Andrew Berkshire's picks for Saturday's NHL action include three goalscorer bets.
One of the most fun things about the beginning of the NHL season is that everything feels fresh. There’s no catching up to do, and sometimes surprising players start red-hot, like Brock Boeser and his league-leading four goals.
Who are some surprising names whose hot streaks we can hop on early? Let’s break it down.
Filip Forsberg anytime goalscorer vs Boston Bruins
Through two games so far this season, Forsberg has been pushing the needle to an extreme range with a whopping 24 shot attempts on under 42 minutes of ice time in all situations, leading the league in that category, along with a league-leading individual expected goals tally of 1.94.
Injuries threw off Forsberg a little last season, but the 29-year-old Swedish winger averages just under 32 goals per 82 games played in his career, and scored 42 in just 69 games two years ago. When he’s shooting this often, he’s going to find the net soon.
Matthew Tkachuk anytime goalscorer vs Winnipeg Jets
Tkachuk was held pointless in his first game of the year as the Florida Panthers were shutout by the Minnesota Wild, but the king of rats in the NHL still had himself a game. Fifteen shot attempts in 21.5 minutes of ice time is impressive enough, but 10 shots on goal? That’s absolutely incredible.
Those 10 shots on goal only carried 0.89 expected goals, which suggests that the quality of shots Tkachuk was taking wasn’t very high, but he’s a player who has consistently put up quality chances throughout his career, so I would expect him to make that adjustment very quickly. Because of his history of making things happen, the shot volume is still a very good sign to me.
Kirby Dach to score 1+ powerplay points vs Chicago Blackhawks
It’s no secret that the relationship between Dach and his former team in the Chicago Blackhawks was strained before he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens. Dach wasn’t living up to his status as a third overall pick, and the Hawks weren’t putting him in a position to succeed either. However, even with that, Dach wasn’t happy when Chicago gave up on him so early.
In Montreal, Dach has been on a steady incline of development and is now entrenched as the team’s No. 2 centre, playing strong two-way hockey and meshing with a plethora of teammates over the last year, making every line he plays on better. You best believe there’s money on the board for this game, but Dach isn’t the type to leave it up to others to get the job done. I expect him to be a big factor.
Connor McDavid to score 2+ points vs Vancouver Canucks
The first game of the season was an absolute disaster for the Edmonton Oilers, blown out 8-1 by a team that isn’t expected to make the playoffs, with Brock Boeser doing half the damage on his own. Defensively, the Oilers were a complete mess while trying to implement a new defensive scheme without the missing Mattias Ekholm.
Luckily for this year’s Stanley Cup favourites, they get to turn around and play the Canucks again right away, this time on home ice, and erase the memory of that start from their minds. McDavid is the leader, and he’s got to be the one to show the way.