Nashville and Florida head into the playoffs, others head off into the sunset.

Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche

NHL Odds: Nashville -130

 

It’s official: the Colorado Avalanche have mentally checked out for the season. There was clear evidence of this on the ice Thursday night when they lost 5-2 at home to the Columbus Blue Jackets as a -185 favorite. The Avs have now lost five of their last six games, their lone win coming against the lowly Calgary Flames, who’ve been just as bad as the Avs of late. 

The Nashville Predators come to town focused on the playoffs. Having already secured an invitation, they still need a win to secure home-ice advantage in the first round. So, they’ll have plenty of reason to get up for this game, and they probably won’t get much of a fight from Colorado. 

The Avs have scored just seven goals in their last five losses while the Preds have won five of seven while giving up just four goals in those wins. Take the Preds.

NHL Picks: Predators

  

Carolina Hurricanes at Florida Panthers

NHL Odds: Florida -180 

 

Both the Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers have momentum on their side.  Unfortunately, that momentum is pulling the two teams in diametrically opposite directions.

The Canes have won two straight and are now 7-3-1 in their last 11 games. A win on Saturday would give them a three-game winning streak to end the year, which they can use as a positive foundation in the offseason. 

Meanwhile, the Panthers, losers of five straight, are certainly not playing like a playoff team heading to the postseason; they’ve lost eight of their last nine games. And one of those losses was a 3-1 defeat at home to Carolina. 

There’s little reason to have faith in Florida right now, so bet Carolina.

NHL Picks: Hurricanes

 

Tampa Bay Lightning at Winnipeg Jets

NHL Odds: Winnipeg -145

The Winnipeg Jets are trying to finish up their first season back in Winnipeg on a positive note. Although they had a shot to make the playoffs, they stumbled a bit, which means that Saturday’s contest is their last of the season.

Winnipeg has played very well at home. A boisterous crowd can be expected to send them off with some graciousness after a good season. Winning shouldn’t be a problem for the Jets given that the Lightning are tied for the fewest road wins in the NHL.

The Jets have showed some guts with a 2-1-1 spell in their last three games. One of the losses came in Tampa Bay (3-2 in overtime), and they’ll try to return the favor on Saturday. Tampa Bay has been very disappointing in their last two road games, losing to Montreal and Toronto, the worst and third-worst teams in the Eastern Conference respectively. 

Since the Jets are a respectable 23-13-4 at home, look for them to get an emotional home win to wind down the season and head into the offseason on a positive note.

NHL Picks: Jets