With fewer than 30 regular-season games left on the schedule for each team, the battle for playoff positioning continues to intensify. Parity is at an all-time high in the NHL. The race for the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference is set to be a good one. Only three points separate the four teams currently in contention for those playoff positions. In the Western Conference, only five points separate teams ranked between two and 10. It has been a long time since we have such a tightly-packed conference, and the last couple of months are shaping up to be an exciting finish.
- The Washington Capitals have the highest over percentage of any team at 65.4% (34-18-0)
- The Florida Panthers have gone over in 63.3% of their games (31-18-0)
- The Columbus Blue Jackets have the highest under percentage of any team at 64.2% (34-19-0)
- The Dallas Stars have gone under in 62.7% of their games (32-19-0)
- The Washington Capitals are the most profitable team ATS at a 66.67% win rate (36-18-0)
Bests Bets of the Weekend
Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets (Friday, 7 PM)
The Columbus Blue Jackets are playing some excellent hockey of late. They are 8-1-1 in their last ten and have received some outstanding goaltending from Elvis Merzlikins. One of the best teams on home ice, the Blue Jackets carry a 17-9-2 record into Friday night. They will be on three days rest, while in contrast, the Red Wings will be on a back-to-back with travel. Expect the Blue Jackets to keep things rolling.
The Pick: Columbus Blue Jackets, Regulation
Anaheim Ducks at Toronto Maple Leafs (Friday, 7 PM)
After a 3-0 start following the All-Star Break, the Maple Leafs have dropped two in a row to fall out of a playoff spot. Starting goalie Frederik Andersen is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, and defenseman Morgan Rielly is still injured. The Leafs made a trade with the Kings to improve their back-up goalie position and add some grit to the roster. I expect the Maple Leafs to be fired up on Friday night after two bad losses. The Ducks will be playing their third game in four nights, and it is simply not a good spot for them.
The Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs, Moneyline
Arizona Coyotes at Boston Bruins (Saturday, 3 PM)
The Bruins will bring their league-leading 18-2-9 home record into a Saturday afternoon matchup against the Coyotes. Winners of their last five games, the Bruins are first in the Eastern Conference and are playing like a true Stanley Cup contender. David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand continue to be the engine that drives Boston’s offensive attack. Goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak form one of the best one-two combos in the game.
The Pick: Boston Bruins, Moneyline
Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks (Saturday, 10 PM)
After a lengthy five-game road trip, the Vancouver Canucks will return home Saturday night to face the Flames. It will be nice to be home for Vancouver, as they have a 17-5-3 record in their own building. The last time these two teams met in December, the Canucks were victorious in a 5-2 win. The Canucks are the better all-around team and currently sit first in the Pacific after going 7-2-1 in their last 10.
The Pick: Vancouver Canucks, Moneyline