Final NHL Regular Season Report

by Ben Burns

The basketball postseason is off to an exciting start. Next up are the NHL playoffs. They're set to begin on May 2nd. With the regular season winding down, it's a good time to get caught up on what's been happening.  

Who's In?
In the basketball playoffs, the top seeds generally fare pretty well. That's not always the case in hockey; upsets are more regular. That said, a strong regular season is still a pretty good indicator of a good team. This year's (current) top 10 regular season teams include: Florida, Colorado, Toronto, Carolina, NY (Rangers), Calgary, Minnesota, St. Louis, Tampa and Boston. All 10 of those teams have clinched a spot. So have Pittsburgh and Washington. The Edmonton Oilers should be the next team to qualify. The Avs and Panthers will be favored and there's a good chance that at least one of them will be in the Finals. However, any of the teams mentioned is capable of catching fire and going on a run. 

On The Bubble 
I mentioned that the Oilers would likely be the next to qualify. After them, things become less clear. Nashville and Dallas and LA should make it. Vegas and Vancouver are in trouble. We'll know more soon. 

Race For Last? 
Getting last place doesn't guarantee first pick in the Draft. But it helps. It appears that it'll be a battle between Arizona and Montreal. Other less than honorable mentions include: Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Jersey and Ottawa. 

Stat Leaders
Edmonton's Connor McDavid leads the league in points. He's got 113. Huberdeau, of the Panthers, is right on his heels with 111. Gaudreau, Draisaitl and Matthews round out the top five. The other four get more assists but Matthews has the most goals (58) in the NHL. 

Don't Be Afraid Of The Puck-Line 
At this time of the year, many of the favorites start to become very expensive. As most don't like to regularly lay between -200 and -600, that makes the puck-line a more attractive option. Personally, I always find myself utilizing the puck-line more than normal in the second half of the season. I've gone 12-5 with such plays since mid-February, 14-6 if factoring in complimentary selections. I had a closer look and I played at -1.5 goals seven of those 20 times. So, more often than not, I was taking goals instead of laying them. Either way, my point is that just because one team may be a big favorite, it doesn't mean that we can't be involved in the game. 

I'll check in again once the first round matchups have been set. Until then, enjoy the games and good luck with your plays. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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