Andrew Berkshire's picks for Thursday's action include three anytime goalscorer bets.
We’re past the NHL’s Frozen Frenzy, which was a smashing success with 16 games featuring 103 goals and almost all of the NHL’s stars were in action. Tonight isn’t as crazy, but 11 games on the schedule means there’s still tons of action to dig into, so what are the most fun bets on Thursday evening? Let’s check it out.
Cole Caufield to score anytime vs Columbus Blue Jackets 2.20
It’s been a couple of games since the young scoring phenom has lit the lamp, held off the scoresheet against both the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils while only managing three shots on net in those games combined.
With injuries continuing to mount for the Canadiens, more and more pressure falls on the top duo of Caufield and Nick Suzuki to produce offence, and against a team that’s far weaker than the Devils or Sabres, expect Caufield to get a lot of opportunities to score in this one.
Jake Guentzel to score anytime vs Colorado Avalanche 2.40
How long can Guentzel continue to get great chances and struggle to finish? Over the last five seasons Guentzel has averaged over 39 goals per 82 games played, and so far this season he has piled up 3.44 expected goals, but only one has gone in.
Sitting at 17th in the NHL in expected goals, Guentzel has been doing everything necessary to put pucks in the net, and actually is over a point per game because of his playmaking ability, but eventually he’s going to get rewarded in the goal column too. He’s against a tough, tough team tonight, but that might bring out the best in him.
Pittsburgh Penguins to beat Colorado Avalanche 2.10
Do I have too much faith in the Penguins? Maybe, but let’s talk about their horrid-looking start to the season. With a dismal 2-4-0 record, the Penguins have been outscored 15-14 at even strength, but have controlled nearly 54 per cent of shot attempts, 54.3 per cent of expected goals, and 55 per cent of high danger chances. These average out to about sixth-best in the NHL.
On special teams, that drops a bit, but the Penguins remain around eighth-best overall team by these measures. Both in shooting percentage and save percentage, things have not been going well though, and the Colorado Avalanche are about second-best overall by all these measures, so this is a very tough matchup. However, sometimes you have to face the best to bring your best, and I have a hunch that the Penguins get things going tonight against the undefeated Avalanche.
Through seven games this season Nazem Kadri has had a bit of a nightmare start. With just one point, a primary assist, Kadri has been a poster boy for the Flames’ less than remarkable start to the season.
However, it’s not like Kadri isn’t playing well, at least offensively. He has 22 shots so far, and has accumulated 3.4 expected goals on those shots, ranking as the 18th-most expected goals in the league so far. Against the St. Louis Blues, who have received quality goaltending so far, don’t be surprised if Kadri finds a way to put one behind Jordan Binnington tonight.