Another night, another playoff spot clinched as we officially welcome the St. Louis Blues to the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Blues earned one point for their overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, and with the Los Angeles Kings' regulation loss to the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis is now locked in to the No. 4 spot in the West Division. Here's what to watch for in Saturday's 14-game slate:
Having reached the final stretch of the regular season, it's time to check in on all the playoff races -- along with the teams jockeying for position in the 2021 NHL draft lottery.
- There aren't many other teams that are locked in to particular spots right now, but one of them is the Carolina Hurricanes, who have clinched the Central Division crown. They'll face off against the Nashville Predators, who can clinch a playoff spot with a win. Elsewhere in the Central, it's the latest skirmish in the Battle of Florida, as the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers continue to joust for seeding; they're currently tied with 75 standings points, but the Lightning hold the regulation wins tiebreaker. You can catch this game streaming on ESPN+ tonight.
- In the North Division, the Montreal Canadiens can move closer to punching their playoff ticket with a win in their contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The idle Calgary Flames will be hoping for a regulation win for the Maple Leafs, while the Vancouver Canucks must win their game against the Edmonton Oilers tonight to keep their hopes alive.
- While the Blues are locked into the No. 4 spot, the Golden Knights, Avalanche and Minnesota Wild are all still in the mix for the top seed. Vegas and St. Louis square off again tonight in a potential playoff preview (streaming on ESPN+), while the Avs get the Kings and the Wild face the Anaheim Ducks.
- The East Division has had its four playoff teams clinched longer than anyone -- but there's the least clarity as to the order in which they'll finish. The Pittsburgh Penguins have a two-point lead in the standings over the Washington Capitals, and play their final regular-season tilt this afternoon against the Buffalo Sabres. Pittsburgh and the Caps are even in regulation wins, and the Pens won the season series, 6-2. The Capitals get a rematch against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday after losing Friday night. The Boston Bruins are two points back of Washington and four points back of Pittsburgh, but have three games remaining, the first of which is at 3 p.m. ET today against the New York Rangers. Finally, the New York Islanders need a lot of help to move out of fourth into third, but one part of the process would be a win in their game against the New Jersey Devils tonight.
LA Kings +116
So let me see if I have this right: The road team playing its last game of the Reg season and locked into their playoff seed - is playing the home team playing its last home game of the season and I am supposed to think the road team is gonna win? LOL! If Craig Berube plays ANYONE of importance in this 100% meaningless game for the Blues he should not be allowed back on the flight to St. Louis. He should be fired on the spot. I just don't see how or why the Blues come to play here and how they give a FFFFFFFFFF! Kings will come to play and should easily win. The APL of Kings -1.5 +283 should cash, too. I see Kings winning this one 4-1ish. I sense this line will be like Sunday's Hawks/Dallass game where Hawks opened +150ish then everyone was smart enough to realize Dallass didn't give a........about this game and Hawks closed the fave (or close to it). I'll be shocked if Kings don't close the fave here which is why I am playing this now.
Agreed on this one, Blues held out five or six guys in Vegas and see no reason to do any differently here.
Do you think the Kings will put up any resistance in Colorado this week or they put out their best effort for the last home game and then mail in the last games?
Maybe. Don't know. I also need to know what the Avs situation is like and we will know more after Monday. I can see the Kings coming to play in 1 of the 2 games.
LOS ANGELES -½ +193 over St. Louis
10:08 PM EST. Regulation only. While the rest of the teams are wrapping up the season and waiting for the playoffs to begin, the Blues still have three more games left before their playoff season begins and we have to wonder why they would care after playing Vegas in back-to-back games. The Golden Knights are the team that the Blues are going to be facing in the first round and they just lost to them not once but both games. If the intention was to send a message to the Knights, perhaps the Blues did, as they were not an easy out in either game. However, after clinching a playoff berth and with no chance of moving up or down in the standings, and with numerous injuries hanging over their head, why the f**k would St. Louis over-exert themselves in the final three games of the year. They need all the energy they can muster up to go back into Vegas for a first round matchup. It simply makes no sense for the Blue Notes to come in here and start banging bodies. Meanwhile, what the Kings lack in talent, they make up for with effort and that’s a handy tool to get us to the cashier’s window. Great spot and a great price on the Kings to win in regulation because the last thing the Blues want to do is play extra time when it means jack.
MONTREAL -½ +146 over Edmonton
7:08 PM EST. Regulation only. Connor McDavid has been the big story for the Oilers, a team that clinched their playoff position over a week ago. McDavid is racking up the points at a torrid pace and despite playing just 53 games this season, McDavid has 100 points. Dude has been on a tear as of late with 31 points in his last 11 games to ensure he was the ninth player to score 100 points in 53 games, joining the likes of Gretzky and Lemieux. With the second seed in the North locked up and McDavid having secured the 100 point milestone, what is driving the Oilers in this game? As McDavid said "We obviously have bigger things to worry about." Those bigger things would be a long playoff run, one that the Oilers have not been on since McDavid's arrival. While a two-game set with the Canadiens might be a first round preview, there should be little incentive here for the Oilers to show their cards. All this team has to do is get to the playoffs with its star player healthy. Anything less than that would be a total failure.
