NHL 8/14 betting preview. Game 2 is here

[adsanity_group align='alignnone' num_ads=1 num_columns=1 group_ids='54295871']

Montreal Canadiens vs. Philadelphia Flyers – Game 2 (Philadelphia leads series 1-0)

If you read my article here at Line Movement prior to the NHL games on Wednesday, I recommended the under in Game 1 of this series and it resulted in an easy ticket casher with the Philadelphia Flyers emerging with a 2-1 victory in a lower scoring game. I don’t expect the lower scoring nature of that game to change much as this series goes along. Philadelphia head coach Alain Vigneault said after the Game 1 win that a lower scoring, tight-checking series is what he and his Flyers team fully expected coming into this series and that’s exactly what we got in Game 1. 

Montreal has yielded just 10 goals in the 5 games they’ve played while Philadelphia has surrendered just 4 goals in the 4 games combined for them since the NHL restart began. Both teams don’t mind winning lower scoring games and they both have goalies that are playing at a phenomenal level right now with Carey Price for Montreal and Carter Hart for Philadelphia. The Canadiens played solid in the final two periods after a less than stellar opening frame. You could even argue they outplayed Philly in the last two periods and could have won Game 1 but they failed to capitalize on their quality scoring chances and when they got them, Hart was there with the answers in net for the Flyers. 

Montreal will not have head coach Claude Julien behind the bench for Game 2 of this series and beyond as he was hospitalized with chest pains. However, Kirk Muller, Habs assistant coach, who will take over as the head coach in the interim was a former head coach in this league so the transition shouldn’t be too severe. I picked Philadelphia to win this series and I have no interest stepping in front of this squad right now. That being said, I would expect Montreal to be a tough out in Game 2 as they look to bounce back and even up this series. I will stick with just the total in this game and come right back with another Underplay in a series that should continue to trend in a lower scoring direction. The under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings between the Canadiens and Flyers. The under is a combined 8-1 in the 9 games involving these two teams since the NHL season resumed.

Montreal/Philadelphia Under 5.5 -159

Vancouver Canucks vs. St. Louis Blues – Game 2 (Vancouver leads series 1-0)

I cashed a winning wager on the Vancouver Canucks at an underdog price in Game 1 of this series as part of my Wednesday NHL betting preview article here at Line Movement. The Canucks took Game 1 of this series by a score of 5-2. St. Louis outshot Vancouver 31-22 but their quality of scoring chances wasn’t anything special as Vancouver did a better job of creating superior quality opportunities with their speed and their scoring depth up front which really seemed to give the Blues defense some fits. Vancouver’s finishing ability also proved to be very problematic for St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington who struggled mightily in the loss including allowing a couple goals that he probably stops if he is on top of his game but clearly he isn’t playing at the same level he did a season ago in leading the Blues to their Stanley Cup title. Binnington has a woeful 3.60 GAA over his last five starts and that’s simply not good enough from him in between the pipes. 

The St. Louis Blues got their chances against Vancouver but didn’t make the most of them. The Blues penalty kill also had trouble as the Canucks struck three times and went 3-for-6 with the man advantage in the Game 1 victory. The St. Louis penalty kill has been a sore spot for them for an extended stretch of time as the Blues have surrendered at least one power-play goal in four of their last six games. St. Louis was without Alex Steen and Sammy Blais in Game 1 as they didn’t suit up due to injury and those absences have made the Blues a weaker defensive team as both players are two of the better defensive forwards on this team. I am going to pass on this game from a side perspective. If I had to make a bet, I would lean to the Canucks here in Game 2 because I like Vancouver to win the series. However, this is a very important game for this veteran-laden St. Louis team to bring a better and more disciplined game to the table looking to avoid a 2-0 series deficit and I expect them to have a much better performance in this game. I am going to bet over the total here in this game though as the Canucks are a bit better offensively than they are defensively and there was some good fortune in Game 1 for them that St. Louis didn’t bury more of their chances. On the flip side, the Blues are 5-0 to the over in their last five games after a loss of 3 or more goals. 

