NHL Betting: Sharks to bare teeth against Columbus

Although probably not by choice, the Minnesota Wild continue to play a dangerous game with their post-season chances. They've taken one point from their last four home games and tonight's contest with the Calgary Flames has the look of an upset waiting to happen. Having had five victories in their last seven outings, the Flames are finishing well despite having little to play for. A constant for the Wild all season has been their ability to win divisional games, but the meetings with the Flames have all been very close. Minnesota could well perk up but on recent form Calgary are good value way out at 4.00.

Whilst a point would be enough assure qualification for San Jose, tonight's opponents the Columbus Blue Jackets are looking to maintain their grip on eigth spot. As the Jackets have the fewest remaining games, they have to make this one count; lose and it's highly likely they'll be playing catch-up next time they take the ice. Columbus beat the Sharks by four goals on both occasions this season but playing them in San Jose is an altogether tougher task. You have to go back to 5 February against Chicago for the last and only time the Sharks failed to get at least a point at HP Pavilion. Take a San Jose regulation win at 2.00.

A couple of weeks ago it seemed inconceivable that the Anaheim Ducks might drop below second in the West, but the gap has shrunk considerably as a result of them taking one point from the last four games. Today is the first of back-to-back duels with Edmonton, who are not yet mathematically eliminated but need a miracle. Regaining their offensive swagger before the play-offs is essential for the Ducks: the likes of Bobby Ryan and Andrew Cogliano have gone five games or more without a point. That said they are a big, physical team as well as a skilled one, and that often translates into success against smaller line-ups like Edmonton's. I think the slide ends tonight, so go with the Ducks at 2.35.

Best bet: San Jose Sharks to win at 2.00