After only three games, all of which being on the West Coast, the NHL returns Thursday night, November 18th with 11 games. The heavy slate of games allows bettors to find favorable matchups and mismatches that can result in great payouts. With that in mind, there are some games that are pivotal to watch out for.
Pittsburgh Penguins (-130) Vs. Montreal Canadiens
|Penguins stat line||5 wins in 15 games||2.80 goals per game||3.20 goals against per game|
|Canadiens stat line||4 wins in 18 games||2.11 goals per game||3.39 goals against per game|
The Penguins are off to a slow start this season and have struggled across the board. However, the roster is finally getting some of the key contributors back into the lineup, highlighted by forward Sidney Crosby. In the upcoming game, the Penguins will look to take advantage of the Canadiens struggling defensive with Crosby, along with Jake Guentzel and Evan Rodrigues, crashing the net and finding quick scoring chances on the odd-man rush while defensemen Kris Letang and Marcus Pettersson find open shots from the point. Speaking of Letang and Pettersson, they should lead the defensive unit and eliminate the Canadiens forwards from establishing an offensive zone presence. Additionally, goaltender Tristan Jarry should step up in the game and eliminate second chance shots for the Canadiens.
The Penguins will win the game with a decisive victory.
Under 5.5 – Philadelphia Flyers Vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
|Flyers stat line||8 wins in 14 games||2.71 goals per game||2.43 goals against per game|
|Lightning stat line||8 wins in 14 games||3.07 goals per game||2.79 goals against per game|
The Lightning have piled on the goals in the recent games and it’s easy to think that the upcoming game could become a high-scoring one. However, both the Lightning and the Flyers have been led by two great defenses and even better goaltenders. The Flyers will eliminate the Lightning from effectively moving the puck into the offensive zone with Travis Sanheim and Justin Braun controlling the blue line to help create turnover in the neutral zone while Ivan Provorov removes Lightning skaters from the puck in the defensive zone. Moreover, goaltender Carter Hart should see few shots in this game but step up and make plenty of big saves throughout the game.
The Lightning meanwhile should also eliminate the Flyers offense with complete control of the center of the defensive zone. Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, and Mikhail Sergachev will create turnovers in the neutral zone and defensive zone while forcing the Flyers to settle for shots on the wings, instead of effective shots near the net. In addition, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy should blank the Flyers shots on the net, especially the top-shelf shots while low shots can be collected and blocked by the Lightning defensemen in the center of the zone.
The Under will cover in a low-scoring game controlled by both defenses.
Over 5.5 San Jose Sharks Vs. St. Louis Blues
|Sharks stat line||8 wins in 15 games||2.87 goals per game||2.73 goals against per game|
|Blues stat line||8 wins in 15 games||3.33 goals per game||2.73 goals against per game|
The Sharks and Blue have both played well on the defensive end of the ice this season and could easily limit any offense but in the upcoming game, both offenses look to exploit mismatches to find the back of the net. The Sharks play great on the wings and Tomas Hertl along with Timo Meier look to find quick shots and space from the outside of the offensive zone while Logan Couture finds loose pucks near the net. Additionally, the Sharks defensemen Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns should find plenty of shots from the point to further open up the Sharks’ offense in the game.
The Blues on the other hand have proven this season that they can find goals throughout the forward unit with one of the deepest scoring rosters in the NHL. The Blues will overwhelm the Sharks defense with David Perron, Brayden Schenn, Jordan Kyrou, and the rest of the forward lines creating quick scoring chances on the odd-man rush while also establishing great puck movement in the offensive zone to find the Sharks defense out of position. The Blues will also allow defenseman Torey Krug to find open forwards near the net with great passes from the point to help pile on the goals.
The Over will cover with both offenses finding the back of the net throughout the game.
Minnesota Wild (-140) Vs. Dallas Stars
|Wild stat line||10 wins in 15 games||3.20 goals per game||3.13 goals against per game|
|Stars stat line||6 wins in 14 games||2.57 goals per game||3.00 goals against per game|
The Wild are coming off a tough 4-1 loss to the Sharks but look to bounce back and take advantage of a struggling Stars roster. The Wild will look to eliminate the Stars offense with Mathew Dumba, Jonas Brodin, and the rest of the Wild defensive unit creating turnovers in the defensive zone and limiting shooting lanes for the Stars top-heavy forward unit. The shots on the net should also be easily saved by goaltender Cam Talbot who is having a great season with the Wild and the Stars will be forced to generate shots through traffic with little chance of finding the back of the net.
The Wild offense meanwhile matches up perfectly with a Stars defense that is talented but struggles at the blue lines. As a result, the Wild will find plenty of scoring opportunities with Kirill Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek carrying the puck into the offensive zone while Mats Zuccarello and the rest of the forward unit find open skaters in the offensive zone for great shots on the net. The strong offensive zone presence will also allow the defensemen in Dumba and Brodin to shoot pucks on the goal from the blue line to create chaos near the net.
The Wild will win the game with a dominant performance.
Anaheim Ducks (+125) Vs. Carolina Hurricanes
|Ducks stat line||10 wins in 17 games||3.53 goals per game||2.65 goals against per game|
|Hurricanes stat line||12 wins in 14 games||3.50 goals per game||1.93 goals against per game|
The Hurricanes have looked like one of the best teams in the NHL and are looking to continue their impressive start to the season. The problem is that the Hurricanes are on the West Coast and facing a Ducks team that has played great on both ends of the ice. The Ducks will look to pile on the goals with Troy Terry, Trevor Zegras, and the rest of the forward unit beating the Hurricanes defense in transition and finding open shots on rushes. The Ducks should also eliminate the Hurricanes offense with Kevin Shattenkirk creating turnovers throughout the game in the defensive zone while goaltender John Gibson steps up in the net and makes plenty of saves throughout the game.
The Ducks will win the game and provide great odds in the process as home Underdogs.
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