We’ve made it to Tuesday and we’re being rewarded with a 13 game NHL slate to cap off our day. 26 of the league’s 31 teams will be in action which gives us plenty of opportunity to get in on the action.
Nobody said Islanders hockey was exciting. The team has played 5 games to this point, and the games have combined for 17 goals. The Islanders have shut-out their opponent twice. They have been shutout twice themselves. All five of their games have gone under the total. Most of them weren’t even worthy of a serious sweat.
No team has scored less goals per game than the Islanders who average just 1.8 goals per contest. On the flip side, only the Dallas Stars are allowing less goals per game than the Islanders and it’s important to note Dallas has played just two games. Opponents are scoring just 1.6 times on average against New York.
Head coach Barry Trotz preaches team defense for the Isles and thus far, he’s gotten it. The Islanders excel at limiting high danger chances. They are allowing only 6.1 high danger chances against per 60 minutes at 5v5. In fact, the Isles have not allowed more than 6 high danger chances in a single game yet this season.
Goaltender Semyon Varlamov figures to be back in the crease for the Islanders on Tuesday after getting the day off on Sunday. Varlamov has conceded just one goal in his three games. Varlamov’s 6.35 goals saved above average ranks first in the league.
Offensively, New York could be in trouble if Anthony Beauvillier is ruled out for this game. The young left winger left mid-way through Sunday’s game and did not return. His status is uncertain. The Isles are a team that is not built to withstand injuries to their top six as the team’s third line wingers are already largely a blackhole.
On the other side of this matchup are the Washington Capitals. Surprisingly, no team is generating less expected goals per 60 minutes at 5v5 than Washington so far this season.
In normal circumstances, the Capitals have the talent to overcome some poor underlying numbers. Unfortunately for them, these aren’t normal circumstances as Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov are amongst the players who will be unavailable for this game due to Covid-protocols. Ovechkin and Kuznetsov are two of the top offensive players in their league, so the Capitals will be missing a ton of firepower.
In addition to Ovechkin and Kuznetsov is Tom Wilson. Wilson’s status for this game is uncertain after he missed Sunday’s game due to an injury. If Wilson can’t go, the Capitals will be without three of their top six forwards.
With the style the Islanders play and the injuries on both sides, I think goals will be at a premium in this game.
Bet: Under 5.5 goals @ -125 (Click To Bet)
The Philadelphia Flyers might enter this game with a record of 3-2-1, but the underlying numbers paint a much bleaker picture.
There is no team with a lower share of expected goals at 5v5 this season than the Flyers.
On the flipside, the New Jersey Devils also find themselves in the bottom ten in expected goal share.
A lot of these issues stem from these team’s defense. The Devils have the league’s 7th worst expected goals against per 60 minutes while the Flyers are right behind them in 8th place.
These teams get into trouble because they spend a lot of time chasing the puck in the defensive zone. Teams have no problem generating offense against these teams. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when these two teams with obvious issues face-off against each other.
Despite Scott Wedgewood recording a shutout on Sunday for the Devils, there’s obvious question marks around a 28 year old career minor leaguer in net for New Jersey. Wedgewood is an unknown commodity and the prevailing thought is if Wedgewood was an NHL level goalie, he’d have gotten more of an opportunity earlier in his career.
In the other crease, no goalie has gotten off to a worse start than Carter Hart. Hart carried the Flyers on his back in last year’s postseason and had many itching to anoint him as one of the league’s better goalies. However through his first five starts, he’s posted a goals saved above expectation of -5.5.
This has caused the Flyers to turn to Brian Elliott in this contest. Elliott has a long history as an NHL goalie, but he hasn’t been better than average since 2016. He’s played well in two appearances this year, but we can expect that to regress based on his career body of work.
The Flyers have plenty of talent on offense with players like Travis Konecny, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. This is how Philly is surviving poor metrics and poor goaltending. Their offense can take any ordinary rush up ice and put it in their opponent’s net. They have a deep team that can get contributions from anyone.
New Jersey needs players to step up around sophomore Jack Hughes. Hughes has 7 points in his team’s first five games, but outside of rookie defenseman Ty Smith, he isn’t getting much help offensively. With the weak Flyers team defense, this is a prime opportunity for some Devils forwards to start contributing.
I think this game goes a bit under the radar in a slate with 13 games, but I expect some fireworks here. I think these teams are struggling in their own end and in net. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of goals come out of this contest.
The Bet: Over 5.5 goals @ -125 (Click To Bet)
It’s been a slow start to the regular season for the Colorado Avalanche.
The Avs entered the season as the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, but they’ve won just three of their first six games. It just seems like they’re a bit off. Outside of their eight goal explosion against St. Louis, they’ve scored three goals or less in every one of their games.
It’s like we’re just waiting for them to explode one night. I think that night will be Tuesday.
The San Jose Sharks have actually had a similar start to the Avs, as both teams enter with 3-3 records. The similarities end there.
The Sharks have the third worst expected goal rate of all teams in the league. They are the 2nd worst team in terms of expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5v5. They are bottom third of the league in terms of generating offense.
The Sharks are in the bottom four of the league in terms of even strength save percentage. Both of their goalies have negative goals saved above expectation. Even their shooting percentage is below league average.
It makes no sense that San Jose has a 3-3 record as their resume is that of a bottom dwelling team in this league.
It’s only a matter of time until this balloon pops for the Sharks. They don’t have the goaltending nor team defense to slow down this Colorado team.
Colorado is also getting relatively unlucky to start the season. They are in the bottom five in the league in terms of goals per game at even strength. Their expected goals per game are that of a team in the top third of the league.
Things will turn up for Colorado. Things will get worse for San Jose.
Tuesday night might be the beginning of that turn as I can see the Avalanche blowing the doors off San Jose.
Bet: Colorado -1.5 @ -125 (Click To Bet)
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Expert NHL Picks
Flyers at Devils - Over 5.5 goals @ -125 (Click To Bet)
Islanders at Captials - Under 5.5 goals @ -125 (Click To Bet)
Sharks at Avalanche - Colorado -1.5 @ -125 (Click To Bet)
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