NHL Monday best bets: Can coaching change spark the Canucks?
We have a very fun six-game slate on the docket to open up the week. There's a nice mix of games featuring high-end teams and struggling sides with new bench bosses making their debuts.
Let's get into our best bets.
The Senators picked up consecutive wins over good teams but make no mistake: They have not played well. The Senators were outshot 80-55, controlled just 42% of the expected goals, and greatly benefited from their two opponents' injuries and rest situations.
The Hurricanes gave Frederik Andersen the night off and started Antti Raanta, who allowed three goals on 20 shots (.850 save percentage). Ottawa then squeezed out a 6-5 win over an Avalanche team playing without Nazem Kadri, Cale Makar, Bowen Byram, and Darcy Kuemper.
Hats off to the Senators for taking advantage of the opportunities put in front of them but, again, it's not like we're talking about decisive victories.
At five-on-five, the Devils should walk all over the Senators, who rank 31st in Corsi For rating over the last 10 games.
All of Ottawa's goaltenders - Filip Gustavsson, Anton Forsberg, and Matt Murray - have conceded more goals than expected this season. New Jersey will have the edge there with Mackenzie Blackwood between the pipes.
I like the Devils to get back on track at home. And I like them to do it within 60 minutes.
Bet: Devils in regulation (-120)
Vancouver has dropped 10 of its last 13 games and duly made sweeping changes.
While the Canucks are definitely flawed, I don't think they've played as poorly as the results suggest. They've controlled nearly 51% of the expected goals at five-on-five over the last 10 games. That's nothing to write home about, but it's not a number you'd expect to see from a team consistently losing games.
Their mind-numbingly bad penalty kill is a big reason for their struggles. But a lack of luck also factors into Vancouver only scoring 4% of its five-on-five shots over the last 10 games.
Call me crazy, but I don't think opposing goaltenders should be posting .960 save percentages over that stretch against any team, let alone one featuring weapons like Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, Conor Garland, J.T. Miller, and Bo Horvat up front. Perhaps the excitement from bringing in a marquee coach could provide the spark the Canucks need.
If not that, then Cal Petersen could be just what the doctor ordered. He was very impressive a season ago, but he's not playing well now; he owns a .896 save percentage through 10 appearances. He'll be playing behind a fatigued Kings team against a Canucks side that should have a little extra pep in their step.
Bet: Canucks (-130)
Bonus round: Anaheim Ducks +1.5 (-135). The Ducks play a lot of one-goal games. They are an above-average side at full strength. With the Capitals missing several regulars due to injuries and COVID-19, I like the Ducks' chances of hanging around in this game.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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