Andrew Berkshire's picks for Thursday's action include wins for the Canadiens, Canucks and Penguins.
Nearly a full month into the 2023-24 NHL season, some of the streaks that started the season have come to an end, with the most obvious being the San Jose Sharks finally winning a game. Now 1-10-1, the Sharks can actually tie the Edmonton Oilers in points if they win tonight in regulation, which tells you how rough of a start this season has had for the supposed Stanley Cup contenders in Alberta. What’s the next hot or cold streak to end? Let’s get into it.
Montreal Canadiens to beat Detroit Red Wings 2.40
It’s been a rough ride lately for the Montreal Canadiens, who have started games terribly, lost four games in a row, and lost three straight to teams who played the previous night and should be less rested. However, those poor results hide that the Habs have been playing relatively decently, sitting around the middle of the league at 48.7 per cent expected goal ratio, and 13th in high danger chance differential at 5-vs-5 at 52.8 per cent.
The Red Wings meanwhile, have been considerably worse by both measures, meaning despite being on the road, the Canadiens actually have the advantage here, and a lot of their players are very due to start scoring, like Cole Caufield and Josh Anderson.
Josh Anderson over 2.5 shots on goal 2.30
After a brief period of really struggling in all aspects, Anderson started to get some great chances in his last outing, and continues to get top line powerplay time with plenty of minutes to get those chances.
If Anderson can continue to play hard, notching three shots against another team in the bottom half of the league should be easily achievable.
Vancouver Canucks money line & total goals over 7.5 4.50
The Ottawa Senators are playing their second game in two nights, and they’re facing a big challenge in the red-hot Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks are one of the highest scoring teams in the NHL so far, and the Senators have the tendency to score in bunches as well.
With Korpisalo playing last night for the Senators as well, it’s likely it will be Anton Forsberg in net for the Sens, and he has had an abysmal start to the season with 86.3 per cent save percentage. That all tilts things heavily for Vancouver.
Coming home from a wildly successful road trip where they won four straight, and winners of eight of their last 10 games, the LA Kings are riding high so far this season. The opposite has been true for the Penguins, who have had a horrible start to the year that has them sitting last in the Metropolitan Division so far, but what if that doesn’t tell the whole story?
The Penguins are actually right there with LA sitting in third in the NHL in expected goal differential at 5-vs-5 with a stellar 56.9 per cent to LA’s 56.7 per cent. The Kings have slightly better special teams, but overall the two teams are very close in inputs, just not in results. The first game home after a road trip is notoriously tough for the home team, so expect a very close result.