The Habs have lost three straight, but they are still going to the postseason, even if the Flames and Canucks are still "technically" in it. However, Montreal has not officially clinched and therefore, their playoff positioning has not yet been decided. Montreal is two games back of Winnipeg for fourth in the North. To finish third would mean facing the Oilers, which is no small feat, but when compared to battling the mighty Maple Leafs (who just beat Montreal in two straight games), the choice is clear. The Jets have a game in hand and so the Habs do not totally control their destiny, but Winnipeg hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire recently either, which opened the door for Edmonton to lock up that second seed. It’s all hands on deck for Montreal, who holds a massive advantage over Edmonton in the puck possession metrics and all the other predictive metrics that reveal which team should win the important battles that decide games. We get the superior team, the more motivated team and we get them in their own barn at a price. Why should the Oilers push back? Edmonton has everything to lose and nothing to gain. We're willing to bet the Habs punch their ticket to the dance tonight and if they don't, we'll come right back on them in "Game 2" Wednesday night.
How the fuck can the NHL show it's face after their handling of Tom Wilson. Panarin out for season as a result of being rag-dolled. 'Buch' being punched to the head while laying defenseless. All of this happens in the span of minutes of one another. In today's day, 'Buch' should press assault charges. Cannot believe that the cocksucker Wilson gets off with a 5k fine.
Why is Bettman a POS? He doesn't make these calls. If you don't understand something as fundamental as that, it's no wonder you can't control your emotions and got your Twitter account suspended. And if your reply is he should have done something as the head of the league you're just flat out wrong. You put qualified people in their positions and let them do their jobs, not overreach when you disagree with the guy you hired for the job. You don't like the decisions he made, don't renew his contract or fire him when appropriate.....and then 2 days later we all got what we knew would happen. For a league trying to move past that it FAILED since EVERYONE showed the opening faceoff and then the UFC battle that ensued. All of the effort the NHL made to move the sport past that was shoved aside in a nanosecond.
Bettman is a P.O.S. Wilson needed to be suspended for at least the next game and probably for the rest of the season - not just Reg but Playoffs.
I got my Twitter account Suspended (Deleted) because I posted that Wilson needed to get a stick shoved down his throat or up his ass - blade end first. Wilson never saw it because that fucker blocked me.
Wilson needs to be suspended from the league. PERMANENTLY if he can't stop doing shit like this. And he can't
Why is Bettman a POS? He doesn't make these calls. If you don't understand something as fundamental as that, it's no wonder you can't control your emotions and got your Twitter account suspended. And if your reply is he should have done something as the head of the league you're just flat out wrong. You put qualified people in their positions and let them do their jobs, not overreach when you disagree with the guy you hired for the job. You don't like the decisions he made, don't renew his contract or fire him when appropriate.
Any examples or just hearsay?Bettman reportedly has stepped in on a number of occasions and made changes to planned DOPS rulings. He has done it whenever he felt the message would be interpreted wrong or would bring undue stress on the league's image. I think surely such a view should have been interjected for this one. This was clearly the talk of the hockey media that night, to have a paltry fine the next day was brutal. The Caps really didn't need Wilson down the stretch he could have easily suspended him a few games and not impacted their playoffs.
Any examples or just hearsay?
I read this article and still not seeing "others speculating". My opinion of this piece is he stepped in the last time when the consensus was he made a mistake that time overstepping and realized it after and knew better than to do it again. And don't get me wrong, I'm by no means in Wilson's corner and simply backing my original statement. That's simply not the job or the role of the league commissioner.Of course everything is hearsay, the league isn't just going to announce he overruled Parros. But here you go one example of it and others have speculated it wasn't the only time.
I read this article and still not seeing "others speculating". My opinion of this piece is he stepped in the last time when the consensus was he made a mistake that time overstepping and realized it after and knew better than to do it again. And don't get me wrong, I'm by no means in Wilson's corner and simply backing my original statement. That's simply not the job or the role of the league commissioner.
Kings +400 is worth a few pennies in my estimation. Avs starting Johansson, Kings got embarrassed, and Avs going to sit a few players and monitor ice time. I could look stupid on this one, but just feels like a massive overreaction to last night.
Home ice advantage through out the playoffs on the line and they're going with Johansson, pretty dumb although the Kings are making offseason plans as we speak. The Avs are a whole different animal at Ball Arena and I watched the life come out the Kings when they lost in overtime to the Blues the other night. Should be another easy win but anything over -300 is to rich for my blood.Kings +400 is worth a few pennies in my estimation. Avs starting Johansson, Kings got embarrassed, and Avs going to sit a few players and monitor ice time. I could look stupid on this one, but just feels like a massive overreaction to last night.
Home ice advantage through out the playoffs on the line and they're going with Johansson, pretty dumb although the Kings are making offseason plans as we speak. The Avs are a whole different animal at Ball Arena and I watched the life come out the Kings when they lost in overtime to the Blues the other night. Should be another easy win but anything over -300 is to rich for my blood.