Fresh off a Friday when only one game was played due to the superior scheduling prowess of the NHL – kidding, Saturday brings us an action-packed twelve-game slate. As of this writing, all games are a go with no known COVID issues. So, let’s analyze our best bets, shall we?
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YTD: 28-19 (+11.86u)
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
New York Islanders (+104) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (-120)
If you were stuck in traffic on Hempstead Turnpike yesterday, presumably it wasn’t because of construction. It was most likely due to the incensed mob of Islanders fans coming for the heads of each team member after blowing an early 3-0 lead against the Washington Capitals. Quite the anomaly for a team coach by the defensively-minded Barry Trotz. But hey, stuff happens.
Philly enters the winner of two-straight against the surprising but rebuilding New Jersey Devils. Big whoop. Through two periods Thursday night, the team only had six shots on net before breaking through for two goals in the third period. If not for goaltender Cahtah Haht (Carter Hart), the outcome of this game could have been much different.
On the surface, this matchup looks like two teams going in opposite directions. However, the underlying metrics tell another story. Largely, the Islanders have been relatively unlucky in the offensive end. They’re currently averaging 1.71 GF/60 but own an xGF/60 of 2.28 – a rather large margin. Their opponents are averaging 2.8 goals per 60 mins but have an xGF/60 of 2.15. If the Carolina Hurricanes are a bunch of jerks, the Flyers are most certainly a bunch of overachievers.
Not convinced? Well, considering the Islanders own an xGF% of 52.81 to the Flyers’ 46.23 while also holding an advantage in the Corsi category, you may want to reconsider.
Between two straight ugly losses and statistical advantages, the wrong team is favored here.
Pick: NY Islanders (+104)
Nashville Predators (+145) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (-167)
The defending Stanley Cup Champions return home after suffering an overtime loss to the aforementioned Hurricanes. Netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy was sensational, but Martin Necas finally slipped one by the big Russian one minute into the extra frame.
Word on the street is that the Preds recently secured a sponsorship with WD-40 after squeaking out two ugly wins against the lowly Chicago Blackhawks. This team could only muster five goals collectively against Malcolm Subban and Kevin Lankinen, on roughly 347 shots. Well, it was actually 81 shots, but you get the gist.
Why are they having trouble scoring, you may ask? Presumably due to their xGF/60 of 1.76 while also owning a pedestrian CF% of 50.3. Not a recipe for offensive success.
Although Tampa has only scored three goals collectively in their past two games, there’s no reason to panic. This roster is loaded from top to bottom. They own one of the top xGF% in the NHL at 55.29 and a ridiculous xGF/60 of 3.02. Things will turn around.
Considering the Predators could hardly solve the Blackhawks’ goaltending tandem, a date with Vasilevskiy doesn’t bode well for their success. The Lightning’s metrics signal a breakout is looming, most likely coming tonight.
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