The old saying “all good things must come to an end” unfortunately rings true here in what will be my final NHL betting preview article here at Line Movement. I would like to thank everyone associated with the company for providing me this platform to write about the National Hockey League from a betting perspective during the previous year. Although my time writing NHL betting articles at LM is at an end, my handicapping and betting endeavors are not and this is a reminder that you can follow me on Twitter @bobano to check out all the great sports betting content including NHL betting content that I will be involved with in the future.
Let’s try and go out with a bang and see if we can deliver one last winning NHL betting card for this massive Saturday slate of action.
Washington Capitals @ New Jersey Devils
The Washington Capitals will look to build on a 5-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins as they will look to knock off the New Jersey Devils for the second time in a one week span. New Jersey is fresh off a 4-3 OT win against the Buffalo Sabres which snapped a two game losing streak. One of those losses was against Washington last Sunday in a game where the Devils led 2-0 early on but the Capitals rallied to take it 4-3. Washington has been excruciatingly inconsistent this season really not being able to gain much traction. One some nights, their defensive zone coverage has been disastrous and other nights their offense hasn’t clicked. It’s been a mixed bag of results for the Capitals. There is some potential bad news for Washington in this game as Alex Ovechkin is questionable to suit up here in this contest due to an undisclosed injury and he will be a gametime decision as to whether or not he is in the lineup.
New Jersey has improved this season after a very rough year last season in which they had a coaching change and didn’t live up to expectations. Jack Hughes is finally playing like a #1 overall pick while Pavel Zacha, Miles Wood and Kyle Palmieri have provided some offense too with those four players notching 41 points combined this season. The blue line has gotten better as P.K. Subban appears to be revitalized and playing better hockey after a subpar season last year. Damon Severson, Sami Vatanen, Ryan Murray, Dmitry Kulikov and Ty Smith round out a defense corps that has played better than expected this season and Mackenzie Blackwood has been rock solid all season in net. The Devils actually have a greater xGF% than the Capitals at this stage of the season which indicates that perhaps right now New Jersey is a bit overvalued and the Capitals are a bit undervalued right now. Washington is 27th in the NHL in goals allowed per game while New Jersey is 16th in that same category. The Capitals have struggled in day games this season going just 2-4 while the Devils are 4-1 in five matinee games this season. I like New Jersey here and envision them being a live home dog.
New Jersey +120
Carolina Hurricanes @ Florida Panthers
The Florida Panthers are a team I have cashed a bunch of winning wagers with already this season but I’m making this a rare instance in which I am siding against them as they host what should be a very focused Carolina Hurricanes squad which will be looking to turn things around after suffering three consecutive losses to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Florida is one of the NHL’s best stories of the season to this point as they are 13-6 this season and the Panthers are coming off a thrilling comeback win against the Dallas Stars in which Florida erased a 2-0 deficit in the 3rd Period to score three unanswered goals to win 3-2. It’s also the kind of win that could leave the Panthers somewhat flat after that kind of miraculous comeback victory very much like what we saw on Friday night from the Arizona Coyotes who were not sharp for the majority of their 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche which was on the heels of two straight comeback victories in a row against the Anaheim Ducks.
Carolina lost 4-3 in OT at home against Florida last week failing to hold a 2-0 lead in that game. The Hurricanes have a +33 margin over their opponents when it comes to high danger scoring chances while the Panthers are also solid in that category yet not quite as good at +12. Carolina also has a slightly better xGF% than Florida and in their last game against Tampa Bay, the Hurricanes dominated the Lightning and found themselves to be extremely unlucky to lose that game 3-1 as Carolina had an 8-3 danger chances edge and a 1.68 to 0.99 xG margin advantage in that loss illustrating that they deserved a better final outcome in that game. Sergei Bobrovsky had his best game of the season in net for Florida in their win against Dallas on Thursday night. I would expect him to get the starting nod here for the Panthers although that is not confirmed as of this article being published and I’m still suspect of whether Bobrovsky can play really well for a second straight game and inconsistency has been an issue for him since his arrival in Florida prior to last season. Anything resembling Carolina’s territorial dominance against Tampa Bay in this game here against Florida should result in a better outcome for the Hurricanes. I’ll lay the small price with the Canes.
St. Louis Blues @ San Jose Sharks
The injured ravaged St. Louis Blues are in survival mode right now as they try to not only withstand the cluster injuries that have besieged the team but also hang in there in the West Division race as they face the San Jose Sharks. St. Louis has Vladimir Tarasenko, Robert Thomas, Tyler Bozak and Jaden Schwartz all out up front while two of their most relied upon defensemen are also out of action currently with injuries Colton Parayko and Carl Gunnarsson who suffered a season ending knee injury in the Blues most recent game against the LA Kings. The Gunnarsson injury in particular is significant because he is one of their best shutdown blue liners on the team and his absence will be a detriment to the defensive ability of this team. St. Louis is just 3-7 in their last 10 games and they enter this matchup against San Jose on a three game losing streak.
San Jose hasn’t been much better in terms of current form as the Sharks are 4-6 in their last 10 games with defensive struggles and subpar goaltending being at the root of their problems through the first six weeks of the season. The Sharks are currently dead last in the NHL at 31st in the league in goals allowed per game surrendering 3.7 goals per game. San Jose isn’t without their own personnel issues either as defenseman Erik Karlsson is out indefinitely with a lower body injury and Tomas Hertl is on the team’s COVID-19 protocol list and will not play in tonight’s game. St. Louis is focused on getting their offense going prior to the start of this road trip which begins in San Jose as the Blues will be juggling their forward lines and also working on their power play to try and get their offense back on track after being held to just a single goal in their two game series against Los Angeles.in spite of 67 shots on goal for the Blues in those games. San Jose’s propensity to allow goals in bunches may be just what the doctor ordered for St. Louis and I think they can find the back of the net in this game as they have scored 7 goals in two previous encounters against the Sharks this season. I also think San Jose can score some goals here with St. Louis now without their best shutdown defenseman for the rest of the season. I’m on the over 5.5 in this game at a very reasonable price.
St. Louis/San Jose Over 5.5 -120
Best of the rest of my NHL wagers for Saturday…
- Ottawa +130 (vs. Calgary)
- Philadelphia -140 (vs. Buffalo)
- Columbus +110 (vs. Nashville)
- Vegas/Anaheim Over 5.5 +105