The second weekend of the NHL season is here, and already there is a lot of drama in the league. Key players have been injured, some teams are performing well above and below expectations, and it’s clear that the league has taken a turn when it comes to offensive play. All of this adds up to some great weekend games and some excellent opportunities for betting purposes. Here are a few games we want to highlight:
Vegas Golden Knights at Philadelphia Flyers ( Philly -1.5, Total 6.0)
It has been a pretty tough start to the season for fans of the Golden Knights. After a dream inaugural season that saw the expansion franchise make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, there seems to have been some regression in the early part of the season. There were some personnel changes during the off-season, but the core of the team is intact, so one has to wonder if this is just a natural correction or something more. The Flyers continue to be plagued by goaltending woes, which is too bad for a team that is stacked up front with the likes of Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. There are no “must win” games 6 games into the 82 game regular season, but this feels close to it for the Golden Knights.
OUR PICK – Take the over 6 goals.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Montreal Canadiens (Pitt -1.5, total 6.0)
Well, it’s rare to have a chance at revenge this early in a season, but this is exactly what the Penguins get when they travel to Montreal for a Saturday night tilt against the Canadiens. The Penguins looked particularly ordinary in a 5-1 loss to the Habs in the first week of the season, but they seem to have found their scoring prowess. Unfortunately, their top goalie Matt Murray is sidelined with his second concussion in 9 months, which may factor into the game.
Montreal is coming off a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, and while the team is playing very hard, they will be hard-pressed to match up with the firepower of the Penguins. Carey Price looked fantastic in the last game against Pittsburgh but has a tall task in front of him to keep his team in the game.
OUR PICK – Take Pittsburgh -1.5
Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals (Washington -1.5, total 7.0)
A battle between two early heavyweights in the Eastern Conference, this game is shaping up to be the best game of the weekend. The Maple Leafs have been on fire offensively in their first few games, with the addition of John Tavares paying off huge dividends. Auston Matthews is the true beneficiary of teams having to defend two top centers, scoring 9 goals in Toronto’s first 5 games.
The Capitals have had no Stanley Cup Hangover, getting off to a great start themselves. The Caps are also putting lots of pucks in the net, which is evident in the total for this gaming being a rare 7 goals. Neither team is likely to dial things back in what should be a spirited affair.
OUR PICK – Take the Leafs +1.5 and the Over 7.0
Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning ( TB -1.5, total 6.0)
While all the hype is around the hot start of the Leafs and the Caps, these two teams are just as likely to emerge from the Eastern Conference. Columbus is off to a 3-1 start, and while they don’t boast one of the league’s top names, their depth both on offense and defense will keep them in the picture in the Metropolitan division.
The Lightning has been at the mercy of the NHL schedulers, having only played two games so far. However, that doesn’t change the fact that this is a team that many experts pick to make it all the way to the Cup Final this year. After watching all the other teams play several games, the Lightning should be more than excited to hit the ice in this matchup.
OUR PICK – Take the under 6.0 and TB -1.5