The 2013 NHL playoffs are right around the corner, as the regular season action ends on Sunday. Some teams are hot and will head into the postseason with momentum. Others are more on the opposite end of the spectrum and are ice cold as the second season approaches.
The Montreal Canadiens finished dead last in the Eastern Conference last year, so the fact that they are heading to the playoffs as a top-four seed is quite impressive. However, if you?ve been following the Canadiens this season and checking up on their NHL odds, you know that they?ve seen better days. For almost the first half of the season, the Habs were atop the East and books had them as high as 12-1 to win the Stanley Cup. However, the Habs have gone into the tank with just one win in their last six. Part of the problem has been their penalty kill, which has allowed 10 goals on their opponents’ last 27 man-advantages.
They?ll need star goaltender Carey Price to snap out of his funk if their playoff journey is to last. He?s allowed 25 goals in his last seven starts (3.6 per game).
How nervous are you if you?re a Boston Bruins fan? Yes, they might end up securing the No. 2 seed in the East, but that?s mostly due to an awesome start and a second-half slump by the Habs. However, the Bruins should have run away with Northeast Division title weeks ago had they gotten their act together.
Since starting 19-4-3, the Bruins are 8-9-2. More recently, they?ve lost five of six and have raised some real questions about their goaltending situation. The one-time sure-fire Vezina Trophy winner Tuukka Rask has hit the wall as he?s lost 10 of his last 14 outings. It?s not all his fault (1.92 GAA in April), as the Bruins offense hasn?t been helping him out much. The B?s have just 12 goals in their last six games.
Whoever you pin the blame on, the Bruins need to look more like the team that started the season or their Stanley Cup hopes will go “poof” very quickly.
The Minnesota Wild haven?t yet clinched a postseason berth, but they are very close. However, don?t expect their playoff participation to be prolonged unless they can figure out how to win games once again.
The lights have gone out for Minnesota in April, as the team entered the month with a record of 21-11-2. However, they have just four wins in their last 12 games, which is why they have yet to punch their playoff ticket.
Goal scoring is the main issue, as the Wild have tallied just 21 goals in their last 12 games while being shut out three times this month.