NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 5/5/22

Can Roman Josi and the Predators keep Game 2 with the Avalanche tighter than Game 1?

The NHL Playoffs continue on Thursday night with another four-game slate to look forward to. All four matchups will be playing the second game of their respective series, with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals looking to take commanding 2-0 series leads before heading home for the next two contests.

Here are the plays we're looking at from our daily projections!

Florida Panthers vs. Washington Capitals

Capitals (+220): 1-Star Rating Out of 5
Capitals +1.5 (-115): 3-Star Rating Out of 5

The Florida Panthers were outmatched in their series-opening loss to the Capitals. Florida posted a 44.2% expected goals-for rate on Tuesday night, getting out-shot and out-chanced on home ice. Things aren't looking up for the Panthers in Game 2.

The Capitals made a big change in net before the series started, electing to give Vitek Vanecek the starting goalie duties over struggling Ilya Samsonov. The move paid off big time in Game 1, with Vanecek stopping 30 of 32 shots en route to the victory.

Of course, Washington's stout defensive effort helped Vanecek's cause, with the team allowing just seven high-danger chances at five-on-five. The ongoing defensive structure will help Vanecek maintain his standard on Thursday night.

The Panthers are short on playoff experience, fielding a group of forwards short on postseason experience. That impacts their chance of success against the grizzled Capitals squad that has been through this process on several occasions.

According to our projections, the betting market has misplaced confidence in the Panthers tonight. The Capitals showed in Game 1 that they can neutralize the Panthers' attack and we should expect more of the same tonight. Betting the Caps to win is rated as a one-star play while taking them on the puckline is a three-star play.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Nashville Predators

Predators +1.5 (-115): 3-Star Rating Out of 5

It's easy to point to the 7-2 thrashing the Nashville Predators suffered at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 and suggest this series will be over before it even gets started. However, the underlying metrics support that the Preds were more competitive than the outcome implies. That's also reflected in our projections tonight, which give the Preds a substantive edge on the puckline.

Nashville matched wits with the Avs at five-on-five, equaling their nine high-danger chances at five-on-five while also limiting Colorado to 23 scoring chances. The Preds' undoing was their goaltending as David Rittich stopped only eight of 13 shots before getting pulled in favor of Connor Ingram. Ingram stepped up, posting a 93.8% save percentage over the final two-plus periods. Ingram gives the Preds the best chance of competing and should pick up where he left off tonight.

The Avs' seven goals were a substantial deviation from their already inflated output. Nashville plays a defense-first system, which was effective at corralling the Avs offense in Game 1. If they maintain that play, then Colorado can't be expected to duplicate their effort from Tuesday night.

The Predators may not be able to knock off the Avalanche at home, but they should at least be able to keep things close with improved goaltending and solid defensive structure. Backing them at +1.5 is rated as a one-star play, per our projections.