I went 0-3 last night all in one goal losses, losing 3.78 units. Tonight we have a nine game NHL slate but most of tonight’s games are completely meaningless with every playoff spot clinched and only a few teams playing for seeding.
Bruins vs. Sabres (7:00)
The Bruins are one of the few teams that are actually playing for something tonight to determine their seeding of if they finish third in the Atlantic where they’re three points back from Tampa to play Toronto in the first round or the more likely scenario of them finishing in the first Wild Card spot and playing Carolina in the first round. The B’s are 50-25-5 this season and have five wins in their last six games. Boston’s one of the best teams defensively in the NHL, allowing a fourth fewest in the NHL average of only 2.66 goals per game. They’ve scored an average of 3.08 goals per game, winning most of their games in low scoring grinds. The Sabres have shown incredible promise going into next year. This hasn’t been a good season for us, going 31-38-11 but the young core of this team been great in the closing stretch of the season with a 13-6-3 record in their last 22 games. They come into tonight’s game on a four game win streak after 5-3 win against the Islanders on Saturday. On the season, Buffalo hasn’t been great on either end of the ice. They’re allowing an average of 3.5 goals per game, eighth most in the NHL and they’ve averaged just 2.83 goals per game on the year, eleventh fewest in the NHL. The offense has been firing a ton lately though, scoring an average of 3.64 goals per game in their last 17 games and an average of 4.75 in their last four games. Historically the Bruins have always beat the Sabres pretty easily and they’re 3-0 against them this season, winning 4-1 in Buffalo on October 22nd, 5-1 in Buffalo on November 24th and 4-3 in overtime in Boston on January 1st. I’d lean the Bruins win this game but definitely wouldn’t bet on it at this price. I’ll go with the Sabres +2 for half a unit and the over 5.5 for a unit.
Senators vs. Panthers (7:00)
This game is a huge mismatch between the best team in the NHL and one of the worst. The Panthers are in first place in the NHL with a 57-17-6 record. They have a two point lead over Colorado in their President’s Trophy race with two games remaining for both teams including tonight. Florida lost their last two games in a row to the Bruins and Lightning. They have the highest scoring offense in the NHL by a large margin, averaging 4.14 goals per game. They’ve been pretty good defensively too, allowing an average of 2.9 goals per game, twelfth fewest in the NHL. The Senators come into tonight’s game on a four game winning streak but this season has been a failure for them with a 32-41-7 record. They haven’t been good on either end of the ice this year, scoring an average of just 2.75 goals per game, eighth fewest in the NHL and allowing an average of 3.23 goal per game, eleventh most in the NHL. Florida’s 2-1 against the Sens this season, getting shockingly blown out 8-2 at home on December 14th, winning a 3-0 shutout at home on March 3rd and then beating the Sens 4-3 in a shootout on March 26th. I think Florida clinches their first President’s Trophy in franchise history with a win tonight. The line on this game doesn’t make any sense to me and although I might be walking directly into a trap on it, I’ll go with 1.5 units on the Panthers ML, half a unit on the Panthers -1.5 and a unit on the over 6.5.
Hurricanes vs. Devils (7:00)
This game is completely meaningless. The Carolina Hurricanes have first place in the Metropolitan Division all locked up and they’re set to play the first Wild Card team in the Eastern Conference. The Canes are playing fantastic hockey right now, coming into tonight’s game on a five game win streak after beating the Rangers 4-3 on Tuesday night. They’ve allowed the fewest goals in the NHL, an average of only 2.43 goals per game. They’re likely to get backup goalie Antti Raanta back tonight after rookie goalie Pyotr Kochetkov won his first three starts in a row during Raanta and Andersen’s injuries. Carolina’s offense has been good this season as well, averaging 3.35 goals per game, ninth most in the NHL. The Devils sucked this season with a 26-44-9 record and come into tonight’s game on a four game losing streak with only five wins in their last 21 games. They’ve scored an average of 2.99 goals per game but they’re one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL, allowing an average of 3.64 goals per game, fourth most in the NHL. The Hurricanes are 2-1 this season against New Jersey, losing 7-4 on the road on January 22nd, winning 2-1 at home on January 29th and then against 3-2 in overtime last Saturday. I’d expect the Canes win this game at home tonight to keep their hot streak going heading into the playoffs but since this game is completely meaningless, they’ll probably be resting some key players tonight and I don’t think its worth betting on the -250 price and will just skip it.
