Islanders, Penguins Inch Toward NHL Playoff Spots

While Red Wings Dip to +250 on Their NHL Playoff Odds

The race for the NHL playoffs – the Stanley Cup Playoffs – is going down to the wire, with the final two spots in the Eastern Conference still up for grabs. The New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins have the inside track on those seeds. But it’s far from a certainty they will qualify.

As we head into the final few games of the regular season, let’s look closer at how the NHL playoff odds are shaking out.

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Odds to Make NHL Playoffs

Flyers logo Philadelphia Flyers

  • Yes: +850
  • No: -1600

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the Flyers answered the call with a surprising 4-1 beatdown of the East-leading Rangers on Thursday. The Flyers’ eight-game losing streak is now mercifully over, but it still may be too late to matter. The damage has been done.

The Flyers (37-32-11) still trail eighth-place Pittsburgh by one point with two games remaining (Saturday vs New Jersey, Tuesday vs Washington). On top of that, Pittsburgh, Washington, and Detroit all have a game in hand. Philadelphia will need a lot to break its way over the next few days to have a shot, and it still might not matter.

Based on the Flyers’ +850 NHL playoff odds, oddsmakers have all but eliminated them from contention.

Islanders logo New York Islanders

  • Yes: -1800
  • No: +900

The Islanders (37-27-15) notched their sixth straight win by edging Montreal 3-2 in overtime. They are this close to locking up a spot in the playoffs. They are now 18-12-4 since Patrick Roy took over as coach, though their goal differential remains an unsustainable minus-20.

Holding a three-point lead on Pittsburgh with three games remaining, the Islanders are all but locked into the seventh seed. Hence, they have -1800 odds to qualify.

The Islanders visit the Rangers on Saturday and the Devils on Monday before wrapping up the regular season against the Penguins on Wednesday at home.

Capitals logo Washington Capitals

  • Yes: +380
  • No: -500

The Capitals (37-31-11) trail Pittsburgh by just a point in the race for the eighth seed. But there are enough warning signs to be skeptical of their chances. First, the Capitals have an unsightly minus-42 goal differential, the third-worst in the East and just ahead of Montreal (-50) and Columbus (-64).

They have also played poorly lately, going just 1-5-2 over their last eight games. Thursday’s 4-2 loss in Buffalo was particularly troubling.

Washington still has a shot to take care of business though its tough remaining schedule doesn’t provide much hope. The Capitals host Tampa Bay on Saturday and Boston on Monday before visiting Philadelphia the following day to conclude the regular season. They are combined 3-0-3 against those teams.

Penguins logo Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Yes: -150
  • No: +120

The Penguins (37-30-12) took a big step toward the playoffs on Thursday, outlasting Detroit 6-5 in overtime on a goal by Erik Karlsson. Pittsburgh now has a one-point lead on Washington, Detroit, and Philadelphia for the final spot in the East with three games remaining.

Pittsburgh, 7-0-3 over the last 10 games, has been trending in the right direction. But it still has little room for error. It can ill-afford to slip up, especially with three teams breathing down its neck.

The remaining schedule is tricky (home vs Bruins and Predators, away vs Islanders), so the Penguins are far from a certainty to qualify. But oddsmakers like their chances, as evidenced by their -150 NHL playoff odds. Keep that in mind when making your NHL best bets.

Red Wings logo Detroit Red Wings

  • Yes: +250
  • No: -320

Detroit’s playoff chances took a critical hit in Thursday’s overtime loss to Pittsburgh. The Red Wings (38-32-9) are in a similar position as Washington, trailing the Penguins by a point with three games left.

The Red Wings are just 2-4-3 over their last nine games, including a pair of losses to the Capitals. They likely need to win out, starting with Saturday’s trip to Toronto. They’ll conclude the regular season with a home-and-home against Montreal.

For free NHL picks, betting analysis and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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