Our hockey expert has picked out four teams to back on the moneyline in the NHL on Saturday.
Check out the Betway Insider’s NHL predictions page for best bets throughout the 2020-21 NHL season.
Calgary Flames to beat Ottawa Senators
With wins in five of their last seven games, including a 6-1 drubbing of Calgary on Wednesday night, the Senators are not looking like much of a doormat anymore.
They did, however, happen to catch the Flames on the second half of a back-to-back with no choice but to use David Rittich in both contests. Ottawa took full advantage, but they might be on a more level playing field this time around.
Rittich is likely to go again as Flames starter Jacob Markstrom remains on injured reserve and will be unavailable. While the Czech netminder has not been sharp game-to-game this year, he’s had enough good starts to show he can put his team into position to win.
After being embarrassed on Wednesday, you’d have to think Calgary is going to have some serious pushback in this afternoon contest. They’re going to need it, too, because the Flames are on some kind of backslide at the moment.
With losses in six of their last eight, they’re rapidly losing ground in what is likely to be a crowded race for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division. Ottawa’s been in good shape, but winning-four-straight good? Not so much.
Philadelphia Flyers to beat Buffalo Sabres
With Jack Eichel likely out of the lineup for Buffalo, the Flyers look like a pretty good team to pair in a parlay.
The Sabres did have an early-season win over Philadelphia, but it doesn’t help their cause that the Flyers are starting to get players back from the COVID-19 protocol list. They looked like a refreshed team in a tight 4-3 win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
With back-to-back games in Buffalo, I like the Flyers’ chances better on the front-end of this one. They’ve been maddeningly inconsistent this year, but with so many players coming back into the lineup – some of whom are better rested from quarantining – the recipe for success is there.
Toronto Maple Leafs to beat Edmonton Oilers
With Auston Matthews’ status for the game unclear, this is a much riskier play now. Matthews is having an MVP-caliber season and has been scoring goals practically at will. If he’s in the lineup, I still like the Leafs to take this one.
It’s not going to be without a fight, though. The Oilers have won five straight games, albeit against the struggling Flames and Canucks. The added motivation of chasing Toronto for first place in the division has to be an opportunity that stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl will relish.
The same goes for Edmonton starting goalie Mike Smith, who owns a sparkling .944 save percentage through seven games played. He hasn’t seen a team that can score like Toronto, though.
Again, it’s different if Matthews isn’t in there, but Toronto still has players like Mitch Marner and John Tavares who can do enough to challenge Edmonton’s relatively shallow defense.
Meanwhile, it looks like Toronto will get backup Jack Campbell back from injury and into the lineup Saturday. He looked really good before being injured, picking up two wins with a .923 save percentage on 48 saves over the two contests.
The margin in this battle of top North Division teams is razor thin, but if Matthews is in, I like the Leafs. I’m a little less inclined to make a play on this one if he’s out.
Winnipeg Jets to beat Montreal Canadiens
After getting off to a really nice start in interim head coach Dominique Ducharme’s debut, the Habs crumbled in a 6-3 loss to the Jets on Thursday. Depth goes a long way and Winnipeg has the advantage in that department with simply more scoring weapons at their disposal.
Additionally, the Habs have a bit of a goaltending controversy brewing. It will always be Carey Price’s net, but the veteran goaltender has simply not been good this year. His .888 save percentage over 12 games does not seem real, especially not considering backup Jake Allen has posted a .932 mark in seven starts. It looks like Allen is going to get the nod on Saturday night, too.
In Price’s defense, Allen has not gotten a lot of high-leverage starts, though he has gone head-to-head with Edmonton twice. So that definitely helps the numbers. This game against Winnipeg, however, is definitely an important one. Montreal’s grip on the fourth spot in the North Division is loosening and Winnipeg has a chance to pull further ahead with another big win.
From Mark Scheifele, who has quietly pulled himself up among the NHL scoring leaders with 28 points, to Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor among many others, the Jets just have a bit too much firepower for the Habs to slow down as they remain mired in a backslide.
Philadelphia, Winnipeg and Toronto all to win
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