NHL weekend best bets: Islanders to best Predators
We have a quiet three-game slate Friday night before a Saturday full of action.
Let's take a look at a play that stands out on both days.
Predators (+130) @ Islanders (-150)
Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m. ET
Although the Nashville Predators stole a win in New Jersey on Thursday night, they didn't play all that well. At five-on-five, their expected goal share was just above 41%, marking the sixth time over the last nine games the opposing team has gotten the better of them in that regard.
Generally speaking, you need clinical finishing and/or high-end goaltending to help grind out wins when the opponent creates more opportunities. Getting either of those things will be a difficult task Friday against the New York Islanders.
The Predators will have to deal with Ilya Sorokin, one of the league's truly elite goaltenders. He owns a ridiculous .933 save percentage through 17 appearances and ranks first in the NHL in Goals Saved Above Expected (plus-16). He's shaving off nearly a goal more than expected per start.
On the flip side, the Predators played Juuse Saros a night ago and will turn to Kevin Lankinen in net. Lankinen has played pretty well early in this campaign but conceded 28 goals more than expected just a year ago. He will likely come back down to earth sooner than later and a date with an Islanders could help force the issue.
These are not Barry Trotz's Islanders: They play fast, have more freedom with the puck, and are much more dynamic in attack. That's why - despite nearly identical personnel - they are scoring 3.25 goals per game this season.
The Islanders are fresh, playing at home, and hold a big edge between the pipes. They should be able to get a result within 60 minutes.
Bet: Islanders in regulation (+100)
Hurricanes (TBD) @ Kings (TBD)
Dec. 3, 10:30 p.m. ET
There was a stretch this season where the Los Angeles Kings were one of the more dominant five-on-five teams in the NHL. But over the last 10 games, they have posted a 49% expected goal share (18th) and controlled only 46.74% of the high-danger chances (25th). Those are worrisome totals.
The Kings aren't like, say, Tampa Bay - they need to outplay the opposition to get results. The Lightning are playing very well right now, but they can generally put forth a mediocre effort and get a win more often than not. They simply have the firepower to convert on a high percentage of their looks (while getting stops at the other end).
Even with Kevin Fiala in the mix, the Kings are not going to capitalize on their chances at a high rate, and we know they're not getting saves.
Jonathan Quick has a sub-.900 save percentage on the season and has allowed more than six goals above expectation. His partner in crime, Cal Petersen, played so poorly that he was waived while carrying a $5-million annual salary.
Now the Kings draw a Carolina Hurricanes team that ranks fourth in controlling high-danger chances this season and is known for beating its opponents into the ground at five-on-five.
Although the Hurricanes are missing some good players, they should still have an edge over the Kings, and their goaltending should give them an advantage as well.
Bet: Hurricanes (projected line: -145)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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