NHL 2/20 betting preview

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The NHL card is stacked to the brim with a dozen games and I will look to further a rock-solid 19-13 59% streak with my Line Movement NHL betting preview article plays. The day is highlighted by an outdoor game in Lake Tahoe, Nevada (if you haven’t seen some of the images of the incredible scenery around the outdoor rink in Lake Tahoe yet, be sure to check them out!) between the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche. Let’s dive into Saturday’s action!

Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche

Located at nearly 6,300 feet in elevation, Lake Tahoe will be the setting for Saturday’s outdoor game between these two rivals who have already faced off against one another twice this week indoors with the teams splitting those two matchups. Temperatures are expected in the low to mid 30’s at puck drop which is at or slightly above freezing so there is a chance the ice may not be in absolute best condition if the temperature ends up being closer to the high end of that range. One thing to note about many outdoor games is that it can sometimes be a bit more difficult to make crisp passes and sharp plays with the puck compared to indoor ice surfaces. That could be true once again here as often the puck bounces a bit more in these outdoor games. That usually negatively affects scoring. 

We saw a playoff mentality unfold in the first two games between Vegas and Colorado earlier this week as both games stayed under the total with tight checking, solid defensive play and terrific goaltending from both sides. I don’t see things changing too much here although it’s surely worth noting the Avalanche are getting healthier for this game. Colorado was without several key players in the two games against Vegas earlier this week but the Avalanche are expected to have captain Gabriel Landeskog and their #1 defenseman Cale Makar along with fellow blue liner Samuel Girard back in the lineup for this game. This is a difficult game for me to project from a side perspective. Vegas is 3-0 off a loss this season and the prospects of betting against them after dropping a 3-2 decision to Colorado in their last game is not something I’m thrilled with. That being said, I think Colorado is the slightly better team and they are also much closer to full strength entering this matchup and closer to having their entire roster available to them for this game today. I will stick with just the total here and look under the total in this matchup between the two teams that are currently ranked 1st and 2nd in the NHL in goals allowed per game.

Vegas/Colorado Under 5.5 -110

Tampa Bay Lightning @ Carolina Hurricanes

The Tampa Bay Lightning will attempt to do what they have done very well in recent years and that is bounce back after a loss in their previous game as they take on the red hot Carolina Hurricanes in a Central Division clash. Tampa Bay lost 6-4 against Florida on Monday which was the first home loss of the season for the Lightning. They have had four days off since then prior to this game against Carolina which is the perfect amount of time to get some rest, practice and sharpen up as a team and be fresh and energized for taking on a Canes squad that is 8-1 in their last 9 games.

Carolina kept that brilliant stretch of hockey going last night with a 5-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks. Nino Neiderreiter is playing the best hockey of his career proving to be a force offensively each and every night as he’s notched 9 goals in 15 games this season for Carolina. Jordan Staal, Vincent Trocheck, Sebastian Aho, and Andrei Svechnikov have also been significant catalysts for a Carolina squad that has been on fire offensively. The Canes are averaging 3.67 goals scored per game this season. The Lightning are even better at 3.86 goals scored per game this season and Tampa Bay have scored nearly 4 goals per game in spite of Nikita Kucherov being out for the entire regular season and a few other forwards missing various games early on during the season which speaks volumes about the immense depth up front this team has.

These two teams are trending over the total right now with Tampa Bay having cashed over tickets in four straight games while Carolina is 9-1 to the over in their last 10 games. The lone previous meeting this season between these teams was a 1-0 win for Carolina at home back on January 28th but the Canes were without several key players for that game as they were playing their first game after a COVID-19 hiatus. The teams are in a terrific groove scoring goals right now and I think that plays out in this game tonight.

Tampa Bay/Carolina Over 6 -120

Real Kyper at Noon

Los Angeles Kings @ Arizona Coyotes

The Arizona Coyotes looked sluggish and flat in their Thursday night 3-2 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings. I cashed a winning underdog wager in this article with LA in that game but now I believe it’s time to shift gears and back the Coyotes to bounce back here in the rematch on Saturday night. Arizona was outplayed significantly in Thursday’s loss. The Coyotes lost the xG margin 1.66 to 0.83 in the game while the Kings had a dominating edge in high danger scoring chances 10-3. Arizona was coming off a hard fought seven game stretch against the St. Louis Blues and those were very physical, intense, hard fought games and it looked like the Coyotes were zapped of their energy and didn’t have much in their mental, physical and emotional gas tank for the Kings on Thursday night.

I expect a different Arizona squad tonight. Los Angeles has won three games in a row and they deserve some credit for that but this team is still flawed at both ends of the ice. The Kings are inconsistent offensively and still a bit shaky in their own zone albeit coming off one of their better defensive performances of the entire season to this point according to head coach Todd McLellan. Arizona has yet to lose every game of a series against the same opponent on home ice this season and that’s a streak they are looking to keep intact here tonight. I expect the Coyotes to do just that and bounce back with the home win against the Kings tonight.

Arizona -150

Best of the rest of my NHL wagers for Saturday…

  • NY Islanders +108 (vs. Pittsburgh)
  • NY Islanders/Pittsburgh Over 5.5 -110
  • Columbus -125 (vs. Nashville)
  • San Jose/St. Louis Over 5.5 -120
  • Calgary/Edmonton Over 6 -110
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