NHL four-fold: Top midweek selections for a profitable coupon
The Maple Leafs - poised to strengthen their position in the playoff race - are among our best bets for Wednesday night's action...
Toronto Maple Leafs to beat Detroit Red Wings –
The Maple Leafs are - rather surprisingly - making a serious push for the playoffs this season.
They now have an excellent opportunity to pick up some valuable points when they travel to Detroit.
The Leafs are statistically far better on special teams and even-strength situations than the Red Wings.
Toronto are a top-five team in both power play and penalty kill percentage, categories in which Detroit rank bottom and around average, respectively.
The Leafs also generate more shots per game, and rank higher than the Red Wings in almost every advanced stat category.
Detroit’s serious injury problems will likely trouble them here, with forward Dylan Larkin and goaltender Jimmy Howard out of the line-up and top scorer Thomas Vanek doubtful to play.
New York Rangers to beat Philadelphia Flyers –
The Flyers – currently fighting for the last wild card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference – haven’t impressed anyone in recent weeks.
They have a record of 3-5-2 from their last 10 games, partly due to a leaky defence that has allowed 4.20 goals per game in their last five.
They face an opponent that is really dangerous on even-strength play.
The Rangers have scored 107 goals while playing 5v5, compared to the Philadelphia’s 78.
The Flyers are a weak road team with a record of 9-12-3 away from home.
That spells trouble here, considering the Rangers have won three games in a row.
Goalie Henrik Lundqvist has racked up a save percentage of 95.20 during that run, and has allowed just 1.32 goals per game.
Vancouver Canucks to beat Colorado Avalanche –
Colorado are enduring a disastrous season. The Avs have piled up just 28 points from 45 games, which makes them the worst team in the NHL.
For the Canucks, then, this should be a perfect opportunity to pick up some points on the road, considering the Avalanche’s home record is just 5-17-1.
Colorado have also allowed the most goals per game in the league and scored the fewest.
The Canucks’ numbers in these two stat categories aren’t great, but they are still much better than what the Avs are averaging.
Colorado will miss injured No. 1 goaltender Semyon Varlamov and veteran defenseman Erik Johnson, while Tyson Barrie and Rene Bourque are doubtful for this game.
The Canucks need to win games like this to remain in playoff contention. Expect them to do just that.
Edmonton Oilers to beat Anaheim Ducks –
This is a very interesting matchup between two teams that are almost certainly going to be playoff teams.
The Ducks and Oilers are both very capable of finishing top of the Pacific Division, and they boast identical records of 7-2-1 from their last 10 games.
But Anaheim haven’t impressed on home ice of late, while the Oilers – with a record of 13-7-5 – are one of the best road teams in the league.
Sure, the Ducks have won two out of their last three home games, but those were only achieved against the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche.
Anaheim scored just two goals in each of those games, and a two-goal game is unlikely to be enough to beat the Oilers, who have scored 3.20 goals per road game.
That’s a top-five number in the NHL, and it trumps the Ducks’ home average of 2.75.