Dallas Stars - St Louis Blues
There's now only one play-off spot left unclaimed and Dallas need only win tonight to sew it up.
As the alternative is a potential winner-takes-all contest away at Phoenix on Sunday it'd do a great deal for their supporters’ health to finish the job here, one advantage is they do hold the tiebreaker over the Coyotes should their points tallies end up even. It's not been an ideal time for St Louis to drop into a slump, four straight losses have led them to losing the Central Division lead which opens them up to playing Chicago in the first round as well as a lack of momentum ahead of the postseason.
It's 2-2 in the season series but the Stars took the last two matchups that took place very recently with quick scores playing. Although Dallas are bouncing back from a big loss to Columbus on Wednesday they will have the advantage of not playing last night so are in a better spot to get out of the blocks swiftly once again.
St Louis came up short in Minnesota though not through the failings of their skaters, shots ended up 45-15 as goalie Ryan Miller's bad patch continued to give Ken Hitchcock a headache. Back the Stars to get it done at 2.55 and make a first playoff appearance since 2008.
Tampa Bay Lightning - Columbus Blue Jackets
Speaking of rare play-off qualification, it's only the second time in franchise history that Columbus are invited to the party. On the previous occasion they were swept 4-0 so anything above that will be celebrated by an often downtrodden fanbase.
The East may be confirmed in terms of participants but quarter-final assignments are still to be finalised and the Blue Jackets should see it in their best interests to avoid Boston or Pittsburgh in favour of the New York Rangers.
They've made it here by playing extremely well through the clutch final weeks and certainly confirmed it up sooner than might have been expected at the start of the month, as victories over clubs in equally desperate situations emphasised their ability to keep cool at the big moments.
Tampa knocked off Philadelphia last night to lock them into a series with Montreal, and netminder Andres Lindback is in line to play twice in 24 hours as Ben Bishop is out which is never easy.
I think the tie could be a good option here at 3.80 but I'm edging towards Columbus with something still on the line at 2.80.
Best Bet: Dallas Stars to win at 2.55.