NHL Betting Guide: Monday 4/26/21
After a quiet weekend of hockey, we are heading into overdrive this week. There are no less than seven games per night scheduled between now and Thursday, including an eight-game docket tonight. Take note of the early puck drop in Calgary, with the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens getting started at 6:30 pm ET.
Here are a few plays from our daily projections!
The Nashville Predators have powered themselves into a playoff position in the NHL Central Division thanks to a 7-4-1 stretch in April. But with the Dallas Stars nipping at their heels, every game matters as they enter the final stretch for the playoffs. First, the Preds will need to get past the Florida Panthers tonight in Nashville.
Nashville has been effective at five-on-five over their recent sample, outplaying their opponents in four of their last six games. They have out-chanced their opponents in high-danger chances in five of those six games and scoring chances in four of six. Defense remains the hallmark of the Predators' success as they have limited their opponents to eight or fewer high-danger chances in seven of their last eight games.
The Preds' team save percentage has been on an upwards trend since the middle of March, and that's held steady over their last four games. Juuse Saros has stopped 92.1% of shots over his last four starts, bringing the team save percentage on the season up to 90.9%.
Defense has been a staple of the Panthers' success this season, as well, and that's been on full display over their last six. Florida has limited their opponents to an average of 7.2 high-danger chances and 20.3 scoring chances across all strengths. Goaltending has been letting the Panthers down, though, as they have posted below-average save percentages in 7 of 10 and are stopping only 89.0% of shots during that span.
That dip in the Panthers' save percentage coincides with a boost in shooting percentage from the Preds, as they are scoring on 12.2% of their shots over the last three games.
There is a disconnect between the betting market and our projections, which implies a substantive edge in backing the Preds on home ice tonight. Taking Nashville to cover +1.5 is rated as a three-star play, and backing them to win outright is a two-star play.
Canadiens Moneyline (+118): 1-Star Rating out of 5
The Habs cannot afford to give up any more ground to the Flames in the NHL North Division playoff race. Montreal has dropped the first two games of a three-game set to the Flames and now sits only four points up on the Flames, although they have one game in hand.
When these teams met on Saturday, Montreal dictated play at five-on-five. The Habs out-chanced the Flames in scoring chances 18-12 and high-danger opportunities 6-5 while controlling possession with a 58.1% Corsi rating. Montreal was outscored 4-1 at five-on-five despite the dominant play.
The silver lining is that the Habs are trending back towards improved defensive play. Saturday's contest was the third time in five games. The Habs limited their opponents to six or fewer high-danger chances, and the fourth time, an opponent was limited to 21 or fewer scoring opportunities.
Calgary's offensive production is also on a downward trend, as they have attempted a cumulative 61 scoring chances and 28 high-danger attempts over their last three games. However, scoring is on the rise, as the Flames have scored eight goals at five-on-five over that span despite the limited production.
Calgary may have peaked last time out by scoring on 17.4% of their shots; the Flames have posted back-to-back games with above-average shooting percentages just once all season. On March 7 and March 11, they scored on 10.5% and 8.7% of their shots, respectively. It's a sad metric for what has been a down year for the Flames.
The Flames' advantage isn't as pronounced as the betting market implies. That leaves an edge in backing the Canadiens to win, rated as a one-star play, as per our projections.