I decided to open this NHL betting preview article by mentioning the Toronto Maple Leafs becoming the first NHL team to hit 20 points this season with their win against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night. The league’s current best team still has playoff demons to shake but for now, the Leafs look the part of a true Stanley Cup contender. Toronto has always had the offensive weaponry upfront with four dynamic and explosive forward lines combined with a lethal power play but the Leafs have improved their defensive play significantly while getting consistent and steady goaltending every night from Frederik Andersen. If the quality play on defense keeps up, this is a Toronto team that will be dangerous all season long.
Here are my betting recommendations for the Tuesday NHL card.
Philadelphia Flyers @ Washington Capitals
The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Washington Capitals 7-4 in a Super Bowl Sunday afternoon shootout and now it’s the suddenly struggling Capitals who have lost three straight games looking to return the favor on Tuesday night in the rematch. Philadelphia got their top line center Sean Couturier back in the lineup on Sunday and he notched two goals and an assist in his first game back after missing 10 games due to a rib injury. Scott Laughton had an offensive explosion in Sunday’s win as he scored his first career hat trick.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Flyers. However, the Capitals had the better of the play territorially and in many different areas in Sunday’s game despite falling short on the scoreboard. Washington had a 16-11 advantage in high danger scoring chances and the xG margin for the game was 2.76 to 2.29 in favor of the Caps. Philly buried their chances when they got them and Washington wasn’t able to do so quite as much. Washington has lost three straight games as playing with a very shorthanded roster due to injuries and the impact of COVID-19 is finally starting to take its toll. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jakub Vrana, T.J. Oshie and Justin Schultz didn’t play on Sunday and only Schultz and Oshie have a realistic chance of drawing back into the lineup on Tuesday night.
That being said, this should be a maximum effort and focus spot for the Capitals who embark on a road trip following this game and would dearly like to avoid four losses in a row before hitting the road. The numbers beyond the base stats from Sunday’s game indicate Washington played well enough to win and possibly deserved a better fate. I think getting Washington at a home underdog price in this kind of spot is a good price for a team that should bring a pretty good effort to the table.
Detroit Red Wings @ Florida Panthers
The Detroit Red Wings rewarded their backers with a massive +230 underdog ticket cash on Sunday in a 4-1 victory over this Florida Panthers team for only their third win of the season to this point. Detroit played a very hard game and competed well away from the puck as they played maybe their best defensive game of the season. Head coach Jeff Blashill seemed to agree with that opinion and he made waves prior to Sunday’s game by making the decision to bench one of his top forwards Anthony Mantha due to mediocre overall performance particularly his level of play at the defensive end of the ice.
Mantha’s offense wasn’t the issue as he scored three goals in four games before getting benched. However, his -8 rating in 12 games played so far painted the picture of someone who had defensive deficiencies which led to the decision to sit him. Dylan Larkin has been excellent as the newly minted Red Wings captain, and he hasn’t found that role to be too big for him as he’s notched 9 points in 13 games.
Florida had gained at least a point in each of their first eight games to begin the season but that streak was snapped by Detroit in the 4-1 loss on Sunday. It hasn’t been spectacular hockey to start the campaign for the Panthers but it has been solid as the team has definitely improved their goals against numbers from last season where they ranked near the bottom of the NHL in goals allowed. On the offensive end of the ice, the team is still very capable of finding the back of the ner averaging 3.22 goals per game with Jonathan Huberdeau and Alexsander Barkov proving to be a lethal duo on a nightly basis. The two star forwards for the Panthers have combined to register 23 points in the team’s first 9 games. Florida is a perfect 2-0 in their two previous tries coming off a loss while Detroit is a dismal 1-7 in their last 8 games following a win dating back to last season. I expect those trends to follow suit here and I will go with Florida to win this game in regulation time.
Florida In Regulation -140
San Jose Sharks @ Los Angeles Kings
Two struggling California teams will face off here when the San Jose Sharks take on the Los Angeles Kings. San Jose is 3-6 in their last 9 games while Los Angeles returns home following four straight losses. The Kings are dealing with cluster injuries up and down their roster especially on the blue line which has been hard hit with injuries including Matt Roy and Sean Walker. The Kings don’t have a ton of quality depth waiting in the wings when one position group starts to incur injuries and it has shown on defense for them in recent games where LA has allowed at least 4 goals in three of their last four games with the lone exception being a loss to offensively challenged Anaheim. Jonathan Quick has had a rough time of it in recent starts and Cal Petersen seems to be getting more opportunities in between the pipes for the Kings. He’s been the better of the two but even he couldn’t overcome the problems from a shorthanded and subpar Kings blue line on Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.
San Jose has been a mixed bag this season with some games where the offense works but most of their games it’s been their defense and goaltending struggling to keep the puck out of their own net. The Sharks are a wretched 28th in the NHL in goals allowed averaging 3.6 goals per game allowed to the opposition this season. The Sharks offense was playing very well early in the season but the goal-scoring well has run a bit dry for San Jose in recent games with the Sharks held to 6 goals in their last three games combined. However, San Jose should welcome the chance to play a struggling and depleted LA blue line in this game which could be a relief to what is ailing the Sharks offensively. Logan Couture and Evander Kane have 8 points in 10 games but Timo Meier who led the team with 49 points last season has just 5 points in 10 games this season. San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson has not found his offensive ways yet this season either which is usually his strength. Karlsson has struggled to produce from the blue line this season with just 3 points, all of which assists, in 10 games.
That being said, I think San Jose will find an uptick in offensive production in this game against a vulnerable Los Angeles defense that is yielding goals right now. On the flip side, any team is a threat to score goals in bunches against San Jose who possess one of the weakest combinations of defense and goaltending in the NHL. I’m betting this game over the total of 5.5 between the Sharks and Kings.
San Jose/Los Angeles Over 5.5 -120