The NHL’s regular season is ending with a bang as 30 of the league’s 32 teams are in action on Friday night with the playoffs just a few days away. Every postseason berth has been clinched but there is still seeding to be worked out which gives importance to games like the Boston Bruins taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Washington Capitals visiting the New York Rangers.
Let’s preview all 15 games on Friday’s slate based on what the BetUS sportsbook says for each:
Red Wings vs Devils
The regular season can’t end soon enough for both the Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils, who were two of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference this year.
Detroit has dropped three of four with the Red Wings’ only win in that span being a 3-0 victory over the Devils over the weekend. New Jersey, on the other hand, has lost five straight and was smoked 6-3 by the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.
Interestingly, the Devils are favored in this game even at a rest disadvantage. Take Detroit straight-up at a solid value.
Blackhawks vs Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres look to close their season on a five-game winning streak as they host the Chicago Blackhawks, who stunned the Vegas Golden Knights in a shootout on Tuesday. Buffalo had a lost season in general but the Sabres perked up in the second half of the season, particularly on offense.
Buffalo is a slight home favorite and is a good bet to win in regulation with how impressive the Sabres have been as of late.
Bruins vs Maple Leafs
Even with the season almost over, the Boston Bruins still have some work left to do. With a win and a Tampa Bay Lightning loss, Boston can become the third seed in the Atlantic and play the Toronto Maple Leafs — their opponent on Friday — in the 1st round instead of the Carolina Hurricanes.
There could be some gamesmanship going on here by both teams depending on who they want to face in the postseason. That makes it a tough game to bet on. Toronto is a slight home favorite even though the Maple Leafs might rest players, especially if they’d rather play Boston than Tampa Bay. Side with the Bruins on the moneyline.
Panthers vs Canadiens
The Florida Panthers have been on cruise control for awhile now as they’ve had the top spot in the Eastern Conference for a solid chunk of time. They need to turn the intensity back up for the playoffs, and can get that process started against the Montreal Canadiens tonight. Montreal ended a nine-game skid with an impressive win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
Still, Florida is a huge road favorite on the NHL betting lines and should crush Montreal. Go with the Panthers on the puckline in a true postseason warmup.
Capitals vs Rangers
If the Washington Capitals can break out of a funk and get some help from the Columbus Blue Jackets, they can sneak into the No. 3 seed in the Metropolitan and avoid the Florida Panthers in the 1st round. Washington has dropped three straight and is one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Should Washington leap the Penguins, the Capitals will take on the New York Rangers in the postseason. With Washington at Madison Square Garden on Friday, the Rangers can have a lot of influence over who they meet in the playoffs. With a regulation loss, the Capitals will be relegated to the Wild Card.
This game is a tossup so you can take either side. The Capitals, however, are probably the smart pick because they have something to play for. Look for Washington to have a nice bounceback performance.
Senators vs Flyers
Like the Buffalo Sabres, the Ottawa Senators are looking to wrap up a disappointing season with an optimistic feeling. Ottawa won four straight before getting shut out by the Florida Panthers but the Senators have still played good hockey over the past few weeks. The same cannot be said about the Philadelphia Flyers, who have lost eight of 10.
The Flyers are surprising home favorites. They are at a rest advantage after Ottawa lost on Thursday but that’s still a strange line so you should take the Senators to win outright.
Blue Jackets vs Penguins
As mentioned above, all the Pittsburgh Penguins need to do to make sure they remain the No. 3 seed in the Metropolitan is beat the Columbus Blue Jackets. Tristan Jarry is still out due to injury, which doesn’t help matters, but Pittsburgh should have enough healthy talent to avoid ending the regular season on a three-game losing streak.
Columbus has dropped five of seven and while the Blue Jackets just beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, they played on Thursday and will probably be tired. As a result, the Penguins are big home favorites. Take Pittsburgh to win easily and cover the puckline in an important game.
Lightning vs Islanders
The Tampa Bay Lightning also want to win on Friday to make sure they don’t slip into the Wild Card picture. Tampa Bay has won four straight games in rather dominant fashion and will look to make it five against a New York Islanders team limping to the finish line. New York did beat the Washington Capitals in back-to-back games this week but the Islanders lost their previous five games.
