The NHL is back! After the St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup in June, it was a summer full of intrigue, signings, and impasses. All the moves and posturing make way for actual game action. This begins tonight with a robust four-game schedule. The first night of the season features several matchups that should make for a great night of hockey.
Here are Today’s NHL Picks:
Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs
- Toronto has lost the last four opening matchups against the Ottawa Senators.
For whatever reason, Ottawa has had the edge in these opening games against the Maple Leafs. Toronto sets up as a much better team on paper. The Senators are a scrappy team that will agitate with players like Brady Tkachuk. One of the first things many will notice is that scoring typically elevates in October. Last season, scoring averaged nearly 6.5 goals for most of the first month. Also, the four previous matchups saw both teams combined for 35 goals – an average of 8.75 goals combined per contest. Frederik Andersen is confirmed for Toronto to go up against Craig Anderson for Ottawa. These two goalies will expect to see lots of shots and chances.
1u – Over 6.5 Total Goals @ +114
Washington Capitals @ St. Louis Blues
- The St. Louis Blues raise their Stanley Cup Banner against the team that won the 2018 Stanley Cup.
The energy that comes from a banner raising is often an experience just to watch. Some teams thrive on it and some teams do not. Last year, Washington rode that energy to a 7-0 rout of the Boston Bruins. Jordan Binnington and Braden Holtby are your projected goaltenders for tonight’s matchup, and Alex Ovechkin (lower body injury) will play for the Caps. St. Louis finished with the best record from the All-Star Break on last year. I expect that wave to carry them tonight.
1u – St. Louis Blues -1.5 @ +200
Vancouver Canucks @ Edmonton Oilers
- Vancouver and Edmonton split their four matchups last season with Edmonton winning the last two by just one goal each.
This is one game that may get lost in the hype of the other late game between the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights. There is plenty to like with this matchup. For one thing, these are two teams that tend to produce underwhelming results when pitted against each other. One or two goal games were the theme last season. Also, they combined for just 22 goals in their final four meetings – an average of just 5.5 goals per game. According to StatsChecker, Vancouver hit the under 58.5% of the time last year.
1u – Under 5.5 Total Goals @ +115
San Jose Sharks @ Vegas Golden Knights
- Vegas still seeks revenge for the Game 7 meltdown from last year’s first-round exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Two of the top Pacific Division teams clash on Wednesday night and then again on Friday night. The NHL schedule makers got one right here. Their last pre-season game featured a ton of skirmishes and some fallout too. Evander Kane was suspended three games for abuse of officials which is significant when it comes to betting. The expectation is that Vegas will come out firing like they did in the last pre-season meeting which Vegas easily won 5-1, more than the 1.5 goal spread.
1u – Vegas Golden Knights -1.5 @ +170
By Chris Wassel