The NHL has a five game slate on Friday night to help us build our bankroll for Super Bowl Sunday. My two favorite plays are below:
The Bruins have played the Flyers three times already to begin this season and they have won all three games. After opening the season 1-1-1, the Bruins are 6-0-1 in their last seven games.
Boston is a top three team in the league in terms of expected goal rate, behind just the Hurricanes and Canadiens. The Bruins are also top ten in terms of scoring chances, high danger chances and shot attempts. Bottom line, the Bruins play well with the puck and they often have it in their opponent’s zone.
On the other side of the ice, the Flyers are a bottom ten category in the four analytical categories mentioned. Despite their poor metrics, Philadelphia has a 7-2-2 record through their first eleven games.
The biggest mismatch in this game comes in the Flyers ability to generate offense at 5-on-5. The Flyers are a bottom five team in terms of expected goals scored. On the other side, Boston is the league’s best team in terms of expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5.
Boston’s offense has gotten rolling since David Pastrnak came back from injury. Since his return, Pastrnak has five goals in three games, including a hat trick when these same teams met on Wednesday. The Bruins top line of Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron is nicknamed “The Perfection Line” and for good reason.
The Flyers were up by two goals late in the third period on Wednesday, but Boston came back to win it in overtime. The Bruins have won three straight against the Flyers, and doubt has to be creeping into Philadelphia’s mind.
I don’t love betting the same team to win back-to-back games on the road, but Boston is simply a much more solid and complete team than the Flyers.
Bet: Boston ML @ -130
These two teams will play for the second time in two days as the Predators erased a two goal deficit in the final 126 seconds of the game and then won it in overtime on Thursday night.
Florida has still not lost a game in regulation as they’ve begun the season 5-0-2. On the other side, Nashville evened their win-loss record at 5-5-0.
The result overshadows what was a strong performance from the Panthers. They had nearly 59% of the expected goals on Thursday night, and they outchanced Nashville 20-14. Florida led almost all night, but a late collapse undid a great night of work.
It might sound crazy to say, but the Florida Panthers and their fans probably look forward to Friday’s game with more confidence in their goaltending. The Panthers signed Sergei Bobrovsky to a massive seven year contract in 2019, and he’s been nothing but a disappointment.
After getting beaten six times on Thursday night, Bobrovsky’s goals against average rose to 3.57 while his save percentage dipped to .881. After an awful 2019-20 regular season, the alarm bells are ringing in Sunrise.
Thankfully for Florida, Bobrovsky will almost certainly get the night off which means Chris Driedger will be in the nets. Driedger has been the opposite of Bobrovsky, as he’s provided the Panthers with extraordinary goaltending the past two seasons. Through three starts this year, Driedger has a 1.95 goals against average and .937 save percentage.
The Panthers aren’t the only team with a goaltending issue in this game. Juuse Saros got the start on Thursday, but he was pulled after two periods where he gave up five goals. Pekka Rinne came in and ended up getting the win. However, Rinne himself has not been good to begin the season.
The hope for Nashville was that Saros would claim the starting role this season and never look back because Rinne himself struggled last year. However, Saros has not done that and now Nashville has two below average netminders to begin the season.
With Nashville winning the opener in dramatic fashion, Florida should be looking to avenge their loss. They will have the better goalie in net in this game with Driedger.
A pissed off team with the goaltending advantage at home? Sign me up.
Pick: Florida ML @ -113
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Expert NHL Picks
Bruins at Flyers - Boston ML @ -130 (Click to bet)
Predators at Panthers - Florida ML @ -113 (Click to bet)
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