NHL picks: Best bets for Wednesday night
Andrew Berkshire provides his best NHL picks and predictions for Wednesday night's action, including a Connor McDavid player prop.
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After an extended holiday break of just over a week due to Covid-19, the league has re-instituted taxi squads to give teams more capability to handle the continually variable dynamic the pandemic has thrown at us all. They’re ready to get the season another go, this time without the prospect of the Olympics in February. Since they’re giving it a go, so are we, so let’s get into some bets.
At a glance, these are two very similar teams - two dominant forces winning about 70 per cent of their games, but in reality they are very, very different.
The Panthers are an extremely dominant team at even strength. Only the Boston Bruins have controlled play at a higher rate than Florida’s 55.62 per cent control of expected goals, while the Rangers sit in 27th, at an unimpressive 46.65 per cent.
What has propelled the Rangers to be one of the top teams in the league in regards to their record has been the incredible play of Igor Shesterkin, who has arguably been the best goaltender in the NHL this season. That, combined with some elite level offensive talent, and one of the best defensemen in the NHL in Adam Fox, has hid a lot of major issues for the Rangers.
The Panthers had been pretty underwhelming before the NHL took a break for the holidays, but that may have come at the best possible time for them, as they can reset and get back to what makes the dominant. Shesterkin can change games singlehandedly, but I’ll be betting on the better team overall to take this one after a bit of a hiatus.
The holiday break probably couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Vancouver Canucks, who were flying high on a six-game winning streak, undefeated after the hiring of Bruce Boudreau as head coach. The numbers behind the winning streak aren’t great, but the Ducks are another team that has ridden the shooting and save percentage highs this season.
Not only has everything been breaking right for the Canucks since the coaching change, they’re facing a former team of Boudreau’s in Anaheim, so you can bet there’s some money on the board for whoever seals the deal on a win for Vancouver.
Just before the NHL needed to take a pause, Connor McDavid ended a personal six-game goal drought, during which time he “only” had five points. That’s right, a cold streak for McDavid is just under a point per game, he’s that good.
With the Oilers just beginning to climb out of a dark stretch before the holidays, I would bet that McDavid spent the holidays focused on how he wanted to come out of them, ready to carry his team to the point where they won’t be thinking about that long losing streak for a long time.
They’re facing a good team in the Blues, but expect McDavid to do some serious damage Wednesday night.