NHL picks: 4 best bets for Thursday
Andrew Berkshire picks out his four best bets for Thursday, including two anytime goalscorer props.
After a very light NHL schedule on Wednesday, we're treated to 12 games on Thursday. The NHL’s two worst teams from last season face off, the undefeated Dallas Stars roll into Toronto, and can the Canucks finally get their first win of the season against the similarly-winless Minnesota Wild? There are loads of questions facing teams early this season, and we’ll attempt to answer a few.
Cole Caufield (Montreal Canadiens) to score anytime vs Arizona Coyotes
One of the best goalscorers in the NHL since head coach Martin St. Louis took over last February, Caufield has been particularly deadly on home ice. So far, he and Nick Suzuki have been involved in seven of the Canadiens’ eight goals this season, so there’s a lot of pressure on the two of them to produce, and they haven’t disappointed.
Last year Caufield averaged 2.8 shots on goal per game, while this year he’s raised that to four per game. That’s the kind of shot volume improvement that could see Caufield join the league’s best goalscorers in the long-term.
Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs) to score anytime vs Dallas Stars
Four games into the season isn’t time to panic by any means, but Auston Matthews only scoring once is a bit of a shock.
Scoring on just 4.8 per cent of his shots so far this season is barely over a quarter of his career average. The fact is, Matthews is still hitting the net with his shots over five times per game so far this season, which is more than enough to get things going in for him in short order.
Minnesota Wild to beat Vancouver Canucks
These are two teams in similar situations, but one is much worse than the other. The Canucks just set an NHL record for the most games in a row to start a season where a team has blown a multi-goal lead and lost, with three, then added to it by doing it a fourth time against the winless Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Canucks haven’t just been playing well and getting bad goaltending either, they’re earning these losses with poor play top to bottom.
The Wild though, are another story. Minnesota has been decidedly mediocre this season, 12th in the league in expected goals at 51.26 per cent. The Wild have been struggling because Marc-Andre Fleury has been impossibly bad to start the season, with a save percentage of just 77.6 per cent.
Can he possibly be that bad again? Big advantage Minnesota.
Over 5.5 goals in Washington Capitals vs Ottawa Senators
Now that the goal scoring of the Ottawa Senators has been awakened, ripping seven through the Boston Bruins’ vaunted defensive structure, don’t be surprised if they do the same to the Washington Capitals.
Like the Bruins, the Capitals have plenty of firepower to keep up with a scoring run by the Senators, so this could be a very high-scoring affair.