NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 4/21/22

Jakub Vrana has points in five of his previous nine outings. Can he help the Red Wings stay competitive against the Panthers?

We have just over a week left in the regular season and there is still plenty of meaningful hockey left to be played. All eight teams have been confirmed in the Eastern Conference, but both divisions remain up for grabs and seeding will play a crucial role in first-round matchups.

There's even more to be determined in the Western Conference with two teams outside of the playoffs vying for a spot in the postseason.

We're breaking down a pair of games that will impact playoff positioning in today's NHL Betting Guide.

These are the picks from our daily projections!

Florida Panthers vs. Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings +1.5 (+190): 3-Star Rating Out of 5

The Florida Panthers are in the driver's seat in the Atlantic Division, eight points up on the Toronto Maple Leafs with six games to go. A victory against the Detroit Red Wings could clinch the division for the Panthers, depending on how the Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning plays out, but our algorithm suggests that the advantage lies in backing the Red Wings.

Detroit is coming off a 4-3 win against the Lightning, their fourth victory over their past eight games. More recently, we've seen improved offensive performances from them, with the Red Wings putting up above-average scoring metrics in three of their past four games. Output has yet to catch up with production, with the Wings recording just eight goals over their past four games, suggesting that we could see more robust output from Detroit over their coming schedule.

The Panthers have been one of the best teams in the league this season, but they have been prone to defensive lapses for extended periods. Florida has increased their high-danger chances against in three straight games, which could be the stepping-off point for another letdown performance tonight against the Wings.

Detroit is trending up with their offensive metrics, while the Panthers are trending down in their defensive coverage. That could tip the scales in Detroit's favor as they look to knock off an Atlantic Division powerhouse for the second straight game.

If nothing else, they should at least be able to keep things close, and backing them at +190 to cover the puckline is rated as a three-star play, per our projections.

New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers

Islanders (+105): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

We are shifting our attention to the Battle for New York in our other breakdown, looking at the New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders matchup on Long Island. The Islanders have been eliminated from playoff contention, but they could still derail the Rangers' hopes for a Metropolitan Division title.

The Broadway Blueshirts have been unstoppable lately, winning three straight and 7 of their past 10. Still, their peripherals indicate the Rangers are continuing to get outplayed at five-on-five. The Rags have posted expected goals-for percentages below 50.0% in three of their past four, dropping their season-long rating to 47.2% (24th in the league).

The Islanders have a much better track record at home this season, going 19-13-5 in their friendly confines compared to 16-18-5 as the visitors. They are coming off a strong offensive outing in which they attempted 26 scoring chancesand 14 high-danger chances. They can build off that performance against a Rangers squad that has given up an average of 9.7 quality opportunities per game on the road.

According to our algorithm, the wrong team is favored in tonight's matchup. The Isles have been great at home while the Rangers have exhausted their puck luck. That leaves an edge in backing the home side, which we rate as a two-star play.