Tuesday night will be a puck bettors dream with 13 games taking place in NHL action. It’s a loaded slate and I’ll break down a handful of the games that I will be involved with from a betting standpoint.
New York Rangers @ Buffalo Sabres
This is a good bounce-back spot for the New York Rangers who have suffered very three tough losses in a row–one against New Jersey and two against Pittsburgh. The argument can be made that the NY Rangers outplayed their opponent in all three games but they came up short on the scoreboard. New York has been victimized by some very fluky goals and bad bounces in a couple of games and they have not been able to finish some of the glorious chances that they have been getting. The Rangers are ranked in the upper half of the league in expected goals for percentage which signifies they probably deserve to have a better record than their current 1-3 start to the season would suggest.
The Buffalo Sabres split a pair of games against the Washington Capitals over the weekend albeit the Caps were shorthanded playing without Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tom Wilson, Dmitry Orlov and #1 goaltender Ilya Samsonov in Sunday’s 4-3 shootout win for the Sabres. Buffalo is getting most of their goal scoring from only four sources Taylor Hall, Victor Olofsson, Eric Staal and Sam Reinhart so far this season. and they are still subpar defensively as the Sabres have yielded and not getting saves consistently from their goaltending which has been a carry over from last season. The Sabres have allowed at least 3 goals in four of their six games. Jack Eichel has scored at least 24 goals in each of his previous five NHL seasons and recorded a career high 36 goals a season ago. However, he has yet to score a goal through six games this season which is the longest goal scoring drought Eichel has ever had to begin a season.
The NY Rangers have faced Pittsburgh and the NY Islanders in their two previous mini series matchups this season and they are taking a bit of a step down in class here against the Sabres who have not shown the ability to put together consecutive wins yet this season. New York is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings against Buffalo and Alexandar Georgiev is expected to start in net for the Rangers and he was the starter in goal for the NY Rangers lone victory of the season to this point. I like New York to get the road win and snap their three game losing streak.
NY Rangers -110
Chicago Blackhawks @ Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators will attempt to regroup following three straight losses as they host the Chicago Blackhawks. Nashville lost 4-2 at home to Carolina and then dropped two in a row against Dallas including an ugly 7-0 shutout loss. The Predators endured a significant defensive decline last season after spending years as one of the NHL’s best defensive teams and we have seen that blue line look vulnerable once again in the early part of this new season. Nashville is surrendering an average of 3.4 goals per game and they have a -9 margin in high danger scoring chances for and against. The Predators haven’t given up a lot of quality chances in comparison to other teams but still the puck is going in caused by a combo of suspect defensive play along the blue line and marginal goaltending from the same inconsistent duo of Juuse Saros and Pekka Rinne that quite simply didn’t play well enough last season either. The penalty kill has been a particular sore spot for the Predators as they have yielded a whopping 8 power play goals on 16 attempts in their last three games. That may be trouble for Nashville in this matchup against Chicago who have been scoring goals and been very successful at it with the man advantage. The Blackhawks power play has been on fire to begin the season scoring at least one power play goal in every game so far and cashing in at a 8-for-19 clip in their first six games of the season.
Chicago’s ability to score is the team’s strength but the question is how good or bad are they on defense? The Blackhawks got torched for 5 goals in each of their first four games against Tampa Bay and Florida. They played much better defensively at home in their two consecutive wins against Detroit holding the Red Wings to 3 goals in the two games combined. However, those two games were at home against a very offensively challenged team. Nashville is somewhere in between and the stats show it as the Predators are above the Red Wings in xGF% (expected goals for percentage) but below the Lightning and Panthers. I am on two bets in this game taking the significant plus price on Chicago.
The Predators are not at all a trustworthy significant favorite in this price range right now especially with the way they are struggling with their defense and penalty kill so far this season. I also like the over in this game as I think both teams will be able to have success offensively and find the back of the net. I’m not sold on Chicago’s defense even after two good games against Detroit at home and now they must go on the road against a tougher foe.
Chicago/Nashville Over 6 -110
Edmonton Oilers @ Winnipeg Jets
The Winnipeg Jets let a 3-2 lead in the 3rd Period evaporate on Sunday night against this Edmonton Oilers team as the Oilers struck for two goals in the final 3:05 of the game to come from behind for a 4-3 victory. Winnipeg will look to avenge that defeat and I think the Jets will have a very good chance to do so.
The Jets made a big trade over the weekend with the Columbus Blue Jackets sending Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to the Jackets in exchange for top-line center Pierre-Luc Dubois. However, Canada requires a 14-day quarantine for anyone crossing into the country from the United States which will prevent Dubois from joining the Jets lineup until February 9th against Calgary at the earliest.
Winnipeg should be in a better scheduling spot for this rematch against Edmonton as the Sunday game between these teams was the Jets’ third game in four nights. Winnipeg will also have Connor Hellebuyck in net for this game after Laurent Brossoit got the nod in goal for the Jets in Sunday’s 4-3 loss. Hellebuyck is already picking up right where he left off last season for the Jets and will enter this game with a 3-1 record and a 2.25 GAA and .920 save percentage. Winnipeg has gotten terrific offensive contributions from many of their best players like Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler, and Nikolaj Ehlers all have at least 3 goals and 7 points in 6 games this season. Depth forwards Adam Lowry and Andrew Copp have chipped in offensively for Winnipeg as well.
On the flip side, the Oilers are having trouble getting much from anyone outside of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The Jets have yet to lose two games in a row this season and it’s worth noting the Oilers are a dismal 0-6 in their last six tries following a win which speaks to the problems this team has putting win streaks together which goes back to the last few seasons as well. The price is right here to bet Winnipeg at home to earn a split of these two games against Edmonton.
San Jose Sharks @ Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche return home after playing two consecutive mini series against Los Angeles and Anaheim on the road. Colorado is one of the favorites to win the Western Conference and contend for a Stanley Cup but the Avalanche have had a very uneven start to the season alternating wins and losses against the Blues, Kings and Ducks. This should be a good spot for Colorado though after a 3-1 loss in Anaheim although the Avs were stymied by John Gibson in the loss who turned aside 32 of the 33 shots he faced. Colorado’s advanced numbers look fine despite the 3-3 start. They are generating more quality chances than they are allowing. That stands in stark contrast to the San Jose Sharks who are also 3-3 but they have been very porous defensively all season long which isn’t surprising to me as I projected San Jose to have one of the weakest combinations of defense and goaltending this season of any team in the NHL.
The Sharks have surrendered 3.5 goals per game which is a full goal more per game allowed than the Avalanche. San Jose has a woeful -17 margin in terms of high danger scoring chances as they have allowed 52 high danger chances and only generated 35. Martin Jones and Devan Dubnyk are not reliable enough goalies to bail out San Jose from the very weak defensive play taking place in front of them. Colorado is primed to exploit that in a big way here in what should be a spot where we get a great effort from the Avs after a frustrating end to their road trip. Colorado should also be the much fresher and energized team taking the ice for this game with this being San Jose’s 7th straight road game to begin the season in a 13 day span.
I like Colorado to win by margin and I’ll be backing them on the puck line laying -1.5 goals at +105 and I also like the over in this game to feature plenty of goals in bunches. The trends support the over too as San Jose is 6-2 to the over in their last 8 games while Colorado is 6-1 to the over in their last 7 home games and the over is 18-7-3 in the last 28 meetings overall.
Colorado PL -1.5 +105
San Jose/Colorado Over 6 -110