It was a nice night off for me yesterday, with the Stars tying up their series and my main leans of the over in the Devils/Canes game and the Stars ML both hitting, a good sign to get out of my NHL slump. Tonight we should have two great Game 4s with the Leafs trying to avoid getting swept by the Panthers and Vegas looking to take a 3-1 series lead on the road in Edmonton.
Game 4: Panthers vs. Maple Leafs (7:00)
The Panthers shocked the hockey world with their first-round win against the Bruins and they now find themselves in excellent shape to shock everyone again with a second-round win against the Leafs to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, with a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. Despite the Leafs being the better team through the first two games of this series at home, they couldn’t find a way to win and now find themselves on the brink of elimination on the road in Florida tonight, with Florida looking to complete the sweep. In Game 1 of the series, the Panthers surprised a lot of people, continuing the momentum of beating the Bruins, as they picked up a huge 4-2 win on the road. The Leafs outshot Florida 36-28 and outplayed them by an expected goal rate of 5.8-2.8, but with a huge performance in goal from Sergei Bobrovsky, they couldn’t get the win. Toronto didn’t adjust in Game 2, still trying to be too fancy, and lost 3-2 in Game 2 at home to get into a 2-0 hole going back to Florida. In Game 2, they scored twice in the first 5:10 of the game, blew that lead to go down 3-2 in the game just 1:06 into the second period and after not seeing any more goals from either team for the remainder of the game, it’s looking like Toronto’s going to need a miracle to find a way to win this series. They outshot the Panthers 37-29 and outplayed Florida by an expected goal rate of 4.12-2.89, yet still couldn’t win again. They were bad on the defensive blue line and just tried too much rather than simplifying their offensive play. In Game 3 as the series shifted to Florida, the Panthers put the Leafs on the brink of elimination with a 3-2 win on Sam Reinhart’s game-winner 3:02 into overtime, the first time that Toronto has lost three games in a row since October. They outshot Toronto 29-24 and outplayed the Leafs by an expected goal rate of 3.57-2.33. The core four for Toronto, Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and John Tavares have not scored even one goal in this series. Going into this series, I thought the Leafs had gotten the monkey off their back, getting out of the first round for the first time since 2004. But the Toronto curse seems to have followed them to the second round, as Florida has been the better team in this series. Although the Leafs were the better team in the first two games of the series, Florida still found a way to win both of those games and then the Panthers were the better team in Game 3 to take the commanding lead in this series. That’s not to discredit the Panthers at all, as they’ve played great on both ends of the ice. Sergei Bobrovsky has been incredible in goal and Florida’s defense has been a great job at limiting the scoring of the Leafs, holding Toronto’s core four scoreless through the first three games of the series. I see no way that the Maple Leafs find a way to get out of this series and I expect it to end with a Florida win at home tonight. There’s definitely value to the Panthers at even money as a home dog and I’ll take them for half a unit. Blow Leafs Blow. I would love to see them get swept tonight. I expected the games in this series to trend over, just like both teams trended over in the first round. The over went 6-1 in the Bruins/Panthers series and 4-2 in the Leafs/Bolts series. Game 1 of this series should have hit the over, with so many great opportunities for both teams, especially Toronto to score. Games 2 and 3 should have hit the over as well, both coming a tying goal short of a tied game (3+3=7…shoutout Mr. Ice). With this being an elimination game for Toronto, I expect there to be chaos in the third period, especially if Florida is up in the third period, which they’ve been in all three games of this series. That should help push this game over the total and finally hit in this series and I’ll take it for a unit.
Game 4: Oilers vs. Golden Knights (10:00)
This series has been so much fun. The Golden Knights have a 2-1 series lead with three games that have all been pretty lopsided. In Game 1 in the fortress on Wednesday night, Vegas got a huge 6-4 win to start off the series. The Knights outshot the Oilers 34-27 but for the game Edmonton slightly outplayed Vegas by an expected goal rate of 3.22-3.1. Vegas absolutely dominated 5 on 5 play, and although by the advanced statistics it was only by an expected goal rate of 2.11-1.64, they were the way better team. The Knights took all the momentum out of the Oilers offense, answering back from two of Edmonton’s goals within a minute. The Oilers got held without a shot for 12 minutes at one point, but they still scored four goals, despite their bottom 9 forwards only having just 12 combined shots all game with Leon Draisaitl scoring all four of Edmonton’s goals. In Game 2, the Oilers answered back in a huge way on Saturday night, winning 5-1 on the road in Vegas. They of course, were lead by none other than Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who each scored twice (along with an assist for McJesus). Edmonton outshot the Knights 36-31 and outplayed them by an expected goal rate of 4.38-3.07. On Monday night in Game 3 as the series shifted to Edmonton, the Golden Knights took back home ice advantage, dominating with a 5-1 victory on the road. Led by Jack Eichel (1 goal, 2 assists) and Jonathan Marchessault (2 goals), they were the far better team, outshooting the Oilers 33-28 and outplaying them by an expected goal rate of 3.61-2.29. Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, the two best players in the world right now were completely held off the score sheet. The Oilers scored 2:45 into the game to open the scoring and were shut out the remainder of the game. After losing starting goalie Laurent Brossoit to injury 11:44 into the game, Adin Hill came in and had a 24 save performance without giving up even a goal. I’d slightly lean that Vegas takes a commanding 3-1 lead in this series on the road in Edmonton, giving them that huge edge in five on five play and how disciplined this team is and I’ll go right back to the Knights puck line for half a unit. That being said, I’m not counting out the two best players in the world after they were both just held pointless in Game 3, with Draisaitl being non-existent in that game. I’m going right back to Leon to score tonight, which I’ll take for half a unit. I have props on this series to go six and seven games, and can lock up that big over 5.5 games prop with an Oilers win on home ice tonight. Even though after looking great early in Games 2 and 3, I lost on the over in both of those games by a fucking goal (easy cash in Game 1). I’m going right back to the over 6.5 for a unit. I expect this to be the best game of the series with both teams trading goals. Let’s fucking go.
.5u Panthers ML (+102)
1u Maple Leafs/Panthers over 6.5 (-136)
.5u Golden Knights +1.5 (-157)
.5u Leon Draisaitl over .5 goals (-175)
1u Oilers/Golden Knights over 6.5 (-143)
2u Stars to win series in six games or less (+105)
3u Devils to win series (-124)
2u Stars to win series (-120)
2u Oilers/Golden Knights over 5.5 games (-186)
.5u Oilers/Golden Knights over 6.5 games (+200)
1u Seattle Kraken – Stanley Cup Champions (+1360)
.5u Sergei Bobrovsky – Conn Smythe Trophy Winner (+4000)
2u Vegas Golden Knights – Stanley Cup Champions (+1200)
1.5u Carolina Hurricanes – Stanley Cup Champions (+1300)
1u New Jersey Devils – Stanley Cup Champions (+1600)
2u Edmonton Oilers – Stanley Cup Champions (+800)
2u Dallas Stars – Stanley Cup Champions (+815)
Record: 785-644-35 (-65.58 units)
Please follow me:
If you like the site and my work, share it with your friends!
… and tell Dave Portnoy to hire me…