s the better team here and I like them to get a road win to bounce back from their loss to the Bolts on Sunday. I’ll go with a unit on the Panthers moneyline and as scary as it sounds to bet a Florida under, I’ll take the under for half a unit.
Senators vs. Devils (7:00)
I can’t wait till the playoffs start next week so I don’t have to write up these meaningless games like this matchup between the Senators and the Devils. The Devils come into tonight’s game on a three game losing streak after getting shut out 3-0 by the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon (loser on my over bet). They’re 27-44-8 this season with only five wins in their last 20 games. They’ve scored an average of 2.97 goals per game and have allowed an average of 3.62 goals per game, fourth most in the NHL. The Senators come into tonight’s game on a three game winning streak after beating the Habs 6-4 on Saturday. They’re not a whole lot better than NJ, with a 31-41-7 record but they have five wins in their last ten games. Ottawa hasn’t been great on either end of the ice. They’re averaging 2.72 goals per game, seventh fewest in the NHL and allowing an eleventh most in the NHL average of 3.22 goals per game. The Sens won both previous games these teams played this season with a 3-2 shootout win in New Jersey on December 6th and a 4-1 win at home on February 7th. I’d slightly lean the Senators win this game at home and would slightly lean the under but have no interest or a strong enough lean to bet on this game and will completely stay off it.
Lightning vs. Blue Jackets (7:00)
After being on a bit of a slump a couple weeks ago, the Bolts have gone on lately and the back to back Cup champs are looking like they can go on a run and three peat this postseason. They’re 49-22-8, slotted in the third playoff spot in the East, looking like they’re going to match up in the first round with the Leafs. The Lightning are playing incredible right now, coming off an 8-4 win in Sunrise against their rival Panthers on Sunday and are on a three game win streak with five wins in their last six games. Their offense has averaged an insane 6.6 goals per game in their last five games. On the season, the Bolts offense has scored an average of 3.46 goals per game, seventh most in the NHL and they have allowed an average of 2.76 goals per game, sixth fewest in the NHL. Andrei Vasilevskiy’s confirmed in net tonight and still one of the best goalies in the NHL with a 2.49 GAA and .917 save percentage. The Blue Jackets are coming off a surprising 5-2 win over the Oilers on Sunday afternoon (double loser for me) that ended their four game losing streak. This team has been horrible with just four wins in their last 16 games and they’ve been very inconsistent this season with a 36-36-7 record. Offensively they haven’t been horrible, averaging 3.15 goals per game but they have been horrendous defensively, allowing an average of 3.62 goals per game, fourth most in the NHL. The first time these teams played this season on January 4th in Columbus, the Lightning won 7-2. I’d expect a similar result tonight and think the Bolts score at ease on Elvis. The moneyline is way too expensive at -385 and even the regulation line is expensive here at -240. I’ll go with two units on the Lightning TT over 4. I’d also lean the game over 6.5, but would rather just stick with the Bolts to score.
Rangers vs. Hurricanes (7:00)
These two teams are two of the best defensive teams in hockey and are still battling it out for first place in the Metropolitan Division with the Hurricanes four points ahead but the Rangers have a game in hand. They both already have home ice locked up for the first round of the playoffs regardless of who they end up matching up with. The Rangers are coming off a 3-1 loss in Boston on Saturday afternoon that ended their four game winning streak. They’re 51-22-6 this season and they’re playing great hockey right now with seven wins in their last nine games. They’ve allowed an average of just 2.46 goals per game, second fewest in the NHL. Igor Shesterkin, who’s projected to start tonight is the biggest reason for that and he’s the guaranteed Vezina winner with a 2.03 GAA, .936 save percentage and six shutouts this season. The Rags are averaging 3.05 goals per game and their offense has definitely improved since the All Star game. The Hurricanes are 52-20-8 and come into today’s game on a four game win streak after a 5-2 win on Long Island on Sunday. They’ve dealt with a ton of injuries lately and the biggest ones they’re dealing with right now heading into the playoffs is both of their starting goalies, Freddie Andersen and Antti Raanta are both out injured so rookie goalie Pyotr Kochetkov will get his third start in a row. Winning both of those games against the Isles and Devils, he has a 2.03 GAA and .889 save percentage in those games. The Canes have the best defense in the NHL, allowing an average of 2.43 goals per game, the fewest in the NHL. They’ve been good offensively this season as well, scoring a tenth most in the NHL average of 3.34 goals per game. Carolina’s 2-1 this season against the Rangers. They won 6-3 at home on January 21st, lost in a 2-0 shutout at home on April 20th and then won 4-2 on the road in MSG on April 12th. I think the Rangers have a slight edge here at home tonight and will take the Rangers ML and the under 6 in this game for half a unit each.
