NHL Betting Guide: Saturday 6/5/21

We have two early games on the NHL Playoffs on the Saturday schedule! The Carolina Hurricanes will try to even their series at two games apiece against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the afternoon contest. Then the Boston Bruins will hope to put the New York Islanders in a 3-1 stranglehold in the evening contest. We have plays in both games in today's NHL Betting Guide.

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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Hurricanes moneyline (+140): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The Canes survived an onslaught in Game 3 against the Bolts and came out on top thanks to an overtime winner from Jordan Staal. That was the first time this postseason that the Hurricanes were outplayed at five-on-five. We're expecting a bounce-back effort from the Canes tonight as they get their metrics back in order.

Carolina's defensive lapses were the difference in Game 3. The Canes gave up 15 high-danger chances and 38 scoring opportunities at five-on-five, which easily surpassed their production metrics of 10 and 28, respectively. Those chances against were well above the postseason averages of 22.8 scoring chances and 8.3 high-danger chances they came into Game 3 with. It was also the first time this postseason that Carolina was out-possessed. Expect a sturdier defensive effort from the Hurricanes in Game 4 as they get their relative metrics back into positive territory.

The same progression/regression principles apply to the Lightning, although we should see them fall back after overachieving in Game 3. That was just the third time in the last nine games that the Bolts have outplayed their opponent at five-on-five and just the second time across all strengths.

Tampa inflated their metrics well beyond normal ranges in that game. Prior to Game 3, the Lightning were operating in a range of six to 12 high-danger chances and 14 to 25 scoring chances per game, with averages of 7.6 and 18.1, respectively. The Lightning boosted their production metrics beyond sustainable levels and are due for regression.

According to our projections, the betting market has overreacted to Tampa Bay's chances in this afternoon's game. That leaves an edge in backing the Hurricanes to win, which we rate as a one-star play.

New York Islanders vs. Boston Bruins

Islanders moneyline (+126): 1-Star Rating Out of 5
Under 5.5 (-178): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The Islanders are hoping that another inspired effort will help them avoid the kiss of death of falling down 3-1 in their series against the Bruins. New York's recent game scores indicate that they've been the better team, but they are still facing a series deficit.

Game 3 was the second straight game that the Islanders outplayed the Bruins across all strengths, albeit was the slimmest of margins with an expected goals-for percentage of 50.3%. Still, they out-chanced the B's in high-danger chances in each of the last two games, outscoring them 3-1 in high-danger goals but dropping a close 2-1 overtime decision at home.

Tuukka Rask had a monster game, stopping 96.6% of shots, which was his second-highest single-game save percentage of the playoffs -- well above his career save percentage of 92.7% in the postseason. The key to beating Rask is getting chances in close. Five of the last eight goals he's allowed have come from high-danger areas, with Rask stopping 85.3% of high-danger shots faced.

That could be a good sign for the Islanders, who have attempted 25 high-danger chances over their last two games and are averaging 13.5 high-danger chances per game (13.3 per 60 minutes).

We've also seen tight-checking games from the Bruins on the road this postseason. In the split, Boston has limited their opponents to 7.5 high-danger chances per game at five-on-five, with three of the four games getting sorted out in overtime. That's a brand of hockey that the Islanders are familiar with as they have limited their opponents to 8.5 high-danger chances at home this postseason.

We're expecting another close game in New York tonight, although the edge lies in backing the home team. The Islanders moneyline and under 5.5 are both rated as one-star bets, per our projections.