NHL April Preview

NHL April Preview

We are now into the final month of the NHL season and several teams are battling desperately to nail down playoff places. The top eight teams in the Eastern Conference have pulled clear of the chasing pack, so all that is left is for them to vie for the top seeds. However, the playoff race remains wide open in the west, so there will be lots of tense games in April.

We have rounded up the most exciting clashes to mark in your diary, including a potentially monumental showdown between the Stars and the Golden Knights. You will also find the key betting trends as we hurtle into the final weeks, along with a futures betting update.

Minnesota Wild vs. Nashville Predators

Tuesday, April 5, at Bridgestone Arena

Most of the drama, intrigue and excitement will come from the Western Conference during the final month of the regular season. The Avs are home and dry at the top of the Central Division, but the teams below them are furiously jostling for position. The Wild are second, three points clear of the St. Louis Blues and five ahead of the Predators.

The Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets are also firmly in contention for playoff places, while the Flames, Kings, Oilers, Golden Knights and Canucks are all vying for postseason places in the Pacific Division. The Preds and the Golden Knights currently occupy the wild card berths, but there is still plenty of time for that to change.

This game between Minnesota and Nashville in Tennessee will be vital for both teams. The Wild have gone 7-1-2 in their last 10 games, and the franchise has been galvanized by the arrival of Marc-Andre Fleury. Tayson Jost and Nicolas Deslauriers have also bolstered the roster, leaving Minnesota well equipped for the home stretch. Yet they will have a tough evening against a Nashville team led by the devastating Filip Forsberg and the dangerous Roman Josi.

Winnipeg Jets vs. Florida Panthers

Friday, April 15, at BB&T Center

The Winnipeg Jets now trail the Golden Knights by just four points in the wild card race after winning eight of their last 11 games. They are building up a great deal of momentum at the perfect time of the year, and it is largely down to an extremely potent offense. Six different forwards scored 10-plus points in March, which bodes well.

However, Winnipeg faces a very difficult run of games during the stretch. The only two divisional games remaining on its schedule are against the Avs, and it must also face runaway Atlantic Division leaders Florida Panthers on Friday next week. That could prove to be a decisive game. The Panthers have been unstoppable at home, so it will be an excellent gauge of Winnipeg’s playoff credentials.

Dallas Stars vs. Vancouver Canucks

Monday, April 18, at Rogers Arena

The Stars are currently sitting just outside the wild card places, one point behind the Golden Knights and three behind the Predators. However, Dallas has played fewer games than those teams, and its destiny is now in its own hands. They have won four of their last five games, and their away results have been impressive this year. The Stars went 4-9-1 on the road in 2021, but they are now 12-7-1 away in 2022.

Yet they will need to be at their best to leave Vancouver with a victory. The Canucks still have a faint chance of gatecrashing the postseason, as they are only six points behind the Stars, with several games left to play. They have lost seven of their last 10, but they are not dead and buried yet. Their home form is a concern though, as Vancouver is just 14-14-5 at Rogers Arena this season, so this looks like a game in which the Stars can secure a huge win.

Calgary Flames vs. Nashville Predators

Tuesday, April 10, at Bridgestone Arena

Calgary’s position at the top of the Pacific Division suddenly looks shaky after the Flames lost back-to-back games to the Oilers and the Kings. They remain five points clear of Los Angeles and six ahead of Edmonton, but they need to return to winning ways quickly.

Results should pick up down the stretch. Tyler Toffoli has proved to be a shrewd addition with eight goals and 17 points in his first 20 games, and Calle Jarnrock has deservedly drawn plaudits for his versatility and tenacity. Recent defeats have been narrow, and they remain a strong team.

This trip to Nashville could be intriguing. The Preds have won their last three games against the Flames by a single goal, including a 3-2 victory back in November. Clashes between these teams are always tight and entertaining, so it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top at Bridgestone Arena next Tuesday.

Vegas Golden Knights vs. Dallas Stars

Tuesday, April 26, at American Airlines Center

The next month will be huge for the Golden Knights. They are currently clinging onto the second wild card spot, as they are one point ahead of the Stars, but they have played four extra games. They may well need to clinch a top-three finish in the Pacific Division to make the playoffs, and they are just three points behind the Oilers and four behind the Kings, so that is an achievable goal.

Logan Thompson has done well to keep the Knights competitive recently, and he basked in praise after a shutout win over Seattle, but the team will be pleased to welcome Robin Lehner back into the fold. One of the brightest notes has been the form of Evgenii Dadonov, who put up five points in two games after his trade to Anaheim was blocked by the league.

This will be a big game against the Stars. They are battling one another for a wild card place, and a win for Vegas could be crucial in Dallas. The Knights have won their last three games against Dallas, including a 5-4 thriller in December, so this encounter could see fireworks.

St. Louis Blues vs. Vegas Golden Knights

Friday, April 29, at Enterprise Center

The season draws to a close with the Golden Knights hosting the Blues at the Death Star. The Blues are currently third in the Central Division, but they have the Preds and the Stars breathing down their neck. They are also just four points ahead of the Knights in the current standings, so this could be a winner-takes-all game.

The Blues have already beaten Vegas twice this season, but they have gone off the boil in recent weeks. St. Louis has lost five of its last seven, the goaltending has been sloppy and Jordan Kyrou is on a worrying goal drought, so who knows what sort of shape they will be in by April 29.

Vancouver Canucks vs. Edmonton Oilers

Monday, April 18, at Rogers Place

The Oilers have rediscovered the form they displayed at the start of the season, going 7-2-1 in their last 10 to power into third place in the Pacific Division. They have all the momentum now, but they are still locked in a three-way battle with the Kings and the Golden Knights for a top-three finish.

It does not look likely right now, but the Canucks could also be in contention if their results improve in the weeks ahead. Either way, this could be a dramatic season finale at Rogers Place if the Oilers’ playoff hopes are hanging in the balance.

Betting Trends

  • Home teams have won precisely 54% of all games so far this season, while they have covered the puck line 47.7% of the time.
  • Favorites have justified their status by winning 64.6% of all games. Home favorites win 64.8% of the time, and away favorites win 64.1% of their games.
  • Over has paid off in 52.7% of all games so far this season. When a game goes to overtime, under has paid off 52.1% of the time.
  • The Buffalo Sabres have the best ATS record this season (41-28). At home, the Blue Jackets have a league best 23-12 ATS record, while the Kings have the best away record (23-11).
  • The Boston Bruins have the worst ATS record (26-41). At home, they are just 9-25 ATS. The Detroit Red Wings have the worst ATS away record at 11-21.

Futures Betting Update

The Avs are the +400 favorites with FanDuel and Caesars Sportsbook to win the Stanley Cup this year. The second favorites, Florida Panthers, are best priced at +575 with PointsBet. The Flames are priced at +900, and you can also find +900 on the Tampa Bay Lightning to pull off a three-peat. The Hurricanes (+1000) and the Maple Leafs (+1400) round out the top six in the futures betting.

The Golden Knights are +140 to make the playoffs and -160 to fail to do so. BetRivers, PlaySugarHouse and Unibet have -150 on the Blues to reach the playoffs and -148 on the Flames to secure a place. The Panthers are the +290 favorites with Caesars Sportsbook to win the Eastern Conference, and FanDuel has a market leading +175 on the Avs to win the Western Conference.

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