NHL Monday best bets: Sea of red

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With seven games scheduled, we're in for an abnormally busy Monday night in the NHL.

Let's dive into the best ways to take advantage of this slate.

Blues (+120) @ Flames (-140)

The Calgary Flames are playing some of the best hockey you'll see from a team with three wins in 10 games. They rank ninth in the NHL in expected goal share at five-on-five, just ahead of the Colorado Avalanche.

Believe it or not, Calgary looks even better when factoring in special teams. Its xG share of 54.73% ranks seventh - again just ahead of Colorado.

The Flames consistently get better chances than their opponents - they just fail to convert. Meanwhile, seemingly every good look they give up in the defensive zone ends up in the back of the net.

Calgary ranks 28th in shooting percentage during this rough spell, sitting just below the likes of the Montreal Canadiens. Not great!

They've also had .882 goaltending from Jacob Markstrom and Daniel Vladar who, prior to this rough patch, were one of the league's better goaltending tandems.

This is all a long-winded way of saying the Flames are doing things that should lead to drastically better results than they're getting. Unless Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, and the team's top "non-stars" magically forgot how to produce offense and Markstrom has suddenly become a bottom-tier goaltender, we should expect the tide to turn sooner than later.

Monday marks a sneaky good spot for that to happen. The Blues are playing their third road game in four nights against a Flames team that's played once since Jan. 18.

St. Louis is quietly struggling to control the run of play at five-on-five (they sit 26th in xGF% over the last 10) and are fresh from allowing an extremely watered-down Vancouver Canucks team to win the xG battle 4.32-1.77.

I think it's fair to assume the Flames can dictate play in this one. Back them to rebound.

Bet: Flames inside regulation (+110)

Golden Knights (+115) @ Capitals (-135)

The Washington Capitals have been rather up and down of late - and understandably so.

On top of having key forwards like T.J. Oshie in and out of the lineup, the team's defense has also been battered. John Carlson was recently sidelined due to a bout with COVID-19 while Dmitry Orlov had to sit two games following a suspension. Those absences made Washington's life a whole lot tougher at both ends of the ice.

The good news is that Carlson and Orlov are expected back in this game, so the defense will be a lot more formidable. With last change also working in the team's favor, Washington can regularly get Alex Ovechkin and Co. out against Vegas' bottom-six forwards.

I like the Capitals' chances of taking advantage of Vegas' depth - especially since it's thinned out due to no Mark Stone, Jack Eichel, or (likely) Max Pacioretty.

Washington's weapons are also in a good spot against a struggling Robin Lehner. He owns a .886 save percentage at five-on-five since the beginning of December, slotting him 34th among 40 eligible netminders.

Bet: Capitals (-135)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

NHL Monday best bets: Sea of red
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