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Stanley Cup Playoffs betting: How to bet Friday's Game 6 showdowns

Derek Cain / Getty Images Sport / Getty

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We've got one Game 7 on the books for this weekend, as the Maple Leafs found a rare playoff win at Scotiabank Arena to send their series back to Boston. Two more home teams have the chance to do the same on Friday.

Game 6: Canucks (+110) @ Predators (-130)

The Canucks' goaltending expectations have changed since the series began, going from "maybe our star netminder can steal us a game" to "just don't lose it for us."

In Game 2, Predators netminder Juuse Saros' goals saved above expected (GSAx) was an impressive 2.18. Second to that effort is Thatcher Demko's +0.8 GSAx in Game 1. Both of these performances prove that goaltending is not the reason that three of the five games in this series went under the goal total.

A quick glance at the scoresheet may make fans lament Vancouver's lack of shots on goal, but its low totals aren't due to limited attempts. The Preds are blocking shots and forcing the Canucks into various alternative strategies - and slap passes and backdoor attempts are failing. Vancouver has 10.07 expected goals at even strength but has only tallied seven in actuality. Given Saros's series-long 0.37 GSAx, those absent three goals aren't due to goaltending.

Meanwhile, Nashville has been offensively impotent, creating only 31 even-strength high-danger chances (HDC) in five games and two goals on 19 power plays. The Predators' defensive nature and the Canucks' failure to convert their HDC (2-of-46) have kept this series alive, even though Vancouver's replacements for Demko - Casey DeSmith (0.31 GSAx) and Arturs Silovs (-0.26 GSAx) - have merely kept things afloat.

Late three-tally explosions in Games 1 and 4 pushed the contests over their goal totals. This series should remain a low-event one, as the netminders only need to perform satisfactorily for Game 6 to stay under the total.

Pick: Under 5.5 (-115)

Game 6: Stars (-115) @ Golden Knights (-105)

With only 21 power plays through five games, this series is being played at five-on-five by two of the NHL's most disciplined teams.

After a catastrophic opening game (-2.2 GSAx) of the Stars' playoffs, Jake Oettinger battled back to push his GSAx back to average through the series, proving why Dallas was the best road team in the regular season. More importantly, the netminder shut off the Golden Knights' attack with no goals allowed in any third period.

Strangely, Vegas benched Logan Thompson (6.99 GSAx) - so far the top goaltender in the playoffs - in Game 5. Adin Hill was OK, but the Stars continued to outchance the Knights at even strength. The change in the crease screams of desperation from a coach looking to find a spark somewhere - which backfired.

1 11 6
2 12 9
3 23 4
4 12 10
5 7 5
Total 65 34

The market opened with the Stars as a plus-money underdog before Game 3 and was bet to -110. Their moneyline opened at -115 before Game 4 and closed at -120. With three straight wins and no further adjustment to the price to back them, the Stars are again the side to back in Game 6.

Pick: Stars moneyline (-115)

Matt Russell is the lead betting analyst for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on social media @mrussauthentic.

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