This is it, the final week of the NHL regular season, when the combatants for the Stanley Cup will be finalised.
In the East the only club who could disrupt the status quo are the Winnipeg Jets, for whom the contest with the Buffalo Sabres is an absolute must-win. They ate bang in form, having taken 11 points from the last six games, but with another three to make up and just three games in which to do it, they are obviously relying on a team above them faltering. Fortunately for them they've had the better of Buffalo this year. With the Sabres coming off the disappointment of being eliminated themselves, take Winnipeg to complete the season sweep at 2.40.
Switching conferences, the Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes are two of the trio still chasing in the West. Losing three of their last five games in shootouts shows the fine margins at play for the Red Wings; those lost points are the exact distance between them and Columbus in eighth. Playing at home could be key at this stage, but the Joe Louis Arena has not been as intimidating for visiting teams as in recent seasons. Losing tonight would seemingly end Phoenix's hopes, but with both offenses struggling they should fancy their chances of edging a low-scoring game. I think the Coyotes are good value for an upset here at 2.30 including OT.
A slightly more relaxed game is on the cards between the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks. With the Canucks pretty much secured as Northwest Division leaders for the fifth year running, this might be a dress rehearsal for a meeting later in the post-season. Some context on just how good Chicago have been this year: if they had managed this pace through a full 82-game season, the NHL points record would have been broken. The Blackhawks have gone on another long run without a regulation defeat, winning nine of 11. Back Chicago to power on at 2.60.
Best bet: Phoenix Coyotes to win including overtime at 2.30