It is the final day of the NHL regular season and we have just two games remaining and as it turns out the outcomes of both will impact the final playoff positions along with the betting odds.
A recap of yesterday shows Detroit was able to reach the postseason for a 25th consecutive season despite losing, because Boston had a couple of tremendous opportunities at home this week and could not get the job done. Philadelphia ended in-state rival Pittsburgh’s long winning streak and is in the playoffs.
Out West, Dallas won their contest and St. Louis did not and the Stars will have home ice advantage as long as they keep playing in conference action. Los Angeles had a 3-0 lead on home ice and was in position to wrap up the Pacific Division when they completely fell apart and ended up losing to Winnipeg 4-3 in OT, leaving the door open for Anaheim to steal the title as conference champions.
There is still plenty at stake for both the New York Islanders and the Ducks, thus we will go over the NHL odds for one final time in the regular season and make our last two NHL picks before the fight for the Stanley Cup commences.
The Islanders (45-36 SU) are headed to the postseason, but they do not know who they will be playing or who they will have available on their roster for healthy bodies. New York lost in OT at home to Buffalo and trails the Rangers by a point, but with a victory over Philadelphia, could vault out of the wild card and into third place finish in the Metropolitan.
New York has opened as -140 home favorites over Philadelphia (40-41 SU), who punched their ticket for the playoffs by defeating Pittsburgh as mentioned, leaving them seemingly little reason to play particularly hard and looking to rest as many players as possible before the next round of action for them starts.
While it would seem the Islanders would want to move up, they did not play with much urgency yesterday and might not on Sunday either. Coach Jack Capuano lost Anders Lee with a fractured fibula Thursday and is uncertain if goaltender Jaroslav Halak (groin) and defenseman Travis Hamonic (knee) will be available for Game 1 of the playoffs. Muckers Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck are also out, leaving New York assembling makeshift unit.
An Isles victory would also mean a date with Pittsburgh, who would be a very dangerous opponent compared to a younger and less playoff ready Florida squad. New York probably wins because of the casualness of Philadelphia, but it is not a given.
Free Pick – New York wins