Four NHL games that were scheduled to take place on Saturday have been postponed due to COVID-19 incidents within four different NHL teams but we are still left with an intriguing slate of NHL action with five games that will take place on Saturday including the renewal of the Battle Of Alberta between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators
The Montreal Canadiens were caught somewhat looking past the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night in a 3-2 loss and they aren’t likely to make that same mistake again. Ottawa snapped a 9 game losing streak with the win but the Sens were heavily outplayed and out-chanced as the Canadiens outshot them 38-22. Montreal held a 16-6 edge in high danger scoring chances and a 2.5 to 1.01 xGF margin in that 3-2 loss to Ottawa.
The Canadiens deserved to pick up the two points but failed to capitalize on their chances and got Matt Murray’s best game in net as a starting goaltender for the Senators this season. It was an improved performance from an Ottawa squad that defensively has been porous this season but the fact remains they still gave up plenty of quality chances and came away fortunate they didn’t give up more goals and lose that game. Montreal is still the NHL’s highest-scoring team averaging 4.18 goals per game this season and I would expect the Habs to make an even greater effort to go to those prime scoring areas to get their offense back on track after a rare display of being held in check on Thursday night. Montreal has yet to lose two games in a row this season and each of Ottawa’s last 7 losses this season has been by margins of 2+ goals. I like Montreal here to bounce back strong with a win by a margin.
Montreal PL -1.5 -115
Arizona Coyotes vs. St. Louis Blues
Arizona and St. Louis have been regarded for the past few seasons as teams that generally rely on solid defense and goaltending to win games making them strong under teams from a totals standpoint. However, that hasn’t been the case so far this season. Arizona is 7-2 to the over this season and St. Louis is 8-3 to the over and that is a combined 15-5 this season over the total.
Arizona has actually been able to get plenty of scoring chances and the numbers bear that out but they haven’t always had the greatest success finishing those opportunities until the other night when they erupted for four goals in a 4-3 win against St. Louis. The Blues should be ready to bounce back with a better offensive effort here in this game after being shut out for the majority of their loss to the Coyotes on Thursday night. I think we’ll see this game get over the total once again. I am also looking at some props in this game involving Christian Dvorak of the Coyotes who is on a roll right now with five goals and an assist in Arizona’s last three games. Dvorak to score a goal is priced at +280.
Arizona/St. Louis Over 5.5 +110
Christian Dvorak To Score A Goal +280
Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Islanders
These two teams received an unexpected break this week because both had games postponed due to their opponents enduring COVID-19 situations. That has allowed both teams to try and make adjustments and corrections to their game and both teams return to action tonight following losses in their most recent game. For the Islanders, it’s an even more dire situation as they have lost five straight games prior to tonight’s matchup against the Penguins. The common denominator with both squads is that they focused on the same area in practice this week and that is the power play which is definitely struggling for both sides.
Pittsburgh, despite the immense amount of skill and scoring talent they possess upfront has had nothing but trouble converting with the man advantage as the Penguins are a dismal 0-for-19 on the power play in their last several games. It was a point of emphasis for them.
On the other side, the NY Islanders have also had some problems producing on the power play as they are 2-for-18 on the power play in their last five games. Pittsburgh still has a very depleted and shorthanded blue line on defense due to injuries with Mike Matheson, Brian Dumoulin, Juuso Riikola, and Zach Trotman. Kris Letang also missed the last game on the Pens blue line but is expected to return tonight for Pittsburgh. The over went 3-0 in all three meetings last season between these two teams. Given both teams focusing on improving their offense and specifically their power play going into this game combined with the injuries on defense for Pittsburgh and the recent struggles on defense for the NY Islanders who have allowed 16 goals in their last four games, I expect this game to go over the reasonable 5.5 total here in this game tonight.
Pittsburgh/NY Islanders Over 5.5 -105
Vancouver Canucks @ Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs were well rested heading into Thursday night’s game with the Vancouver Canucks who were playing their fourth road game in six nights and it showed as the Leafs dominated the game and won convincingly 7-3. I cashed an over wager in that game as one of my recommendations in Thursday’s NHL article.
Toronto is likely to face a much more desperate and urgent Vancouver team which has now lost three straight games and will be looking to atone for a rather embarrassing performance on Thursday night. The Canucks defensive woes continued in the loss as they have yielded by far the highest danger scoring chances of any team in the NHL. Captain Bo Horvat expressed his frustration after the game about his team’s inability to defend right now. Toronto certainly has the firepower to take advantage of porous defensive teams.
Auston Matthews scored twice on Thursday and veteran forward Jason Spezza turned back the clock to the days of his prime scoring his first hat trick in years. In this spot, I think Vancouver will respond with a much stronger and better effort and I actually lean to them at this price as I expect them to really be coming out fast early in this game trying to make amends for an awful game on Thursday night and we’ve seen instances in the past of Toronto not being able to follow up one win against the same team with another such as last week in Edmonton for example where they split the two games with the Oilers. I am going with small bets here on Vancouver in the 1st Period and the full game as well as the over once again.
Vancouver +150 (1st Period)
Vancouver/Toronto Over 6.5 -125
Edmonton Oilers @ Calgary Flames
The Battle Of Alberta will be reignited tonight in Calgary between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. We’ve seen tons of bad blood and physical hockey between these teams in recent meetings last season and I have no doubt we’ll see another game filled with scrums and battles after the whistle which has become a theme with these two teams.
From a betting perspective, that could result in more power plays for these teams if the game is as rough as I think it could be which ultimately could lead to more goals being scored in this game. Edmonton’s power play has been excellent once again as they’ve cashed in at a 9-for-18 clip with the man advantage in their last five games. Calgary’s power play struggled against Winnipeg in the three games against the Jets but prior to that it had scored in every game but the Flames should welcome facing the Oilers penalty kill which has conceded goals in 8 of their last 10 games.
Calgary has surrendered 3+ goals in three straight games while Edmonton has allowed at least 3 goals in six of their last seven games. Calgary returns home off a five-game road trip in which they went just 1-4 while Edmonton has picked up their game of late with three straight wins. I will side with Edmonton here at a small underdog price with their current form right now being better than what we’ve seen from Calgary and I think with the chance for this game to be filled with penalties due to the animosity between these bitter rivals, I also like there to be plenty of goals and the recent meetings point toward that. The over is 3-0-1 in the last four meetings overall as well as 9-3-1 in the last 13 meetings in Calgary between the Oilers and Flames.
Edmonton/Calgary Over 6.5 +100