Islanders vs. Capitals (7:00)
These Metro Division teams just played each other on Tuesday night in Washington, where the Isles won 4-1 on the road and they’re now on Long Island for the second half of this home and home. Earlier this season, the Caps won both previous games these teams played 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. The Capitals are in the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, a point back from the Penguins with a game in hand for the third spot in the Metropolitan Division to determine if they’ll play the Rangers or Hurricanes in the first round. They’re 44-24-12 this season and have played good hockey lately with a 16-6-3 record in their last 25 games, but coming off back to back losses. Their best player, Alex Ovechkin, who leads the Caps with 90 points and 50 goals at the age of 36 will miss tonight’s game again with an upper body injury and it would shock me if he ends up playing their last regular season game tomorrow and hopefully be ready to go for the playoffs. Washington has been pretty good offensively this season, averaging 3.34 goals per game, tenth most in the NHL and they’ve allowed a 13th fewest in the NHL average of 2.93 goals per game. With their win against the Caps on Tuesday, the Isles ended their five game losing streak. The Islanders were the most disappointing team of this NHL season with Stanley Cup Finals expectation going into the season but missing the payoffs with a 36-34-10 record. The Isles have been good defensively, allowing an average of 2.8 goals per game, eighth fewest in the NHL but they’ve sucked offensively, averaging only 2.75 goals per game, eighth fewest in the NHL. I like the Caps to answer back from Tuesday’s loss with a win on the road tonight and I’ll take them for half a unit.
Blue Jackets vs. Lightning (7:00)
This game is another second half of a home and home with the Lightning heading to Columbus after beating the Blue Jackets 4-1 at home on Tuesday night. That was their second big win against the Jackets this season after blowing them out 7-2 in Columbus on January 4th. The Bolts are pretty much locked in to play the Leafs in the first round of the playoffs, so tonight’s game is pretty much meaningless (technically there’s a tiny possibly they play the Hurricanes instead but I doubt that scenario happens). They’re 50-22-8 this season, playing hot right now, looking dominant in their last four wins in a row and averaging 6.5 goals per game in those last four. The back to back Cup champs have looked great again offensively this season, scoring an eighth most in the NHL average of 3.46 goals per game. They’ve been very good defensively as well, allowing a sixth fewest in the NHL average of 2.74 goals per game. Vasilevskiy’s got the night off today, but the Bolts haven’t had any issues with Brian Elliott starting who has a 2.33 GAA and .914 save percentage this season. This team is playing dangerous right now and they look like they could absolutely three peat and win the Cup again this year. The Blue Jackets have been very inconsistent this season with a 36-37-7 record and they’ve played terrible lately with just four wins in their last 17 games. Offensively they haven’t been horrible, averaging 3.13 goals per game but they have been horrendous defensively, allowing an average of 3.63 goals per game, fifth most in the NHL. Without really any motivation for this game with nothing to play for, I don’t think it’s worth betting on the Lightning at the high price of -250. I’ll take the Bolts TT over 3.5 though for a unit, expecting them to be able to score pretty easily on Elvis.
Wild vs. Flames (8:00)
This is easily the most significant game on tonight’s slate for the Wild. Minnesota currently is just holding the tiebreaker over their first round opponent Blues for home ice, tied in points with a 51-22-7 record with a game in hand. That’s absolutely the best matchup of the first round and home ice can potentially be so significant, so there’s a lot they’re playing for here. The Wild are coming off a surprising 5-3 loss at home to the Coyotes on Tuesday in a very high scoring third period (game was 1-1 after 2) but they have five wins in their last six games and an impressive 17-2-3 record in their last 21 games. They have a fantastic offense, scoring a fifth most in the NHL average of 3.73 goals per game. As was evident in the third period on Tuesday, their defense and goaltending has struggled at some times this year, allowing an average of 3.08 goals per game on the season. They have been much better since the trade deadline, with great play from both Talbot and Fleury, allowing an average of 2.65 goals per game in their last 21 games. The Flames have nothing to play for tonight with first place in the Pacific Division locked up, with them playing whoever finishes in the first Western Conference Wild Card spot between the Predators and Stars. Calgary’s 50-20-10 this season and coming off a 5-4 overtime win in Nashville on Tuesday, they are on a three game win streak with ten wins in their last twelve games. They’ve been great on both ends of the ice this season, scoring a sixth most in the NHL average of 3.6 goals per game and allowing a third fewest in the NHL average of 2.5 goals per game. Jacob Markstrom’s likely to start tonight and he’ll likely be a Vezina candidate (but lose to Igor Shesterkin) with a 2.21 GAA, .922 save percentage and nine shutouts. Calgary has two dominant wins against the Wild this season, winning 7-3 at home on February 26th and then 5-1 in Minnesota on March 1st. I’d slightly lean the Wild with the motivation factor giving them the edge here against a Flames team that will likely rest a handful of their key players for the playoffs, but not enough to bet on it. I like the over though, expecting both teams to score and will take the over 6 for a unit.
