Playoff races keep heating up, and desperation is the name of the game. Whether it’s teams grasping for their last chances in their competitive windows, or those desperately trying to climb their way out of rebuilds they’ve been in for long stretches, there’s no lack of storylines to follow as the NHL inches into the last quarter of the regular season schedule.
Detroit Red Wings to beat New York Rangers
These are two teams who are riding the percentages right now, with the Rangers playing quite a bit better than the Red Wings, but still controlling less than 50 per cent of the play at 5-vs-5, even after bolstering their lineup with Vlad Tarasenko.
The Red Wings and Rangers have each won seven of their last 10, with the Wings putting pressure on the teams currently fighting for a wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference, and the Rangers solidifying themselves as a top-three team in the Metropolitan Division.
There’s a lot of risk here taking the Red Wings – they’re definitely the inferior team here – but with both teams running red-hot, it’s worth the risk for the higher payout.
Pittsburgh Penguins to beat Edmonton Oilers
Two teams filled with generational talents are both looking for answers right now. The Edmonton Oilers are in a bit of a better position than the Penguins are, taking points in nine of their last 10 games, but they’ve lost six of those games. The Penguins have also lost six of 10, including three straight. Both teams are losing winnable games against inferior opponents.
While the Oilers are looking to load up at the deadline and appear to be in a holding pattern, the Penguins are in a more desperate spot. They can’t afford to wait to figure things out as they’re outside of the playoffs right now. That desperation is what I think carries them through this game.
Anaheim Ducks to beat Washington Capitals
After 10 days away from the team to be with his father in Russia as he passed away, Alex Ovechkin makes his return to the Washington Capitals in what will surely be an emotional game. But will his return be enough to boost the Capitals?
In the time Ovechkin has been gone, the Capitals are winless and have been playing terrible hockey. They’ve fallen three spots in the standings, and are flanked on both sides by teams with higher winning percentages with games in hand. The Ducks are terrible, but they’ve been pushing better teams lately, and could play spoiler here in Washington after nearly doing the same to Florida.
Calgary Flames to beat Vegas Golden Knights
On the second-half of a back-to-back, the Calgary Flames are up against a tough team in the Vegas Golden Knights, but they’re a team that just put Mark Stone on the injured reserve as well. The Flames had everything go wrong for them on Wednesday against the Coyotes, but refused to panic and were rewarded with a huge comeback victory.
That could be a turning point on this season for the Flames, who are just outside the playoff picture in the Western Wildcard race. The biggest change for the Flames may be Darryl Sutter trusting in his youth, and being rewarded for it with a win.