Expert NHL best bets and predictions for Wednesday, December 6

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NHL best bets and expert picks

Last night was a great one. The Minnesota Wild continued their success, and the “Hughes Bowl” certainly didn’t disappoint with all of the goal-scoring. 

 

There isn’t as big of a slate tonight in the NHL, but we have some great matchups. There will be a ton of firepower in the Penguins-Lightning game, and we have a rematch of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final between the Edmonton Oilers and the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Let’s take a look. 

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Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay (-135, 6.5)

The Pittsburgh Penguins power play struggles continued in their most recent game against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins have now gone eleven straight games without converting on the man advantage, going 0 for 29 in that span. Tristan Jarry, their starting goaltender, has scored more goals (1) in that span. 

Since November 16th, the Penguins have been on the struggle bus. In that span, they’ve gone 3-4-3 and are only averaging 2.20 goals per game. They’ve been fine in their own zone defensively, but tonight, they face a tough challenge trying to keep the Tampa Bay Lightning off the board. 

In that same time frame, Tampa has gone 5-4-1, scoring 3.40 goals per game and has skated to the league’s second-best power play, scoring at 32.4%. The Lightning have lost four out of their last five games, but their most recent contest was a huge win on home ice against the Dallas Stars. 

Andrei Vasilevskiy earned his first shutout of the season, stopping all 25 shots faced, and that might be exactly what he needed to get his season going. 

Tampa’s defensive game might not be at its best right now, but their offensive production has completely taken over. Nikita Kucherov continues to be a weapon, as he leads the NHL in points with 42 in 25 games played. 

I have no faith in Pittsburgh’s offense right now, and the Lightning are 7-3-3 on home ice. I like Tampa to take this one. 

Bet: Tampa Bay Lightning ML -135 (play to -145)

Carolina at Edmonton (-125, 6.5)

The Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes played not too long ago. These two teams met in Carolina for the first time this season on November 22nd when the Hurricanes defeated the Oilers by the score of 6-3. 

The last three meetings between these two teams have all been very high-scoring, and I expect the same tonight. the Oilers and the Hurricanes are two of the top offensive teams in the league. Since November 16th, the Oilers have the best offense in the NHL, averaging 4.29 goals per game and the Hurricanes have the fourth-highest-scoring offense, tallying 3.75 goals per game. 

Even though they’ve both been strong offensively, the defense hasn’t helped them out. The Oilers have allowed 3.43 goals against per game, and the Hurricanes are allowing 3.13 goals against. 

The Oilers goaltending has been the team’s biggest crutch. Stuart Skinner is the expected starter tonight, and his season hasn’t been all that positive. Skinner is skating to an 8-7-1 record with a .881 save percentage and a 3.16 goals-against average. 

Antti Raanta hasn’t been much better in Carolina. He’s skating to a 6-4-0 record with a .859 save percentage and a 3.33 goals-against average.

All signs in this matchup point towards a high-scoring affair, especially now that Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman are completely cooking. In the team’s last five games, McDavid has tallied 14 points, Hyman has eight points and Draisaitl has tallied seven of his own. 

Edmonton has won four straight games, and their offense has exploded in those contests, combining for 20 goals. 

I think we’ll see a ton of goals in this one. 

Bet: Over 6.5 -130 (play to -145)