NHL best bets and expert picks
It’s going to be a busy Tuesday night around the NHL with 10 games being played, but I am focusing on the quality over the quantity tonight.
It’s been a weird week around the league, especially last night. The New York Rangers and Boston Bruins are two of the best teams in the NHL, and they both suffered embarrassing losses. At the same time, the San Jose Sharks got themselves another win.
Let’s take a look at some of tonight’s matchups.
The Florida Panthers played a hard-fought game last night against the Ottawa Senators, so for them, this will be the second night of a back-to-back. Last night’s game had 167 penalty minutes and 13 misconducts.
The Panthers defeated the Maple Leafs 3-1 in Florida on October 19th. They have basically owned Toronto since last year’s playoff series, going 5-1 in the last six meetings, but tonight is different.
The Maple Leafs come into tonight’s game on a two-game losing streak, but they do have the rest advantage. They’ve had the last two days off to regroup and reset. This rest was needed because the two games that the Leafs lost were the team’s first two games since returning home from their trip to Sweden for the NHL’s Global Series.
The Panthers have been playing good hockey, going 7-3-0 in their last 10 games, but they’re playing against a strong offensive opponent tonight who is desperate to get back into the win column.
There’s a strong chance that Anthony Stolarz gets the start in the blue paint for Florida. Sergei Bobrovsky has started the last three contests, including last night, so I doubt he will get the nod for the second night in a row. Stolarz has had a pretty strong season, boasting a .917 save percentage and a 2.28 goals against average, but he’s only had four starts.
Toronto can go with either Ilya Samsonov or Joseph Woll. Woll has boasted the better numbers of the two, skating to a .910 save percentage and a 2.92 goals against average, as opposed to Samsonov’s .878 save percentage and 3.58 goals against average.
The biggest reason why the Maple Leafs have been struggling the last two games has been a failure to convert on the power play, which is the league’s fifth-best at 26.8%.
The Leafs and Panthers have had some bad blood since last year, and the Leafs absolutely need this win to get going again.
Bet: Toronto Maple Leafs ML -142 (play to -155)
The Nashville Predators haven’t been talked about as much as they deserve to be. This team is starting to hit its stride, especially over their last five games. The Predators enter this contest on a five-game winning streak, which started on November 18th. Since that time, they have had the best offense in the NHL, as they’re averaging 4.60 goals per game.
In that same time frame, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been struggling, skating to a 2-3-0 record and having a hard time scoring goals. In these five games, the Penguins are averaging just 2.00 goals per game, and they haven’t converted on the power play in their last seven games. With that said, Pittsburgh has done an excellent job defending, only allowing 2.00 goals against and skating to an 87.5% success rate on the penalty kill.
The Predators’ penalty kill has been successful as well. Nashville’s man-down unit is at an 81.1% success rate during the win streak, and they’re only allowing 2.40 goals against per game.
The goaltending battle hasn’t been confirmed yet, but for Nashville, it’s more than likely that Juuse Saros gets the start. Saros has won his last three straight starts and has only allowed seven goals in those games combined.
Ryan O’Reilly and Filip Forsberg have been buzzing for the Predators as of late. The two have combined for 27 points in the team’s last 10 games. O’Reilly tallied six goals with five assists in that span while Forsberg has scored 10 goals and six assists.
The home team is 4-1 in the last five meetings. I like the Predators as a home underdog tonight.
Bet: *2 units Nashville Predators ML +100 (play to -110)
2023-24 record: 40-48-0 (-14.71 units)