Look for the Lightning to take care of business as comfortable road favorites after a disappointing 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Parlay Tampa Bay to win in regulation with the under.
Golden Knights vs Blues
The 2021-22 season’s biggest disappointment was the Vegas Golden Knights, who entered the year as the presumptive favorites in the Western Conference and will end it outside of the postseason for the first time in franchise history. They collapsed down the stretch too, losing three straight and five of six.
The St. Louis Blues, on the other hand, have only lost twice since April 1st and could overtake the Minnesota Wild for second place in the Central with a regulation win and a Minnesota regulation loss. St. Louis is a solid favorite over Vegas and is a decent pick to win in regulation with the Golden Knights in such a funk.
Avalanche vs Wild
If they get at least one point against the Colorado Avalanche, the Minnesota Wild can get home-ice advantage in their 1st round matchup with the St. Louis Blues. Minnesota has won six of seven and just beat the Calgary Flames in overtime yesterday while the Avalanche — who wrapped up the top spot in the West a while ago — has dropped five of six.
The Wild are slight underdogs but, if you’re betting online, you should go with Minnesota. Colorado has nothing to play for and Minnesota was a great home team this season, so the Wild want that No. 2 seed very badly.
Flames vs Jets
Instead of competing for a playoff berth, as most people expected them to do, the Winnipeg Jets missed the postseason for the first time since 2017. Their opponent on Friday — the Calgary Flames — had a much different 2021-22 campaign, shocking the hockey world to easily win the Pacific Division.
Calgary is a sizable road favorite in Winnipeg despite having played yesterday and not having much incentive to go for a win here. Take the Jets straight-up solely because of the value and the rest advantage.
Ducks vs Stars
The Dallas Stars have clinched at least a Wild Card spot but they need to do a little more if they want to avoid the Colorado Avalanche in the 1st round. Dallas is one point behind the Nashville Predators for the No. 1 Wild Card seed. So, Dallas needs to beat the Anaheim Ducks in regulation and needs the Predators to lose to the Arizona Coyotes in regulation.
The Stars are comfortable home favorites in a game they’ll really try to win. With Anaheim struggling mightily for two months, Dallas should be able to cover the puck line.
Canucks vs Oilers
Due to a huge surge in late March and April, the Edmonton Oilers secured the No. 2 spot in the Pacific and will play the Los Angeles Kings in the opening round of the postseason. Edmonton is 12-2-1 in its last 15 games with a lot of the credit going to veteran goalie Mike Smith, who is on a personal nine-start winning streak.
Mike Smith improved to 9-0-0 with 1.66 GAA, .951 SV% & 2 SO in his last 9 starts, tying Jacques Plante (1970-71) for the longest win streak by a goalie age 40 or older in #NHL history.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) April 27, 2022
He’ll get the nod on Friday as Edmonton wraps up its regular season against the Vancouver Canucks, who hung around in the playoff race but couldn’t overcome a terrible start to the year. Edmonton is a big favorite and you should take the Oilers in regulation, possibly parlayed with the over.
Sharks vs Kraken
The Seattle Kraken will try to send their fans home with a win in their first regular-season finale. Seattle has lost four consecutive games at the tail-end of a surprisingly poor debut campaign. Their opponent, the San Jose Sharks, hasn’t been much better lately with 13 losses in their last 16 games.
Seattle is a slight favorite but this game is close to a pick’em. Take the Kraken who are at a rest advantage.
Predators vs Coyotes
The Nashville Predators control their playoff destiny. If they beat the Arizona Coyotes, they’ll play the Calgary Flames in the 1st round of the playoffs. If they lose to the Coyotes and the Dallas Stars win, Nashville might be matched up with the mighty Colorado Avalanche.
Nashville won’t have Juuse Saros tonight and might not have him for a while as he recovers from a lower-body injury, so it’s up to David Rittich. Even though Arizona has won two in a row, the Predators are huge road favorites and are a great bet on the puck line. Expect Nashville to win big, despite playing a tough game against Colorado on Thursday night.