Avalanche vs. Predators (9:00)
The Avalanche have had first place in the Western Conference locked up for a while now, coming into tonight’s game with a 56-18-6 record. They haven’t played great lately, on cruise control to go into the playoffs and their 5-3 win against the Blues on Tuesday night ended their four game losing streak. The Avs are two points behind Florida in their President’s Trophy race with both teams in action tonight and tomorrow. Colorado’s very good on both ends of the ice. They’ve scored an average of 3.79 goals per game, second most in the NHL and they’ve allowed an average of 2.8 goals per game, eighth fewest in the NHL. The Predators are in the second Wild Card spot in the West, a point behind Dallas with a game in hand with a 44-29-7 record. This could potentially be a first round playoff preview if they finish in that second spot. The Preds haven’t played great lately, coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to the Flames on Tuesday. They’re coming into tonight’s game on a three game losing streak with only three wins in their last ten games. Nashville’s been pretty good on both ends of the ice this season. They’re averaging 3.18 goals per game, twelfth most in the NHL and allowing an average of 3.01 goals per game. All Star goalie Juuse Saros will get the night off with David Rittich confirmed as the starter tonight. He has been pretty bad this season with a 3.56 GAA and .883 save percentage. The Avs are probably hoping to see the Stars in the first round instead of the Preds as Nashville has played pretty well against them this season. The Avs won 6-2 at home on November 27th, the Predators won 5-2 at home on December 16th and then 5-4 in overtime on January 11th. Colorado’s the much better team here and if the playoffs shake out to being this matchup, I think the Avs win that series pretty easily. I don’t think they’re worth betting on tonight though at the ridiculous -295 price with how the Predators have played against them this season. I do expect them to be able to score pretty easily on Rittich tonight and will take the Avs TT over 3.5 for 1.5 units.
Oilers vs. Sharks (9:00)
This game is completely meaningless to both of these teams. The Oilers have home ice against their first round opponent LA Kings locked up with a 47-27-6 record this season. They’ve played great lately with a 17-4-2 record in their last 23 games. Connor McDavid (122 points, 78 assists) and Leon Draisaitl (109 points, 55 goals) have been two of the best players in the NHL and even without much depth behind them besides Evander Kane (22 goals in 41 games), the Oilers have averaged 3.48 goals per game, seventh most in the NHL. They’ve had their defensive and goaltending struggles at points this season and have allowed an average of 3.06 goals per game. Mike Smith, who’s played great in goal has the night off with Mikko Koskinen confirmed in goal tonight. The Sharks have actually played decent lately with three wins in their last five games but they’re one of the worst teams in the second half of the season with just those three wins in their last 15 games and only ten in their last 37 games. They’re 32-36-12 on the season. San Jose is horrible offensively, averaging a fourth 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 3.16 goals per game. The Oilers are 3-0 this season against the Sharks, winning 3-0 in San Jose on February 14th, 5-2 at home on March 24th and 2-1 in overtime on the road on March 5th. They should sweep them on the season with a win tonight but at -330 it isn’t worth betting on in this completely meaningless game and I’ll just skip it completely.
Canucks vs. Kings (10:00)
Another completely meaningless game to close out tonight’s slate. The Kings are locked into the third seed in the Pacific, set to play Edmonton in the first round with home ice already clinched for the Oilers. LA is 44-27-10 this season and I pretty much expect them to lose in 5 or 6 games to the Oilers and get bounced out of the first round. They’re on the second half of a back to back tonight, coming off a 5-3 win in Seattle last night and they’ve played very good hockey in this closing stretch of the season, on a five game win streak with six wins in their last seven games. For a playoff team they’ve been pretty bad offensively, scoring an 13th fewest in the NHL average of 2.85 goals per game. They’ve been quite good defensively though, allowing a seventh fewest in the NHL average of just 2.79 goals per game. The Canucks are coming off a win against the Kraken as well, beating them 5-2 on Thursday night to end their three game losing streak. Vancouver’s lousy start to the season put them too 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 as they’re officially eliminated from the playoffs with a 39-30-11 record. Vancouver’s offense hasn’t been great this year, averaging 3.01 goals per game but they have been good defensively all season, allowing a tenth fewest in the NHL average of 2.84 goals per game. Tonight they’re starting third string goalie Spencer Martin again, who’s been decent in his four games this season with a 2-0-2 record, 1.69 GAA and .953 save percentage. These teams split their two previous games this season, with the Canucks winning in a 4-0 shutout at home on December 6th and the Kings winning 2-1 in a low scoring grind of a shootout at home on December 30th. With the Kings on the second half of a back to back, I’d slightly lean the Canucks win at home tonight and LA resting a bunch of their good players for the playoffs, but I don’t think this is a matchup worth betting. I’d slightly lean the under but not enough to bet it either with both teams trending over lately.
1u Bruins/Sabres over 5.5 (-142)
.5u Sabres +2 (-150)
1.5u Panthers ML (-162)
.5u Panthers +1.5 (-146)
1u Panthers/Senators over 6.5 (-150)
.5u Capitals ML (-134)
1u Lightning TT over 3.5 (-175)
1u Wild/Flames over 6 (-143)
1.5u Avalanche TT over 3.5 (-177)
Record: 803-596-32 (+22.86 units)