NHL Playoffs set with Bruins and Avs having best odds to win

The reigning Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche captured the Central Division championship by winning the last game of the regular season, a result that finalized the NHL’s first-round playoff matchups.

Colorado (51-24-7, 109 points) defeated the host Nashville Predators 4-3 on Friday to edge the Dallas Stars (47-21-14, 108 points) by one point in the Central race.

The Avalanche will open the postseason against the Seattle Kraken (46-28-8, 100 points), who earned a Western Conference wild-card berth in their second season.

The Stars will oppose the Minnesota Wild (46-25-11, 103 points) in a matchup of the second- and third-place teams in the Central, respectively.

The West’s top seed, the Pacific Division champion Vegas Golden Knights (51-22-9, 111 points), will square off with the wild-card Winnipeg Jets (46-33-3, 95 points).

The Edmonton Oilers (50-23-9, 109 points), who came in second in the Pacific, will meet the Pacific’s third-place team, the Los Angeles Kings (47-25-10, 104 points).

The Eastern Conference field is headed by the record-breaking Boston Bruins (65-12-5, 135 points), who set NHL single-season records for wins and points. Their first-round foe will be the wild-card Florida Panthers (42-32-8, 92 points).

The Metropolitan Division champion Carolina Hurricanes (52-21-9, 113 points) will open the playoffs against the wild-card New York Islanders (42-31-9, 93 points). In the matchup of second and third in the Metro, the New Jersey Devils (52-22-8, 112 points) will skate against the New York Rangers (47-22-13, 107 points).

The Toronto Maple Leafs (50-21-11, 111 points), who finished second in the Atlantic Division behind the Bruins, will face off with the Atlantic’s third-place team, the reigning Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning (46-30-6, 98 points).

The Bruins-Panthers, Hurricanes-Islanders, Stars-Wild and Oilers-Kings series will open on Monday. The Maple Leafs-Lightning, Devils-Rangers, Avalanche-Kraken and Golden Knights-Jets series will begin on Tuesday.

The Bruins are a prohibitive favorite among oddsmakers, listed at +325 at BetRivers, +330 at DraftKings and +330 at FanDuel.

The Avalanche are the second choice (+600 at BetRivers, +650 at DraftKings, +700 at FanDuel), with the Oilers next (+700 at BetRivers, +800 at DraftKings, +900 at FanDuel).

–Field Level Media