NHL picks: 4 best bets for Tuesday night
Andrew Berkshire provides his best NHL picks and predictions for Tuesday night's action.
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While the West is still wild with possibilities of teams sneaking into the postseason, the Eastern conference is either playing spoiler or starting to play playoff hockey. No division is tougher at the top than the Atlantic, with four of the seven best teams in the league. The Panthers have some breathing room, but the Leafs, Bruins, and Lightning are all in a dogfight for home ice. Out West, odds are Dallas will use their games in hand to push out the Vegas Golden Knights, but five straight wins for Vegas is applying major pressure.
The Florida Panthers are the class of the Eastern Conference, crossing the 100-point plateau by game 68, seeing Jonathan Huberdeau set the single season record for assists by a left wing - surpassing Joe Juneau’s rookie season in 1992-93 - and they’re the highest scoring team in the NHL.
The thing is, defensively, there are some issues with Florida. As a viewer, I love watching them. They have one mode and it’s full send. Go score a goal, always. But they have got caught a few times recently where that all-offence approach lets teams get back in games that they shouldn’t be able to.
Contrast that to the Leafs, who just ran through the top teams in the Eastern Conference with disrespect, beating Carolina, Florida, Boston, and Tampa Bay by a combined score of 20-10. Yes, it’s a back-to-back for Toronto, but they’re sending a message to their likely playoff opponents, this year is not the same as usual.
On Monday night against Tampa Bay, Auston Matthews scored a hat trick to secure a tie for the all-time single season goal record in Maple Leafs history. He’s now scored 53 goals in 58 games. Fact is, he’ll probably score in this one too, but Matthews shouldn’t be the one carrying his team on back-to-back nights.
In the last matchup between these two, it was actually Tavares who set the tone, and now that he’s contributing consistently again, he’s a good bet to light the lamp. Another factor that might play in his favour is that Sheldon Keefe elected to rest him a bit against Tampa, playing him only 14:12 as things were well in hand in the game.
With the Penguins being such a strong road team, and a strong team in general, I thought they might be able to squeak out a win in Denver on Saturday. They came close, but they weren't quite able to finish the job. Heading home for the second game of a two-game series, you might think the Penguins have a better chance, but they haven’t been too great on Pittsburgh ice.
In straight up wins and losses, the Penguins are only 19-15 at home, so the Avalanche have a pretty significant advantage once again. It’s not very often the top team in the NHL is given even odds to win a game, and at the time of this writing, the Avalanche actually have the better payout when looking at outright win betting.
The Penguins are an excellent team, there’s as good a chance the Avalanche lose this game as any of their toughest games this season, but the chance to put a bet on a team that wins 71 per cent of the time and get a great return is too much to pass up.
If you’ve been watching the Canadiens play at all lately, you’d know that Nick Suzuki is buzzing. He’s making great plays, getting himself into prime scoring positions, and just getting checked at the last moment of getting robbed by goalies.
As the Habs just ran the gamut of the top teams in the East, it makes sense that the checking was tighter, but against the wide-open Ottawa Senators, there’s going to be some space to work with. Nursing a five-game goal drought and searching for his first 20-goal season, expect Suzuki to pot one in this contest.