Penguins vs. Oilers (7:00)
Both of these playoff teams lost to inferior opponents on Sunday afternoon and this game could be a ton of fun to watch, showcasing the best players of the last two generations, Crosby and McDavid. The Penguins are 45-24-11 this season with a 4-2-1 record in their last seven games. They’re in third place in the Metro Division with a point lead over the Capitals (who have a game in hand on the Pens) for that spot and it looks like they’ll either end up playing the Panthers or the Rangers in the first round. Pittsburgh’s been solid on both ends of the ice this season. They’re averaging 3.29 goals per game, eleventh most in the NHL and they’re allowing the fifth fewest in the NHL average of 2.68 goals per game. Tristan Jarry’s sidelined with a broken foot until the playoffs and with third string goalie Louis Domingue playing on Sunday, Casey DeSmith’s likely to start for them tonight. DeSmith hasn’t been great this season with a 10-5-5 record, 2.72 GAA and .915 save percentage but he’s been much improved lately, allowing an average of just 2.2 goals per game in his last five starts. The Oilers lost 5-2 in Columbus on Sunday, which ended their four game win streak. Edmonton’s 46-27-6 and will have home ice in the first round of the playoffs in their matchup that’s pretty much all locked up against the LA Kings. They’ve played great lately with a 16-4-2 record in their last 22 games. Connor McDavid (118 points, 75 assists) and Leon Draisaitl (108 points, 55 goals) have been two of the best players in the NHL and even without much depth behind them besides Evander Kane, the Oilers have averaged 3.46 goals per game, seventh most in the NHL. They’ve had their defensive struggles at points this season and have allowed an average of 3.09 goals per game but that hasn’t really been the case lately with Mike Smith’s great play in goal. Smith’s confirmed back in goal tonight and has allowed just 1.29 goals per game in his last seven starts. When these teams played in Edmonton on December 1st, the Oilers won 5-2. I’d slightly lean they win again here on the road, but don’t have enough of a feel on it to bet them tonight so I’ll just lay off this game.
Capitals vs. Islanders (7:00)
The Capitals are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the Leafs on Sunday but the bigger thing to take away from that game is an upper body injury for Alex Ovechkin that could end up being a thorn in the Caps playoff hopes. Ovi, the Caps leading scorer with 90 points and 50 goals at the age of 36, missed morning skate today and is a game time decision for tonight’s game, listed as day-to-day. The Caps have played great hockey lately with a 16-5-3 record in their last 24 games and are in the second Wild Card spot in the East with a 44-23-12 record. They’re a point back from the Penguins with a game in hand for the third spot in the Metropolitan Division to determine who they’ll play against in the first round. They have been pretty good offensively this season, averaging 3.37 goals per game, ninth most in the NHL and they’ve allowed a 13th fewest in the NHL average of 2.91 goals per game. The Islanders seem to have written off the rest of their season since getting officially eliminated from the playoffs and come into today’s game on a five game win streak (and I’ve won on the last four of those). Although they got a lot better in the second half of the season, they’re just 35-34-10 on the season after their lousy start to the year. The Isles have been good defensively, allowing an average of 2.82 goals per game, ninth fewest in the NHL. Ilya Sorokin, who’s likely to start in goal tonight has quietly had great season despite his team playing like shit with a 2.38 GAA, .926 save percentage and seven shutouts. The Islanders offense has sucked, scoring an eighth fewest in the NHL average of 2.73 goals per game. The Caps are 2-0 against the Isles this season with a 2-0 shutout win on Long Island on January 15th and then winning 4-3 in a shootout at home on March 15th. Even if Ovi doesn’t play tonight, I like the Caps to win this game at home and I’ll take them for a unit.
Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings (7:00)
The Leafs are in second place in the Atlantic Division with a 52-1-7 record and they’re likely to play the Lightning in the first round. They have played very well lately with a 13-2-2 record in their last 16 games, coming off a 4-3 shootout win on the road against the Caps on Sunday. Toronto has the second highest scoring offense in the NHL, averaging 3.8 goals per game. The reason that I think they end up getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs though is that their defense and goaltending has sucked in the second half of the season, allowing an average of 3.13 goals per game. The Red Wings are coming off a 3-0 shutout win in New Jersey on Sunday but they’ve sucked this season. They’re 31-39-10 this season and have been especially terrible in the second half of the season with only seven wins in their last 25 games. Detroit’s been terrible on both ends of the ice, scoring a tenth fewest in the NHL average of just 2.78 goals per game and allowing an average of 3.8 goals per game, second most in the NHL. The Leafs are 3-0 against Detroit this year, all in high scoring games, winning 5-4 at home on October 30th, 7-4 in Detroit on January 29th and 10-7 in the highest game of the season on the road on February 26th. I’d expect them to win again tonight in Toronto but wouldn’t consider betting on it at the -475 price. I will go with the over for two units and I’ll get creative with a unit same game parlay on: Leafs ML, Leafs TT over 4.5, Red Wings TT over 2.5 and Auston Matthew to score.
Predators vs. Flames (8:00)
This game is expected to be a preview of the first round playoff series in the Western Conference. With their 6-3 win against the Canucks on Saturday night, the Flames locked up first place in the Pacific Division and will have home ice in the first round against whoever finishes in the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. They’re 49-20-10, coming into tonight’s game with nine wins in their last eleven games. Calgary’s been great on both ends of the ice this season. They’re scoring an average of 3.58 goals per game, sixth most in the NHL and they’ve allowed a third fewest in the NHL average of 2.48 goals per game. The Predators are in the first Wild Card spot in the West with a 44-29-6 record and they’ll clinch their spot in the playoffs with a win tonight (or a few other scenarios) with a one point lead over the Stars. They only have three wins in their last nine games, coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to the Wild on Sunday. Nashville’s been pretty good on both ends of the ice this season. They’re averaging 3.16 goals per game, twelfth most in the NHL and they’re allowing an average of 2.99 goals per game. Juuse Saros, who got the night off on Sunday is confirmed back in goal tonight and has been solid this season with a 2.63 GAA, .918 save percentage and four shutouts. Nashville’s one of the only teams that doesn’t have a loss against the Flames this season, winning 3-2 in overtime in Calgary on November 2nd and winning 3-2 in a shootout at home on April 19th. The Preds have way more to play for tonight to get into the playoffs and for seeding, where the Flames may put it into cruise control. Calgary’s the better team in this matchup but I definitely would not bet on this game with the way they’ve matched up with the Preds this year, so I’ll just skip this one entirely.
Wild vs. Coyotes (8:00)
The Minnesota Wild are set to play the Blues in the first round of the playoffs, currently just holding the tiebreaker over them for home ice, tied in points with a 51-21-7 record. They’re coming into tonight’s game on a five game win streak with an impressive 17-1-3 record in their last 20 games. Minnesota’s offense is averaging 3.73 goals per game, fifth most in the NHL. Their defense and goaltending has struggled at some times this year, allowing an average of 3.05 goals per game on the season but lately that hasn’t been the case with great play from both Talbot and Fleury, allowing an average of 2.58 goals per game in their last twenty games. They should get a very easy two points to keep their home ice lead over the Blues in this home matchup against the Arizona Coyotes. The Yotes are one of the worst teams in the NHL with a 22-50-7 record, coming into tonight’s game on a ten game losing streak with only two wins in their last 19 games. They’ve scored the fewest goals in the NHL this season, averaging only 2.43 goals per game and they’re just slightly better defensively, allowing a third most in the NHL average of 3.79 goals per game. As expected, the Wild are 2-0 against the Yotes this season both by 5-2 scores, on the road on November 10th and at home on November 30th. They should easily sweep them tonight but the price on this game isn’t bettable at -560 or even on the regulation line of -335. I’ll go with a unit SGP on the Coyotes TT under 2.5 and the Wild TT over 4.5. I don’t think either are really worth betting straight either at their prices. I’ll also do another one with those same picks along with Karill the Thrill and Kevin Fiala to both score for half a unit.
