Check out the Betway Insider's NHL picks and predictions page for best bets throughout the 2021-22 NHL season.

Kings to beat Canadiens

This is a tough game to pick with both teams struggling so far this season. The Kings still have some firepower up front, while the Canadiens have really struggled to score. However, Montreal is coming off of an impressive 4-0 win over the San Jose Sharks during which Jake Allen made the second-most saves in a shutout in Montreal history with 45 stops. Maybe that’s the spark the Habs needed.

Montreal has now won two of their last three and will close out this western road trip with back-to-back games in LA and Anaheim. As I write this, we don’t know which of Montreal’s goaltenders will get the Kings and which will get the Ducks, but if it’s Allen, I feel a little more confident in their chances to win the front end of this back-to-back.

Los Angeles is dealing with their own injury issues, most notably with Drew Doughty sidelined long-term. They’ve also lost their last six games, including Thursday night against the Jets on a pair of third-period goals. That said, I think the Habs do offer Los Angeles their best chance to get out of the funk they’ve been in.

The Kings have been in most of the games they’ve played in, with four of their six games being decided by one goal. They’re 1-2-0 at home so far this season. While their record is not good, the Kings have actually had some decent results in their underlying numbers with above-average possession and expected-goal metrics, while the Habs have been below average in both. With the Kings being at home, I give them the slightest edge to come out ahead in this battle of two teams still trying to find their way.

Maple Leafs to beat Red Wings

The Red Wings being above .500 at any point this season is notable. I’m not sure many would have predicted them to have the start that they’ve had. But this weekend offers an awfully tough pair of games in a back-to-back as Detroit plays Florida Friday night and has to come back to take on the Maple Leafs on the road Saturday.

This sets up well for the Maple Leafs, who have absolutely underperformed to start this season at 3-4-1. Toronto will have two days off between games and are coming off of a come-from-behind win in Chicago. At some point, you have to figure the Maple Leafs are going to right the ship. That has to start with Mitch Marner, who has just two assists through eight games and simply does not look like himself. Auston Matthews has been relatively quiet through five games as well with just one goal. Historically, Matthews has torched Detroit with 12 goals in 14 games against their Atlantic Division foes.

With the Maple Leafs on rest and Detroit playing the second half of a back-to-back on the road, it’s hard to pick against Toronto in this one, even though the Leafs have struggled.

Oilers to beat Canucks

The Oilers are coming off of their first loss of the season, but have two days off before traveling to Vancouver for Saturday night’s game. The Canucks, meanwhile, are about to play their third game in five days having lost the previous two on home ice. This will be the second meeting between these two clubs since opening night when Edmonton beat Vancouver in a shootout.

The Canucks have not found much consistency in the early goings of the season, while Edmonton has been a force in every game they’ve played, including the 5-3 loss to Philly. Vancouver also played the Flyers tough, losing 2-1, but now they’ve got a much different team to try to contain in the Oilers.

Connor McDavid has multiple points in every game so far, with 15 points through six contests. On top of that, there is no team McDavid has more points against in his career than the Canucks. He’s found the scoresheet 51 times in 32 career games against Vancouver with 16 goals and 35 assists. The Canucks, like much of the rest of the league, has not figured McDavid out and hasn’t really come close to doing so.

There’s a pretty wide gap between these two teams and unless Thatcher Demko has a stellar performance, which is certainly possible, I’d even consider a puck-line play for the Oilers in this one.

Flames to beat Flyers

The Flyers have looked really good during their Western Canada road trip, but the Flames are returning home after a perfect five-game road trip out east where they won all five contests and managed to score at least three goals in every game. Calgary’s offense is on fire right now.

The Flames did lose their only other home game this season, but their scoring attack has been remarkable. Led by Elias Lindholm, Andre Mangiapane and Johnny Gaudreau, teams have not had the easiest time containing this group. Throw in the secondary scoring they’re getting from players like Dillon Dube and Blake Coleman, and the matchups are getting tougher. It takes the pressure off of a Calgary defense that has a different look than it did a year ago.

The Flyers, however, have been very good this season as well. Their scoring attack, while not quite as potent as Calgary’s at the moment, has been very reliable. They just won back-to-back games at the start of this little road swing and can complete it with one more victory in Calgary. Plus, Carter Hart appears to be rounding back into form with a .915 save percentage through his first four starts, including an impressive one in Philly’s win over Edmonton earlier in the week.

With both teams playing well, this should be a tight contest. I’m giving the edge to the home team, especially if Jacob Markstrom is in the net because Calgary’s starter has been lights out so far this season. He has a .952 save percentage through five starts. Look for him to be the difference in a game with two potent scoring attacks.

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