Vancouver/St. Louis Over 5.5 +116

Lean only to Vancouver +126 as well

Mar 9, 2020; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski (33) jostles for position with Winnipeg Jets forward Kyle Connor (81) during the second period at Bell MTS Place. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Coyotes vs. Colorado Avalanche – Game 2 (Colorado leads series 1-0)

The Arizona Coyotes made a valiant effort to steal Game 1 from the Colorado Avalanche. The game was scoreless midway through the 3rd Period but eventually, the roof caved in on the Coyotes. Arizona sat back and tried to play defense the entire game and in an attempt to pounce on a mistake by Colorado but eventually, the Avalanche broke through against the stingy Yotes defense and goaltender Darcy Kuemper who played a fantastic game. 

Colorado busted out scoring 3 goals in a span of 1 minute and 23 seconds late in the 3rd Period to get the 3-0 victory in Game 1. Colorado dominated the game in terms of every major facet including offensive zone time, puck possession, and shots on goal which was a wide margin of 40-14 in favor of the Avalanche. Colorado has too much depth up front offensively for Arizona to match up adequately because all four lines can contribute and score goals for this Avalanche squad. It would probably benefit Arizona to play a tighter checking brand of hockey like yesterday in this series but not to the point where they only mustered 14 shots on goal. Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet mentioned after the loss that his Coyotes team didn’t have the puck enough during the game. I would expect Arizona to try to be more aggressive and assertive offensively in this game. On the flip side, Colorado finally solved the defensive riddle thrown at them by Arizona with that late scoring outburst in the 3rd Period and I think that should carry over into Game 2 on Friday afternoon. Note the early start time for this game which will be 2 pm Eastern Time and Noon locally in Edmonton making this a daytime game. That’s worth mentioning because Arizona and Colorado are a combined 14-9 to the over this season in day games. I lost with the over in Game 1 of this series but I’m coming right back with that same wager and recommendation here in Game 2 expecting the red light to be turned on more often on both sides.

Arizona/Colorado Over 5.5 +104

New York Islanders vs. Washington Capitals – Game 2 (NY Islanders lead series 1-0)

I cashed with the New York Islanders in Game 1 which was one of my Wednesday betting article recommendations here at Line Movement. The NY Islanders fell behind 2-0 in Game 1 against Washington and normally playing from behind is not their specialty for a team that is sometimes challenged to score goals. However, the Isles proved they had that “come from behind” nature in them erasing that deficit and defeating the Capitals 4-2. They forced Washington into some critical mistakes. A very late 2nd Period goal for the Islanders to make it 2-1 gave them some life going into the 3rd Period and it ended up being a massive turning point in the hockey game. 

Washington still has the offensive firepower that opponents must respect to be sure led by Alex Ovechkin but the Capitals are a very average defensive team this season and it showed in blowing the two goal lead in Game 1. Washington’s depth defensemen are not as strong as they used to be for this team. You can pressure and forecheck their bottom four defensemen and have success and the NY Islanders went to work in that regard and it paid dividends for them. New York has rarely been talked about as a great scoring team but the Islanders have more forward depth to be able to score goals than they’ve had in the past. Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, Jordan Eberle, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey comprise their top six forward group but they added Jean-Gabriel Pageau at the deadline to give them more depth down the lineup. They don’t have the depth of the Capitals at forward but they can certainly better compete with Washington than they used to. Washington suffered a significant injury in Game 1 as their top line center Nicklas Backstrom left the game and didn’t return. He has already been ruled out for Game 2 of this series. Washington goalie Braden Holtby struggled in Game 1 which is the way most of his season has gone in net for the Capitals as this has been a subpar season for him by his standards. I picked the NY Islanders to win Game 1 and this series. I am going to back them again here in Game 2 as well. Remember that the NY Islanders didn’t let their foot off the gas pedal in the first round last season against Pittsburgh when they won that series in a four game sweep. I think they will show a similar killer instinct and keep the foot on the throat of the Washington Capitals here. The over is 4-1 in the five meetings this season between the Islanders and Capitals and I’m going to ride that trend as well here in Game 2. I will also recommend betting a pair of goalscorer prop wagers on Jordan Eberle and Jean-Gabriel Pageau for the NY Islanders in this game as I believe both have a good chance of finding the back of the net.

NY Islanders +110

NY Islanders/Washington Over 5 -149

[adsanity_group align='alignnone' num_ads=1 num_columns=1 group_ids='54295872']