Winnipeg Jets v Chicago Blackhawks
Central Division rivals Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks meet at Bell MTS Place on Saturday evening.
The Jets are heading into the NHL playoffs in fine form, having registered nine wins in their last 10 games prior to Thursday’s home fixture with the Calgary Flames. By contrast, it’s been a disappointing season for the Blackhawks, who are a long way adrift at the foot of the Central Division and who have been in poor form for months.
The Jets have been very strong on home-ice this season and have some excellent NHL stats. With the likes of Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler, they have plenty of goals in the team. That has to be a concern for a Blackhawks team that isn’t the best defensively. The Jets are the obvious pick in this one and should win with something to spare.
Pick: Winnipeg Jets
Nashville Predators v Columbus Blue Jackets
The Nashville Predators play host to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Bridgestone Arena on Saturday evening.
Both teams are already assured of their play-off places, so are now just looking to secure themselves the best possible draw in the knockout stage.
Despite topping the overall standings at the time of writing, the Predators form has dipped of late, with five defeats in their last eight games. That should give the Blue Jackets confidence, with them having won 13 of their last 15 games prior to hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday evening.
The Predators are not particularly prolific goalscorers (ranking 8th best as things stand), with their top marksman being Viktor Arvidsson with a relatively modest 29 goals. However, they are very strong defensively and should just edge what could be a tight, low-scoring encounter.
Pick: Nashville Predators