NHL Betting Guide: Monday 8/31/20

Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche have not been able to keep pace offensively with the Dallas Stars. Will a goaltending change lead to more low-scoring games?

We are back in action after a busy weekend of NHL action! All four series could be decided in the next two days, with each series currently sitting at three games to one.

Here are a couple of plays from tonight's action!

Colorado Avalanche vs Dallas Stars

Under 6.5 (-130): 4-Star Rating Out of 5

We have been treated to some entertaining affairs between the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars. And surprisingly, the Stars are beating the Avalanche at their own game.

After struggling offensively for the entire regular season, Dallas has seen a surge in output since playoff hockey started, particularly over the last seven games. In that span, they've averaged 4.7 goals per game on 13.7% shooting. The benchmark the Stars set in the regular season was more than 5% lower at 8.4%. As expected, this jump in scoring has facilitated some good outcomes for the Stars, as they've won six of the seven games.

If the question is, how do we stop Dallas from scoring? The answer definitely isn't Pavel Francouz. In his three starts since Philipp Grubauer went down with an injury, he's posted a 4.72 goals-against average and 85.4% save percentage. On the second night of a back-to-back, this would be an opportune time to get Michael Hutchinson between the pipes. After Francouz was yanked yesterday, there's no reason to believe that won't be the case.

The first step for the Avalanche is to stop the Stars onslaught. And if the writing's not on the wall for Francouz, then the Avs don't deserve to move on. Regardless, it's just a matter of time before Dallas comes tumbling back down to earth offensively.

The high scoring outcomes early this series has caused FanDuel Sportsbook to bump the total up to 6.5 for tonight's game. Our algorithm projects a substantive edge taking the under in this one, we rate it as a four-star play.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Boston Bruins

Over 5.5 (+100): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

After watching Game 1, I don't think anyone expected the Tampa Bay Lightning to hold a 3-1 advantage after four games, let alone the Boston Bruins. But that's exactly the position they find themselves in ahead of Game 5 on Monday night.

Boston's chance at success has been negatively impacted by Jaroslav Halak. In his first four starts after Tuukka Rask left the bubble, Halak stopped 93.6% of shots, winning all four games. Since then, he has regressed back to average, posting an 86.6% save percentage and dropping all three decisions. The 35-year-old has struggled in his career vs Tampa going 4-5-0 with a 2.93 goals-against average and 89.3% save percentage.

After scraping out a few low-scoring, hard-fought wins against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Lightning are starting to have some luck finding the back of the net. Tampa has overachieved relative to expected goals for in four of their last five games. In that span, they've scored on 13.2% of shots and averaged 4.2 goals per game.

Considering the Lightning's offensive rhythm, and Boston's inability to limit the damage, there's no reason to believe that tonight's game won't be of the high-scoring variety. The Bruins will have to find a way to score if they hope to stave off elimination and force a Game 6. Based on our projections, there is an advantage in taking the over 5.5, which is rated as a one-star play.