Stars vs. Golden Knights (8:30)
This is the most important regular season game ever for the Vegas Golden Knights franchise. Vegas needs to win in regulation tonight on the road to get into the playoffs. They lose or the Stars take them to OT, the Golden Knights will miss the playoffs for the first time in their five year franchise history. On Sunday night they blew a 4-2 lead to the Sharks with just two minutes left in the game including the tying goal with just a second left before losing in a shootout to miss out on a crucial point that they desperately needed. The Knights have a 42-31-6 record and they just have two wins in their last six games. They’ve averaged 3.16 goals per game, twelfth most in the NHL and have allowed an average of 2.98 goals per game. I don’t know what the fuck is going on with their goaltending situation either. Robin Lehner was reported out for the season and that he was getting surgery but then backed up Logan Thompson on Sunday and then now he apparently is. Regardless, Logan Thompson will start in goal again tonight. He has a 2.64 GAA and .917 save percentage this season. The Stars who are three points ahead of the Knights for the second Wild Card spot in the West will look to spoil that for them and punch their own ticket into the playoffs at home tonight. Dallas is 44-30-5 this season, coming off a 3-2 win over the Kraken that ended their three game losing streak. They’ve been decent lately with an 11-6-2 record in their last 19 games but they only have two wins in their last six games. They have been much better at home with a 25-10-3 record. The Stars haven’t been great on either end of the ice but they’re still winning games so that doesn’t really matter as of right now. Next week if they get into the playoffs though, they’ll probably get bounced in four or at most five games cause this team doesn’t have a shot in fucking hell at beating the Avalanche (or the Flames depending on seeding). They’ve scored an average of 2.84 goals per game, 13th fewest in the NHL and they’ve allowed an average of 2.99 goals per game. The Knights have won both games these teams have played this season with a 3-2 overtime win in Dallas on October 27th and a 5-4 win at home on December 8th. I’d slightly lean Vegas gets it done on the road tonight to keep their very slim playoff hopes alive and will take them to win in regulation for half a unit. I’ll also take the over for a unit.
Avalanche vs. Blues (9:30)
The Blues have played fantastic hockey lately, coming into tonight’s game on a three game win streak with a 14-0-2 record in their last 16 games. They’re coming off a big 6-3 comeback win in Anaheim where they spoiled a win in Ryan Getzlaf’s retirement ceremony. St. Louis is 49-20-11 this season and they’re in third place in the Central Division, tied in points with their first round opponent Wild but they don’t have the tiebreaker so home ice will currently be in Minnesota. The Blues have been very good on both ends of the ice. They’re averaging 3.78 goals per game, third most in the NHL and they’re allowing an average of 2.84 goals per game, tenth fewest in the NHL. They’re likely starting Jordan Binnington tonight, who hasn’t been great with a 3.10 GAA and .902 save percentage this season. The Avalanche really have nothing to play for anymore this regular season with first place in the Western Conference all locked up with a 55-18-6 record. They’re 31-5-3 at home this season and they return to Ball Arena tonight after a three game road trip. The Avs haven’t played well lately, coming into tonight’s game on a four game losing streak and because of that they’re four points back from Florida for the President’s Cup with three games remaining for both teams. Colorado has the fourth highest scoring offense in the NHL, averaging 3.77 goals per game and they have allowed an average of just 2.8 goals per game, eighth fewest in the NHL. These teams split their two games early this season with the road teams winning both, a 5-3 Blues win on October 16th and a 4-3 Avs win on October 28th. I’d lean the Blues keep their hot streak going with something to actually play for and with the dog price at +145, I think there’s a lot of value to it and will take the puck line and ML for half a unit each along with the over for half a unit.
