NHL weekend betting preview: Sharks visit Sunshine State
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Let's keep the momentum going into the weekend after a week when we went 6-0 with in-game bets, 2-0 on in-game props, and 0-1 in player props - though if you backed Patrik Laine to score Tuesday against the Dallas Stars in Winnipeg instead of Thursday in Dallas, it was a clean sweep.

Christmas is right around the corner, so let's turn money into more money.

Game betting

Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers (Friday)

Don't look now, but the Rangers are really starting to find their groove. This is the second leg of back-to-back games for both teams, and the Canadiens haven't excelled in that situation lately, losing eight of their last nine.

The scenario here is different though. Carey Price was spared last night, with head coach Claude Julien opting to save him for this conference game. The Rangers, meanwhile, will be rolling with Henrik Lundqvist. They're 3-6 in Hank's last nine starts, compared to 6-2 in Alexandar Georgiev's last eight. That will be the difference on Friday, with the Habs winning as short road favorites.

Toronto Maple Leafs at St. Louis Blues (Saturday)

In one of the least shocking developments of the week, it seems firing Mike Babcock didn't magically solve all the Leafs' problems. There are systematic issues in Toronto's own end, and the Blues are exactly the sort of well-coached team that will take advantage. Back them to extend Toronto's skid on Saturday.

Colorado Avalanche at Boston Bruins (Saturday)

This could be a Stanley Cup Final preview at the Garden. The Avalanche head into Boston on a five-game winning streak, while the Bruins' eight-game winning streak was just snapped on Thursday.

Neither of these teams lack star power up front, but stout defensive play has been at the forefront of recent victories. Anticipate a tight game between a pair of disciplined clubs, and back the under in this spot at anything six or higher.

San Jose Sharks at Tampa Bay Lightning (Saturday)

After closing out November on an 11-2 run, the Sharks have begun this month with successive defeats.

The Lightning, meanwhile, desperately need a winning run right now to pull back into the thick of the playoff race. It feels like success will come eventually, but Tampa still hasn't shown enough to make us believe that's imminent. Yet the Lightning continue to be priced closer to the Stanley Cup favorites everyone thought they were than the playoff bubble team they've been thus far.

We'll likely get the Sharks at a very lucrative price here that you shouldn't pass up.

New York Islanders at Dallas Stars (Saturday)

Both of these teams have lofty ambitions this season and are certainly playing up to those standards. This matchup isn't quite Avalanche-Bruins, so let's call it Avs-Bruins lite.

The Stars have won 10 of their last 12 at home, while the Islanders are beginning to sputter on the road, losing four of their last five away from home following six consecutive victories. Home ice should be the difference here, so back the Stars in this game between a pair of heavyweights that still might not be getting the respect they deserve.

San Jose Sharks at Florida Panthers (Sunday)

Logic states there should be plenty of goals scored when these teams meet on Sunday night in Sunrise, but a closer look suggests that might not be the case.

The Sharks have allowed only 12 goals in their last six road games, while the Panthers' offense has been drying up a bit. Both backup goalies should start with these teams on the second half of back-to-back games too, which could also contribute to the under. Netminders Aaron Dell and Chris Driedger have been more effective than Martin Jones and Sergei Bobrovsky.

Florida is 2-0 to the under with Driedger in net, while three of the Sharks' last four games with Dell in goal have gone under. The under is the play here.

Game props

Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers (Friday)

The last seven meetings between the Kings and Oilers have gone over 1.5 goals in the first period, and that's the play again here. You can also play the over 2.5 goals at +240, which has hit in each of the last five clashes between these teams.

Seriously, there have been 21 first-period goals in the last five Kings-Oilers games. Keep riding this train until it hits the station.

San Jose Sharks at Tampa Bay Lightning (Saturday)

Let's stick with the first-period over here, too.

These teams possess plenty of firepower and should be able to put on quite the show Saturday night. The Sharks are 9-5 to the first-period over on the road this season and tend to hit it against the league's higher-scoring teams. Meanwhile, the opening-frame over has cashed in seven of the Lightning's last eight at home.

Player props

Los Angeles Kings at Calgary Flames (Saturday)

The latest installment of the Drew Doughty vs. Matthew Tkachuk rivalry graces the Saddledome on Saturday.

Tkachuk is a fiery enough player that he doesn't need added motivation, but he'll get it in spades here. He scored twice in the first contest between these two clubs in Calgary earlier this season, so let's back him to do that again in this spot for the Flames.

Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

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NHL weekend betting preview: Sharks visit Sunshine State
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