Andrew Berkshire's picks for Tuesday's action include a win for the Sabres and two anytime goalscorer bets.
The last week of NHL action has seen some dramatic shifts for several teams, but the biggest story out there is the first coaching change of the NHL season, (Mike Babcock was before the season so he doesn’t count) with Jay Woodcroft losing his job with the Edmonton Oilers and being replaced by Kris Knoblauch. Despite the fact that Woodcroft clearly wasn’t the one at fault, how will this change the immediate results for the Oilers? Can any other team use that new coach bump?
Buffalo Sabres to beat Boston Bruins 2.30
The Boston Bruins are a great team, but have wildly out-performed their on-ice play so far this season. After riding the percentages all last season only to flame out in the first round, by now people should realize that this team is still made up of humans and not hockey playing automatons.
Boston remain a very strong team, 11th in the league in expected goals for percentage at 52.2 per cent over their last 10 games, while Buffalo have had a seriously disappointing start this season at 29th over the same span. Even good teams disappoint from time to time. The Sabres’ unique mix of full tilt offense and chaotic energy might be a wrench in the works for Boston, and I think it’s worth a few bucks of risk.
Sidney Crosby 1+ point vs Columbus Blue Jackets 1.40
It seems like every year we see stories of this being the year that Crosby takes a significant dip, yet he still shows up and makes things happen for the Penguins like the elite player he is. At 36-years-old, he’s already accumulated 15 points in 13 games, but did you know he’s currently riding an eight-game point streak?
I guess we’re just bored of Crosby’s dominance, because even bigger than the eight game point streak, Crosby has only been held off the scoreboard once in his 13 games this season. A remarkable level of consistency that most players can only dream of, and he’s doing this in the twilight of his career. Did I mention he’s also 3rd in the NHL in individual expected goals with 8.23 according to Evolving-Hockey.com? What a special player.
Sean Monahan to score a goal anytime vs Calgary Flames 3.40
After playing through a broken foot last year to face his former team, you can tell this means a lot to Sean Monahan, who played for the Calgary Flames from the ages of 19 through 27. The Flames have been a big part of his life. His high level of play this year after rehabbing continuous tough injuries over the last several years remains impressive.
While Monahan has been excellent for the Canadiens this season, with 11 points in his last 12 games, he’s actually on a five-game goalless drought. That isn’t a criticism, he’s had opportunities and contributed in other ways, but you know he’d like to get one against his old team.
Josh Anderson to score a goal anytime vs Calgary Flames 3.50
Possibly the unluckiest shooter in the league this season, Anderson has strung together multiple strong games in a row, including 14 shots on goal over the last four games, with still nothing to show for it.
With 5.97 expected goals this season, Anderson is the only player of 90 so far this season who has accumulated over 4.55 expected goals and not found net. Against a team that can struggle with speed in the Flames, he has an opportunity here to finally light the lamp.