NHL Betting Guide: Tuesday 6/8/21

And just like that, the Montreal Canadiens are off to the league semifinals. The Habs swept the Winnipeg Jets out of the second round and await the winner of the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche. The Carolina Hurricanes are on elimination watch tonight as they face a must-win game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Here are a couple of plays from our daily projections.

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Carolina Hurricanes vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Hurricanes moneyline (+108): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

The Canes-Bolts series shifts back to Carolina for Game 5, which is a huge advantage for the Hurricanes.

Carolina has outplayed their opponents at five-on-five and across all strengths in all five home games this postseason. The Canes have a dangerous combination of offensive ability and defensive structure that makes them tough to beat on home ice.

Opponents have been limited to 10 or fewer high-danger chances and 24 or fewer scoring opportunities across all strengths. Carolina allows an average of 7.6 high-danger chances and 18.6 scoring opportunities per game this postseason while attempting an average of 11.6 and 27.6 chances, respectively. That has contributed to the best expected goals-for percentage across all strengths on home ice in the playoffs.

The first two home games against the Lightning ended in a loss for the Hurricanes despite the Canes' dominance, and that has to do largely with Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy stopped 68 of 70 shots in Games 1 and 2, helping the Lightning to 2-1 victories in each game. In doing so, he brought his playoff road save percentage up to 94.4% and Tampa Bay's playoff PDO up to 1.048 -- a sign that correction is coming.

Those regression concerns are amplified by Tampa Bay's game scores this postseason. The Bolts have been outplayed at five-on-five in 6 of 10 games this postseason, including in four of five road games. Tampa has won four road games in these playoffs despite getting outplayed in nearly every game.

The Canes are priced as underdogs but have been the better team, particularly on home ice. Based on our projections, they should be favored in tonight's contest. It's on that basis that the Canes moneyline is rated as a two-star play.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Vegas Golden Knights

Under 5.5 (-122): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The Avs will be happy that they return home for Game 5 after getting severely outplayed in Vegas over the last two contests. Colorado posted a cumulative expected goals-for percentage of 26.4% at five-on-five in Games 3 and 4, dropping both decisions and heading back to Denver with the series tied 2-2.

Colorado was out-matched offensively, getting out-chanced in high-danger chances 32-9 and in scoring chances 66-31. However, they are now back at home, where they have been much more successful this season. They've held opponents to an average of 6.8 high-danger chances and 17.0 scoring chances. They will have to rely on that defensive effort to limit a strong Golden Knights attack.

Outside of special teams production, the Avs haven't been efficient offensively over the last three games. Colorado hasn't attempted more than 18 scoring chances and are averaging just 16.3 per game. Similarly, high-danger opportunities are at a premium, with the Avs averaging 6.7 opportunities at five-on-five over their last three outings. This has directly impacted output, as the Avalanche have just three goals at five-on-five over their last three games.

Home ice has been kind to the Avs, and their best chance at winning comes by limiting the Knights' offensive attack, as Colorado's offense continues to be held at bay. That should lead to a low-scoring game. That aligns with our projections, which rate the under as a one-star play.