There isn’t that much time left in this lockout-shortened season and Saturday’s slew of games could end up being massive in the grand scheme of things. The playoff races are in full heat and the finish line is just weeks away.
Here are three NHL betting games to check out and all three will have an effect on the playoff spots in both the Eastern and Western Conferences. Intensity will be in the air, so make sure you take that into account when you lay your hockey bets.
Montreal Canadiens @ Toronto Maple Leafs
Odds: Maple Leafs -110
In another edition of this age-old rivalry, we could be getting a playoff preview as the Habs are second in the East, while Toronto is fifth, but the Maple Leafs were eight points behind their rivals in the Northeast Division, which means they could steal the division if Montreal slips up. The Buds have won two of the three meetings so far, and the road team has won all three meetings in 2013. Both teams are playing well right now, but Montreal is excellent on the road and they’ll sneak out of the “Big Smoke” with a victory.
New York Rangers @ New York Islanders
Odds: Islanders -115
The Islanders have made the battle for New York supremacy an actual battle as they’re two points ahead of the Rangers in seventh place, and both clubs are trying to hold off Winnipeg, who are tied on 44 points with the Rangers heading into Friday’s games. The Rangers have won two of the three meetings between the two, but their backs are against the wall and to be honest, they’ve been one of the most disappointing teams in the league this season. The Islanders have been one of the biggest surprises and they’re going to keep rolling towards the playoffs, while the Rangers will have a lot of work to do, although both teams from the Big Apple could still make it into the postseason.
Columbus Blue Jackets @ Minnesota Wild
Columbus has been solid over the past couple weeks and they’re no longer a laughing stock as they’re only three points out of the final playoff spot as of Friday. They’re also five points behind seventh-place Minnesota, which has had its moments, but they’re probably up there with the Rangers in terms of disappointments because the moves they made in the postseason, although losing Dany Heatley has to sting. The Wild have won both meetings with the Blue Jackets in 2013, but they’ve lost two in a row coming into this game and a third loss would really hinder their playoff chances. The Blue Jackets are starting to come on and Sergei Bobrovsky has been fantastic in goal (who saw that coming?) for Columbus, and Minnesota’s offense will have a tough time getting past him. That being said, Minnesota is a better team at home than Columbus is on the road, so look for the Wild to eke out a tight victory.