The 2021 NHL playoff push is getting tight as the season comes to a close. With the shortened schedule, most teams have only about 15 games remaining before the postseason.
This means that bettors in the Mountain State must bet on these great matchups at West Virginia sportsbooks prior to the year ending. Of course, you can wager on the playoffs once they begin, but there are a lot fewer games each night.
The great regular-season slate continues through the weekend and into next week. Teams must start to make their move now or they’re going to get left out of the chase for the Stanley Cup.
This season’s trade deadline is Monday afternoon, so there should be plenty of transactions between now and then.
Teams who are eliminated will start to sell off some of their aging contributors, while contenders will be looking for that one missing piece.
Let’s take a look at some of the best prime-time games on the schedule and preview how the NHL playoff odds will look at WV sportsbooks.
NHL betting at WV sportsbooks
Flyers vs. Capitals preview
The Philadelphia Flyers played well at the beginning of the season but have been struggling lately. They lost eight of their last 11 contests and are no longer looking good for the playoffs.
Even their wins don’t come easy. Two of them in the Flyers’ current poor stretch came in overtime.
They’ll have the chance to change their fortunes this weekend, then on national television next week. The Flyers battle Boston and Buffalo at home before traveling to Washington on Tuesday night.
The Capitals are trending in the opposite direction. Although they’re just 3-4 in recent games, they won 10 of their previous 11 before that.
Washington has 56 points heading into the weekend, tied with the Islanders for the lead atop the East Division.
Currently, the Flyers have 42 points.
After taking the first meeting between these two sides, Philly has dropped the last three. The Caps scored five goals in each of the last two games in this matchup.
Goaltending is an issue for the Flyers this year. Surprisingly, 22-year-old Carter Hart hasn’t performed up to par in most games.
He features a 3.78 goals against average and a save percentage of just .873. His last victory came on March 18 against the Isles.
While Hart isn’t on top of his game, several other Flyers are. Jakub Voracek leads the team in points with 32, along with Joel Farabee’s 14 goals.
Of course, Washington showcases lots of playmakers as well.
Nicklas Backstrom is having a tremendous campaign. His 40 points thus far place him just outside the top 15 in the NHL.
Alex Ovechkin isn’t looking bad either. The 35-year-old’s 21 goals in 37 games put him at fifth in the league this season.
Since these teams play one another so often, it’s likely to be a closer game than the moneyline odds might anticipate.
Bettors should also expect to see a decent-sized total in this one. The teams are averaging eight combined goals in their meetings this year.
Avalanche vs. Blues preview
Hockey fans can wager on another good matchup the following night, too. On NBCSN, the St. Louis Blues host the Colorado Avalanche.
Despite going 3-6-1 in their last 10, the Blues are sitting just outside the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
They’re looking up at division-leading Colorado, whose 58 points are the best in the league at the moment.
The Avs are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games and feature a goal differential of +47. The next closest team is Tampa Bay at +37.
Scoring tends to come easy when you have some of the guys Colorado throws on the ice. Center Nathan MacKinnon is tied for fourth in the NHL in points with 48. Teammate Mikko Rantanen is right on his heels, accumulating 47 points in 2021.
St. Louis counters with a pretty good combination itself.
Left wing David Perron leads the squad with 39 points, while center Ryan O’Reilly is at 38. More impressively, O’Reilly owns a +16 plus-minus rating, which puts him at 18th in the NHL.
Even though the Blues are coming off a terrible run, it appears they might have figured some things out.
They lost seven straight games, and 12 of their last 14, prior to snagging wins in the last two.
St. Louis bounced back from a 6-1 defeat against Las Vegas to beat them 3-1 on Wednesday. It followed that up with a massive 9-1 triumph over Minnesota.
The Blues actually face the Wild two more times before they take on Colorado.
After St. Louis won the first game between these two, the momentum has swung in the other direction. The Avs won the last three, although the last two games were each decided by just one goal.
Those who think the over is automatic in Colorado games should think twice here. The teams combined for five or fewer goals in three out of the four previous matchups.