Weekend NHL Outlook: Playoff Implications on the Line

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Weekend NHL Outlook: Playoff Implications on the Line
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The NHL heads into its final two weekends of the regular season. Two weeks from now, the regular season will be on its last night. April 14th will be here before anyone knows it. 

The weekend features an easy-to-digest schedule, with a few teams playing three games in four nights (all those Thursday games).

Schedule Breakdown

Let us do this by the number of games each day. 

  • Friday – 4
  • Saturday – 13
  • Sunday – 9

Saturday fires in with four late-night games this time around. The games end a little later than usual on Friday to partially set up for Saturday. 

Who plays back-to-back this weekend? Here are those teams below. 

  • NY Rangers (Thursday, Friday)
  • Detroit (Thursday, Friday)
  • Buffalo (Friday, Saturday)
  • Dallas (Friday, Saturday)
  • Arizona (Friday, Saturday)
  • New Jersey (Saturday, Sunday)
  • St. Louis (Saturday, Sunday)
  • Boston (Saturday, Sunday)
  • NY Islanders (Saturday, Sunday)
  • Carolina (Saturday, Sunday)
  • Toronto (Saturday, Sunday)
  • Pittsburgh (Saturday, Sunday)
  • Philadelphia (Saturday, Sunday)
  • Anaheim (Saturday, Sunday)
  • Los Angeles (Saturday, Sunday)
  • Ottawa (Saturday, Sunday)
  • Columbus (Saturday, Sunday)

Again, this is pretty easy to take. The Sunday games start at 1:00 pm ET, with a TNT doubleheader headlining Rangers-Capitals and Bruins-Blues. 

Before Saturday Comes Friday

Four games on Friday night, and all at least have some playoff implications. The Rangers try to bounce back against the Sabres (a team they have beaten six straight times but have not covered against the spread in four tries). Detroit stunned Carolina last night in regulation. Could they do that again to a reeling Winnipeg team? Detroit on the moneyline at +190 would be interesting, along with Buffalo at +120.

The Rangers and Sabres also have a juicy over of 6.5 goals. New York was held to one goal in New Jersey on Thursday. That has been rare for one of the higher-scoring teams in the league over the past month. Buffalo may be getting most of their offense back for this game too. Things may get fun quickly.

Even Calgary and Vancouver are far from automatic, with Vancouver playing better of late. Vancouver is another underdog who may be worth a second look. 

Just One ABC Game

ABC gives us one game on Saturday afternoon as the Boston Bruins travel to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins. Pittsburgh is in a nasty three-way battle with Florida and the New York Islanders for the final two spots in the Eastern Conference playoffs. This is shaping up more to be a battle between Florida and Pittsburgh. However, anything can happen over the next two weeks. 

Expect fewer goals in the ABC game. Boston and Pittsburgh are appearing to transition their games more toward playoff hockey. Boston escaped with a 2-1 overtime win against Columbus on Thursday. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh scored two goals and shut out Nashville at home. Again, even with all the talent on the ice, goals may be at a premium. 

Player props may be an option too. Consider the usual Crosby and Pastrnak goal and shot props. However, looking at power-play points via Kris Letang or Evgeni Malkin may work. Get a bit creative but do not go too overboard. After all, there are 12 other games on the Saturday schedule. 

The always-entertaining “Battle Of Ontario” between Toronto and Ottawa and a Lightning-Islanders tilt should be a defensive struggle. 

More On The Weekend

Hockey bettors get nine more games on Sunday and none of those crazy 10:30 at-night East Coast starters. Sunday features another installment in the “Battle Of Pennsylvania” and a New Jersey trip to Winnipeg (NHL Network). Winnipeg has been a house of horrors for the Devils for at least a decade.

The Islanders come back on Sunday to play Carolina, who get to spend the weekend at home after entertaining Montreal on Saturday. This will be quite the dash to the playoffs, as divisions, seeding, and wildcard spots are all up for grabs.

Gambling.com is primed to deliver hockey coverage well into the playoffs until the Stanley Cup is awarded. This is only the beginning. 

Some Quick Points To Be Mindful Of

  • Watch as scoring ticks down a bit. Some unders are out there for the taking. 
  • New York Islanders and Tampa Bay. Expect playoff intensity and defensive breakdowns. The goalies can more than hold up here. 
  • A dozen teams play on Saturday and Sunday. New Jersey may be the most tired after an emotional win on Thursday.
  • Carolina needs four points at home, but the Islanders will be a tough test. Both teams will be unrested. Is this game where more goals could be scored?
  • Connor McDavid is at 61 goals. Can he get close to 65 or beyond? Check out some creative player props this weekend with the league’s best player.
  • Two players have 50 or more goals. Could Brayden Point, Mikko Rantanen, and Leon Draisaitl join them soon? Sports Interaction has a prop concerning whether five players will score 50+ goals.
  • See our note below.

Good luck, and once more, thanks for reading! Expect a few more plays and tips via social media later.

Thanks to BetMGM and the Sports Interaction weekend lines. TSN and ESPN.com give us easy-to-follow schedules. 

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Chris Wassel

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