NHL picks: 4 best bets for Friday
Andrew Berkshire picks out his four best bets for a big NHL slate on Black Friday.
On Black Friday, while you’re shopping online, there’s an onslaught of NHL action where, if things go your way, maybe you can make up some of the cash you spent on crazy deals.
Unfortunately, this weekend of celebration in America won’t be felt as strongly across the border, where the largest city in Canada is in morning after the loss of Borje Salming, one of the first Europeans to play in the NHL post-expansion, and arguably the one who paved the way for all who followed. Salming suffered from ALS late in life, and thankfully had the opportunity to be honoured in Toronto just two weeks ago. Rest in peace to Borje, an icon of the sport.
Carolina Hurricanes to beat Boston Bruins
It’s Thanksgiving weekend in the USA, so let’s take some risks. After losing to the Florida Panthers, just their third loss in 20 games this season, the Boston Bruins will be looking to get right back into the win column, but they’re way overdue for a couple losses. As great as they are - and they are great - no team is 17-3-0 great.
Similarly, the Hurricanes are just 10-6-4, losing as often as they’ve won, but have controlled play at the exact same rate as the Bruins in all situations: 56.96 per cent. While the Bruins have have seen their actual goal differential tick along at a spectacular 64.3 per cent, the Hurricanes are at a lowly 49.1 per cent.
The Bruins are due for regression down, and Carolina is due for regression up.
Montreal Canadiens to beat Chicago Blackhawks
The Canadiens have not been playing well lately, but the Blackhawks haven’t either. Losers of five straight, the Blackhawks have had a devil of a time scoring goals this season with just 48 in 19 games, and they haven’t been nearly good enough defensively to compensate for that.
The Canadiens meanwhile, play a high-event game with plenty of risk, but have scored three goals per game so far this season, with their dynamic first line doing most of the damage.
Obviously, the Canadiens will need to avoid a Buffalo situation where a team on a losing streak is way more engaged than they are.
Toronto Maple Leafs to beat Minnesota Wild
Matt Murray picked the perfect time to come back from injury and play incredible hockey, because the Maple Leafs are missing basically all their top defencemen, but the team is putting up numbers in the win column anyway.
The Wild are no slouches, but for all the consternation about the Maple Leafs early this season, they’ve been dealing with constant injuries to important players, including one of their goaltenders being injured from game two onwards.
The Leafs still have the sixth-best points percentage in the league so far, and that’s with Auston Matthews playing underwhelming hockey.
Seattle Kraken to beat Vegas Golden Knights
While a lot of the press outside of Seattle has been focused on Shane Wright not playing games, or playing five minutes when he does, the Seattle Kraken have quietly put up the fifth-best points percentage in the league this year. And the craziest thing is the Kraken have been earning that record too, with the eighth-best expected goals ratio in all situations in the entire NHL.
Vegas remains a better team than the Kraken overall, but the Kraken seem to be running a bit hotter at the moment, and the difference the odds makers are giving the two teams are pretty crazy in this one.
This is great value on Seattle, who are 5-1-1 on the road.