Thursday, April 20 NHL Playoff Picks

By Tom Wilkinson

The NHL Playoffs continue on Thursday, April 20 with four games, two on ESPN and two on TBS. It will be Game 2 of each series, as Tampa Bay visits Toronto, New York is at New Jersey, Seattle is in Colorado, while Winnipeg visits Vegas. The pressure is always on the home team in Game 2, as regardless of whether or not they won or lost in Game 1, they don’t want to head out on the road having lost home ice advantage. Let’s look at Thursday, April 20 NHL Playoff picks.


Check out the latest NHL Playoff odds at BetRivers.


Thursday, April 20, 2023


Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs – 7:00 pm Eastern (ESPN)


New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils – 7:30 pm Eastern (TBS)


Seattle Kraken at Colorado Avalanche – 9:30 pm Eastern (ESPN)


Winnipeg Jets at Vegas Golden Knights – 10:00 pm. Eastern (TBS)


Colorado Avalanche


I know the Kraken are a nice story, as they made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in just their second year of existence, but I am not sold. The Kraken do have some good players, but I am not sold on head coach Dave Hakstoll and I don’t trust Philip Grubauer in goal. I know that Seattle has plenty of players who can score, as they had 13 players who scored 10 goals or more, but how are they going to stop Colorado from scoring?

Did you know that the Avalanche are 37-14 in their last 51 games vs. the Pacific Division? Did you know that they are 81-33 in their last 114 home games?

Colorado got hot down the stretch and won their division again. They had all kinds of injury issues this season and not all of those issues are gone, as captain Gabriel Landeskog is out. The Avalanche have the three best players in this series in Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen. I don’t really know what Colorado will get out of Alexandar Georgiev in goal, but he is definitely no worse than what Seattle has. Colorado is a tough team to contain anywhere, especially at home. I’ll lay the price and take Colorado to win Game 2.



Vegas Golden Knights


The Golden Knights are the top seed out West and get a favorable matchup in the first round against Winnipeg. The Jets did well just to make the playoffs and it is all about Connor Hellebuyck. For the Jets to be competitive in this series they need Hellebuyck to steal some games. Winnipeg is simply not good enough to beat Vegas without getting superb goaltending. Winnipeg simply hasn’t been consistent in scoring goals and I don’t see that changing in this series.


Vegas got captain Mark Stone back in Game 1 and his presence makes a huge difference. Vegas has plenty of players who can score, as they have 12 players with more than 10 goals. Where Stone can really help is on the Power Play, as Vegas was just 18th in the league. He should also help in Penalty Killing, as Vegas was below average in that department. The Power Play was so bad that Jonathan Marchessault led the team in power-play points, with only 16. And that was all season. Connor McDavid might have that many power play points in a week.


Did you know that the Golden Knights are 12-3 in their last 15 home games? Did you know that the Golden Knights are 17-5 in their last 22 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game? Did you know that the Golden Knights are 10-3 in their last 13 vs. a team with a winning record?


The home team in this series is 4-1 in the last five meetings and that is another edge for Vegas on Thursday night. Vegas is simply a better team than Winnipeg and if the Golden Knights get the type of goaltending from Laurent Brossoit that they got late in the season, they are going to roll in this series. I’ll take the Golden Knights in Game 2.

Check out the latest NHL Playoff odds at BetRivers.