NHL Tuesday best bets: Road warriors
We'll look to build on a strong start to the week with two more plays for Tuesday's games.
There really hasn't been much separating these teams on the scoreboard. Neither club has scored more than three goals in a game, and the Hurricanes are up 5-4 in total goals through three meetings. It's tight.
But while the Rangers are very much in the series, Carolina looks ready to put New York on the brink.
The Hurricanes are playing good hockey, ranking second in expected goal generation and expected goal suppression among teams in this round. Put another way, Carolina is one of the best at creating and limiting chances at five-on-five. That's a good recipe for success.
The Hurricanes' attack has also been very balanced so far in this series. No single player is causing the Rangers a world of problems, but many are generating their fair share of chances. Carolina has 10 players with at least 10 shot attempts in Round 2 and 14 with four scoring chances or more. The Rangers have seven such skaters.
Those are somewhat arbitrary cutoffs, but they help illustrate the Hurricanes' offensive depth. That matters against a phenom like Igor Shesterkin.
Carolina's depth is a difference-maker, and its top six looks ready to break out. Andrei Svechnikov's line generated 21 attempts and 11 chances in Game 2, while the Sebastian Aho line created eight chances in just eight minutes of five-on-five play as a trio. The revamped forward combinations sure seem to be causing New York problems.
Look for the Hurricanes to put the Rangers on the brink.
Bet: Hurricanes (-110)
Calgary is controlling over 58% of the expected goals at five-on-five against Edmonton. The Flames lead all second-round teams in that category, and their mark is only about 1.5 percentage points lower than it was in Round 1 against the Stars. They aren't playing all that badly.
Yes, Connor McDavid has been out-of-this-world good. Yes, top support wingers like Evander Kane and Zach Hyman have been opportunistic and made Calgary pay for nearly all of its mistakes. But horrendous goaltending from Jacob Markstrom has made things look much, much, worse than they are.
Markstrom has posted an .815 save percentage at five-on-five in this series. Among the 69 netminders to log at least 500 minutes at five-on-five during the regular season, only six finished below .900, and the low mark was .886.
Markstrom has struggled against the Oilers this season. Many players have. But as good as McDavid and Co. are, it's hard to believe he's now the worst goaltender in the league by a country mile.
The Flames netminder is a Vezina Trophy finalist and posted a .928 save percentage at five-on-five this season, good for sixth in the NHL. Perhaps bettors shouldn't expect that level of play moving forward. But it seems likely that 63 solid regular-season games are more indicative of Markstrom's ability than his three showings in this series.
Even if we assume Markstrom is the worst goaltender in the NHL, we should expect his save percentage to hover around .900 at five-on-five; he's going to start making saves at some point. With the Flames generating more chances than their opponents, the pendulum could swing when that happens.
There's no question Calgary is having a heck of a time slowing the Oilers' top line. Loading up that trio has thinned out Edmonton's lineup, though, and that's causing problems beneath the surface. The Oilers have controlled 33% of the shot attempts and 37% of the expected goals with the Hyman line on the ice in this series. That will be problematic when Edmonton stops shooting 20% with that line on the ice.
Expect the Flames to even the series Tuesday night.
Bet: Flames (+100)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.