Check out the Betway Insider’s NHL predictions page for best bets throughout the 2020-21 NHL season.
Toronto Maple Leafs to beat Vancouver Canucks
Thatcher Demko had to be brilliant between the pipes for the Canucks to outlast the high-flying Maple Leafs, and he was. The young goaltender has proven he is the team’s No. 1 for most of the season. If Vancouver decides to give him the start on Saturday, he’s going to need to be even better because the Maple Leafs have often responded in a significant way after losses this season.
Toronto has only lost back-to-back games twice and that was against two different opponents. The Leafs have not been swept in a single series yet this season as they continue running roughshod over the North Division. I don’t think the Canucks are playing at a level that would suggest they can be the first team to reverse that trend.
On top of the Leafs bouncing back so well, Auston Matthews – though nursing an injury – has not scored in his last four games for his longest goal drought of the season. With five goals over four previous contests against Vancouver, he seems like a good bet to score a goal or two if healthy.
Montreal Canadiens to beat Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg has won all three prior meetings between the two clubs, but the last two games required overtime to be decided.
Montreal now has about a week under their belts with Dominique Ducharme as head coach, and the Habs also recently fired their goaltending coach to try and get Carey Price right. The pressure to get better results has to be weighing on this team.
With the Jets facing a couple of off days after this game, they could get caught looking ahead to Toronto, with whom they’ll have a crucial three-game set. If ever there was a time for Montreal to take advantage of a team that’s better than they are, this could be it.
Sometimes you’ve just got to play a hunch and that’s basically what this one is. The Jets are the better team, but Montreal is starting to show some more bite and they’ve got to find a way to turn their season around.
Colorado Avalanche to beat Anaheim Ducks
Friday night’s game between the two clubs was an electric one, with the Ducks going up 2-0 before the Avs roared back and eventually won the game in overtime. Anaheim has not been able to finish at all this season. They’ve had a number of losses like that, often squandering great goaltending from John Gibson.
With this being the second game in a back-to-back, you’d have to think the Ducks will start Ryan Miller tomorrow, and the seasoned veteran has been up and down over five appearances this season. Meanwhile, the Avs will likely be without star center Nathan MacKinnon, who was ruled out for Friday’s game with an upper-body injury, and they’re already missing Cale Makar. It’s not ideal, but as they showed Friday, Colorado has impressive depth and got big contributions from their secondary scorers.
With Colorado on home ice and the Ducks likely having to put their backup in, the Avs just might be too much for the Ducks – with or without MacKinnon.
Calgary Flames to beat Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers are still licking their wounds from a sweep at the hands of Toronto, but the Flames just received a big old wakeup call from management. Geoff Ward was fired last week and veteran head coach Darryl Sutter was brought in. With two Stanley Cups not too far in his rearview mirror, Sutter has been a turnaround artist in his career. This is a tall task on his hands, but this might be the Flames’ last chance to snap out of the funk they’ve been in of late.
Sutter is not what you would call a player’s coach, so my expectation is that the Flames players are going to come out flying to prove what they can do. Throw in the fact this is a rivalry game and the recipe exists for extra motivation for the Flames to overtake an Oilers team they’re chasing in the standings.
Edmonton has won two of three, including a 7-1 win at home late last month. The Battle of Alberta will be heated, but I expect a lot more of the heat to be coming from the Flames – no pun intended.
Toronto, Montreal and Calgary all to win
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