The regular season in NHL betting action comes down to just a couple of games on Sunday, as the rest of the field is set on both sides of the draw in the Eastern Conference and Western Conference. Check out how the playoff picture looks coming into the last day of the regular season!
The Eastern Conference playoffs are all set and ready to go, with series scheduled to start on either Thursday or Friday.
#1 Washington Capitals vs. #8 New York Rangers
#2 Philadelphia Flyers vs. #7 Buffalo Sabres
#3 Boston Bruins vs. #6 Montreal Canadiens
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Tampa Bay Lightning
The Hurricanes had their chance on the final day of the regular season to make their move, but when push came to shove, they were destroyed by the Lightning 6-2 in a legitimate statement game by the Bolts. Tampa Bay finished the year with 103 points and snared two in a duel that really meant nothing to the season, as it already knew that it was playing either the Pens or Flyers in the first round.
New York got into the playoffs on the last day of its regular season by beating the New Jersey Devils at home 5-2.
Philly won the Atlantic Division thanks to its win over the New York Islanders on Saturday, which leaves Pittsburgh in the No. 4 seed once and for all regardless of the outcome of its game on Sunday against the Atlanta Thrashers.
Everything else held serve as expected in the Eastern Conference on the second to last day of the season, and as a result, nothing else changed from Friday to Saturday.
The Western Conference was a significantly different story though, as there was a ton of jostling around for playoff positioning in a very busy day on Saturday. Here’s how things look with one day left in the year…
#1 Vancouver Canucks vs. #8 Chicago Blackhawks
#2 San Jose Sharks vs. #7 Los Angeles Kings
#3 Detroit Red Wings vs. #6 Phoenix Coyotes
#4 Anahem Ducks vs. #5 Nashville Predators
In the Hunt: Dallas Stars
The top of the Western Conference finally played itself out once and for all on Saturday when the Sharks beat the Coyotes. San Jose earned the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, which makes Sunday’s game for the Red Wings against Chicago (12:30 ET) totally meaningless for the men from Motown. They’ll be the No. 3 seed as the Central Division winners.
No one really wanted to claim that No. 4 seed in the West on Saturday, as Nashville, Phoenix, and LA all lost their chances to pick up the slot. Instead, it is Anaheim that got the job done, beating the Kings for the second straight night to move all the way up to No. 4, a huge triumph for a team that really didn’t even know that it would be in the playoffs for certain until Friday. The Ducks know that they are the No. 4 seed after a picture perfect day on Saturday, regardless of what happens on Sunday.
We now know that Nashville, Phoenix, and Los Angeles are opening up on the road in the postseason, but we don’t quite know how they are all going to fall quite yet. The big question that is still remaining is whether the Blackhawks or Stars will get into the playoffs as the last team in the field of 16. Dallas needs two points against the Minnesota Wild (6:00 ET) and a regulation loss by the Blackhawks to get into the postseason. Anything less puts Chicago in.
There are still several scenarios to work out, though. If the Blackhawks get in without picking up any points on Sunday, or if the Stars get into the postseason, they will be the No. 8 seed. If the Hawks get in via an overtime or shootout loss, they will be the No. 7 seed and the Kings will drop to No. 8. If they win the game, they will be the No. 5, which would move Nashville down to No. 6, Phoenix down to No. 7, and Los Angeles down to No. 8.
Current Stanley Cup Playoff Odds
Vancouver Canucks +325
Washington Capitals +615
Philadelphia Flyers +735
Boston Bruins +900
Detroit Red Wings +950
San Jose Sharks +950
Pittsburgh Penguins +1175
Chicago Blackhawks +1800
Tampa Bay Lightning +2000
Los Angeles Kings +2400
Anaheim Ducks +3200
Phoenix Coyotes +3300
Montreal Canadiens +3300
Buffalo Sabres +3300
Nashville Predators +4000
New York Rangers +4800
Carolina Hurricanes +6000
Dallas Stars +10000
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.