After a few very hot weeks, last Saturday was a bit of a bust when it came to my picks, with my record going a measly 2-4. However, I am still pretty happy with my overall record on the year, all things considered.
We head into the last Saturday of the 2018-19 season with both the Eastern and Western Conference playoff scenarios all already locked in. The Columbus Blue Jackets secured the eighth and final wild-card spot Friday night with a shootout victory over the New York Rangers.
With that said, this could be a bit of a tough day to predict, betting-wise, so go easy with the wagers and save the serious cash for the playoffs.
However, there is still a stacked schedule on tap for today, and no team wants to back into the postseason. So as always, do you research and stick the following picks. Thanks for riding with me this season. Hope to do it again next year.
Side bets: 26-25
Overall combined: 57-45 (55%)
New York Rangers @ Pittsburgh Penguins – Pick: Penguins
A pillar of playoff consistency over the last decade, the Pens find themselves once again in the mix for Lord Stanley. Pittsburgh has the luxury of getting healthy at the best time of the year, as superstar forward Evgeni Malkin returned from injury on Thursday in a tidy 4-1 win over the Red Wings.
As for New York, the Rangers played just last night and lost a heartbreaker in the shootout to the Blue Jackets with emerging goaltender Alexandar Georgiev between the pipes. Meaning, fading veteran Henrik Lundqvist will man the blue paint tonight for the Blueshirts, which is good news for Pittsburgh. King Hank hasn’t registered a win since March 9 and will fail to register 20 wins in a season for the first time in his career.
Pittsburgh steamrolls in this one on the way into the playoffs. Hammer the Pens for my final Gold pick of the year.
New York Islanders @ Washington Capitals – Pick: Under 5.5
The New York Islanders went from being a complete joke to being one of the toughest teams in the league to play against in only one year.
The Islanders allowed a league-low 191 goals-against this season on the back of stellar play from No. 1 goalie Robin Lehner and an underrated blue-line, but you cannot deny the impact of new head coach Barry Trotz, who has obviously made this group play with a defense-first approach.
Trotz and Co. head into familiar territory against the bench boss’s former club tonight in Washington for a game that is shaping up to be a low-scoring contest. Four of the last six games between these two clubs has gone under the total. Even with the number sitting at 5.5 instead of 6 or higher, I still like this game to be tight-checking and low scoring.
Sprinkle a wager on the under 5.5 total, but if you can get it at 6 or higher, hammer it with a more substantial bet.
Chicago Blackhawks @ Nashville Predators – Pick: Predators
OK, everyone knows I like to bet on the Preds with regularity, so I am staying consistent and taking them with my last Bronze play of the season. Bottom line: Nashville is the real deal, and with one of the deepest rosters in the league, the Predators will be going on yet another deep run at the Cup over the next few weeks.
Despite coming on strong in the second half of 2018-19 campaign, most of this season was a major disappointment for the Blackhawks, as the club has struggled with injuries and lack of depth all year.
Nashville carries a 7-2-1 record into its tilt with Chi Town tonight, and I expect that record to improve with another Predators win.
Edmonton Oilers @ Calgary Flames – Pick: Oilers
Columbus Blue Jackets @ Ottawa Senators – Pick: Senators
Carolina Hurricanes @ Philadelphia Flyers Pick: Hurricanes
Flip Livingstone is a former NHL writer for theScore with past experience at such outlets as Postmedia, Hockey Night in Canada, and the CBC. You can follow him on Twitter @FlipLivingstone.