Canucks vs. Kraken (10:00)
Technically the Canucks season is still alive but realistically they’re out of the playoffs this year. They’re 38-30-11 and come into tonight’s game on a three game losing streak. Vancouver’s lousy start to the season put them to far behind before Bruce Boudreau got hired to turn their season around. What Bruce “there he is” did with this team was pretty impressive though and Canucks fans should be excited for the future of this season with him behind the bench and their young core, it just wasn’t enough this year. Vancouver’s offense hasn’t been great this year, averaging 2.99 goals per game but they have been good defensively all season, allowing an eleventh fewest in the NHL average of 2.85 goals per game. Tonight they’re starting third string goalie Spencer Martin, who’s been decent in his three games this season with a 1-0-2 record, 1.59 GAA and .958 save percentage. The Kraken didn’t have the inaugural season they had hoped for with a 26-46-6 record. They’ve been horrible on both ends of the ice. They’re scoring an average of only 2.59 goals per game, third fewest in the NHL and have allowed an average of 3.46 goals per game, ninth most in the NHL. They’re going with their third string goalie tonight too. Joey Daccord has been horrible, losing his three starts with a 4.12 GAA and .858 save percentage in those games. The Canucks have won all three games they have played against Seattle, winning 4-2 in Seattle on October 23rd, 5-2 in Seattle on New Year’s Day and 5-2 at home on February 21st. I’d expect they score pretty easily on Daccord tonight. I’ll go with 1.5 units on the Canucks TT over 3.5 and half a unit each on the Canucks ML and the over 6 in this game.
Sharks vs. Ducks (10:30)
This California game sucks between two shitty teams. The Sharks are actually playing well their last few games with three wins in their last four games. They playing spoiler to the Golden Knights on Sunday where they came back from down 4-2 in the last two minutes of the game including scoring the tying goal with only a second left in regulation and then winning is a shootout. They’re 32-35-12 on the season and have been one of the worst teams in the second half of the season with only three wins in their last 14 games and just ten wins in their last 36. San Jose is horrible offensively, averaging a third fewest in the NHL average of 2.59 goals per game and are just a bit better defensively, allowing a twelfth most in the NHL average of 3.14 goals per game. The Ducks are even worse, they’re coming off a 6-3 loss to the Blues that spoiled captain Ryan Getzlaf’s retirement ceremony but at this point it didn’t really matter. Anaheim’s 30-36-14 this season and are on a three game losing streak with only three wins in their last 22 games. Not great. They’re a bit better than the Sharks offensively, averaging 2.76 goals per game, ninth fewest in the NHL and they’re allowing an average of 3.25 goals per game, tenth most in the NHL. The Ducks are 2-1 this season against the Sharks with a 4-3 shootout win at home on February 22nd, a 3-2 overtime win at home on March 6th and a 4-1 loss in San Jose on March 26th. I’d slightly lean the Sharks and the under here but not enough to bet on either so I’ll just skip this game.
1u Panthers ML (-115)
.5u Panthers/Bruins under 7 (-136)
2u Lightning TT over 4 (-162)
.5u Rangers ML (-117)
.5u Rangers/Hurricanes under 6 (-120)
1u Capitals ML (-176)
2u Leafs/Red Wings over 6.5 (-130)
1u SGP: Leafs ML & Leafs TT over 4.5 & Red Wings TT over 2.5 & Auston Matthew over .5 goals (+625)
1u SGP: Wild TT over 4.5 & Coyotes TT under 2.5 (+185)
.5u SGP: Wild TT over 4.5 & Coyotes TT under 2.5 & Karill Kaprivov over .5 goals & Kevin Fiala over .5 goals (+575)
.5u Golden Knights in regulation (+148)
1u Golden Knights/Stars over 6 (-105)
.5u Blues +1.5 (-165)
.5u Blues ML (+145)
.5u Blues/Avalanche over 6.5 (-110)
1.5u Canucks TT over 3.5 (-127)
.5u Canucks ML (-190)
.5u Canucks/Kraken over 6 (-141)
Record: 798-581-31 (+34.99 units)
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