NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 8/20/20

Sean Monahan leads the Flames in points this postseason. Calgary will have to find a way to score a few more if they hope to stave off elimination. Can they do it?

Three teams were eliminated on Wednesday which is severely impacting our access to daytime hockey. With only two games on tonight's docket, we have a play in each one.

Calgary Flames vs. Dallas Stars

Flames moneyline (+105): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The term "must-win" gets thrown around a lot these days. But that's exactly the case for the Calgary Flames ahead of Game 6 tonight against the Dallas Stars.

The Flames put together a more complete effort the last time out. For the first time this series, the Flames controlled possession metrics. By doing so, they limited the amount of chances against while increasing offensive production. The end result didn't go in their favor, but Flames fans should be comforted by the improved effort. Calgary has improved its offensive metrics over the last two games, and if that continues, Dallas might have more than they can handle.

Stars goalies have combined for an 89.4% save percentage since the NHL relaunched, including stopping 96.6% of shots in Game 5. I'm inclined to say that we've hit the high-end of that range, and Anton Khudobin's save percentage will come back down to average at some point. He hasn't been able to put together back-to-back above-average performances since the restart.

The other thing worth considering is this: Calgary has either won or lost by only one goal through the playoffs so far, meaning no team has covered this puckline against them this postseason. Dallas also hasn't won by more than one goal since February 25, 2020, which is a span of 14 games. The last time they covered against a Western Conference team was way back on January 9, 2020.

Our projections give the Flames a modest 50.9% chance of winning, which is in excess of the implied probability in the betting market. Taking the Flames to win at +105 is a one-star play. If you don't mind laying juice, Flames +1.5 is also listed as a one-star play.

Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders

Over 5.5 (+135): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

The New York Islanders continue to find ways to create chances this postseason. New York is averaging 27.8 scoring chances and 13.0 high-danger chances this series, but they have failed to score more than two goals in either of the last two games. That limited output has dropped the Isles shooting percentage to 10.8% this postseason.

Game 4 was the first time this postseason that the Washington Capitals scored more than two goals in a game. Their production and output metrics are both well off of their regular season averages. With the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and John Carlson, you'd have to think that it's just a matter of time before they get back into their offensive rhythm. They'll have to find a way to score more if they hope to force a Game 6 and beyond.

Take note: four of the six elimination games this round have gone over the total.

Metrics suggest that Washington and New York will progress offensively. This aligns with our algorithm, which projects tonight's contest as a high-scoring affair. Taking the over 5.5 is the biggest advantage in this game, and we rate it as a two-star play.