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Pastrnak to pile up shots vs. Maple Leafs

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Six of the eight NHL playoff series begin this weekend. Let's waste no time getting to a handful of players worth targeting in their openers.

Brent Burns: Over 2.5 shots

Game 1 scheduled for 5 p.m. ET Saturday.

Burns is a volume shooter with a very strong history against the Islanders. He's gone over this number in nine of the past 12 versus New York, including five of the six head-to-head meetings in last year's playoffs.

The Islanders conceded a ton of shots to opposing defensemen this season. Only the Sharks, Ducks, and Blue Jackets - three of the league's worst teams - allowed more shots against the position on a nightly basis.

Although the Islanders improved in that regard under Patrick Roy, they're still susceptible to giving up shots. They rank 22nd in shot attempts against per minute since Roy took over.

The Islanders also have one of the worst penalty-killing units in the NHL. Burns quarterbacks the Hurricanes' top power play - and his shot is a key weapon - so he should have plenty of opportunities to shoot there as well.

Odds: +115 (playable to -115)

David Pastrnak: Over 4.5 shots

Game 1 scheduled for 8 p.m. ET Saturday.

Pastrnak's shot outputs fell off a cliff down the stretch. He averaged 3.9 shots on just 6.9 attempts over the last 10 games of the regular season. Those numbers would be good for many players, but they're nowhere close to what we're used to from Pastrnak. Even so, I trust him to shoot early and often against the Maple Leafs.

Pastrnak faced the Leafs four times in the regular season. He attempted at least 10 shots in each meeting, combining for 45 in total. That led to 24 shots on target, good for an average of six per night.

The Leafs aren't the stingiest of defensive teams and allowed a ton of volume to wingers down the stretch. The Blue Jackets were the only team to give up more shots to the position over the final 10 games.

Pastrnak also enters well-rested. He recorded at least five shots in 10 of his past 15 games when playing after three or more days off. He averaged 6.5 shots on goal per game under such circumstances this season.

Expect that trend to continue in the Bruins' series opener.

Odds: +120 (playable to -125)

Brayden Point: Over 2.5 shots

Game 1 scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday.

Point was a shooting machine down the stretch. He recorded three shots or more in eight of his last 10 games, over which time he faced four playoff teams.

Nikita Kucherov feeding Point while chasing 100 assists helped the cause, but playing with Anthony Duclair also played a big role.

Point's shot rates have skyrocketed since Duclair joined the Lightning and started playing on the top line. Point has averaged 10.64 shots on goal and 18.52 attempts per 60 minutes of five-on-five play with Duclair by his side. Those are by far the highest shooting rates he's managed of any regular Lightning player he's skated with.

Point's shooting floor and ceiling have clearly reached new heights.

What I also love is Point has a strong history against the Panthers. He has gone over this total in eight of the past 10 versus Florida, over which time he averaged 3.3 shots.

Odds: -125 (playable to -140)

Mika Zibanejad: Over 2.5 shots

Game 1 scheduled for 3 p.m. ET Sunday.

The Capitals aren't playing great defensive hockey heading into the playoffs - at least not on the road.

They allowed more than 69 shot attempts per 60 minutes over their final 10 road games, putting them in company with the Sharks and Canadiens in the basement of the league.

Conversely, the Rangers ranked fourth in shot generation over the final 10 home dates of the regular season. They have a lot of firepower and can completely overwhelm opponents when getting the matchups they want.

The Rangers should dominate the puck against the Capitals, peppering Charlie Lindgren early and often.

New York outshot Washington in each of the four regular-season meetings, and Zibanejad mustered up three shots or more every time.

Odds: -145 (playable to -160)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X at @ToddCordell.

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