NHL Betting Guide: Tuesday 5/11/21
The playoff field is set and the last few games will confirm playoff matchups for the first round. The NHL sneakily announced that the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals series is scheduled to get underway on Saturday, which means tonight's game is a preview of what's to come.
Here are a couple of plays from our daily projections!
Over 5.5 (-122): 2-Star Rating Out of 5
The Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks are on the second night of a back-to-back tonight after the Canucks handed the Jets a 3-1 loss last night. Vancouver elected to started Thatcher Demko last night, which means Braden Holtby is in net tonight. That could lead to a high-scoring game as the Jets try to clinch the third spot in the North Division.
Holtby has struggled somewhat this season and is on pace for his second consecutive season with a save percentage below 90.0%. His goals saved above average is -5.30 and his road metrics have been worse than at home. On the road, Holtby is stopping just 89.1% of shots faced and has only two wins in 10 starts. The last two games that Holtby has started have resulted in 4-1 and 5-3 defeats, with Holtby stopping only 85.5% of shots.
Connor Hellebuyck has been disappointing of late as well. Hellebuyck has only one win over his last eight starts and has posted a save percentage of 88.2% across those games.
The Jets offense has responded by increase production metrics. Last night, the team managed 40 shots and 35 scoring chances, 10 of which came from high-danger areas. It was the second time in three games that the Jets had attempted 29 or more scoring chances and 10 high-danger chances. Look for increased output with sustained production metrics.
There are some factors that point towards tonight's game going over the total and that aligns with our projections, which rates the over 5.5 as a two-star play.
Bruins +1.5 (-178): 4-Star Rating Out of 5
Tonight's game is nothing more than a precursor to a first-round playoff matchup between the Bruins and Capitals. Their series is already confirmed and, regardless of outcome, the Caps have already assured themselves of home-ice advantage.
Alex Ovechkin is expected to return to the Caps lineup tonight after missing seven of the last eight games with a lower-body injury. The Caps could use an offensive boost, as they've failed to record more than two goals in four of their last seven games. Tonight's contest could be an opportunity for Ovi, Nicklas Backstrom, and John Carlson to shake off the cobwebs before the playoffs, as all three sat out the Caps' most recent game.
The Capitals also need to improve their efforts on home ice. They are 4-4-1 over the last nine games and only one of those victories came by more than one goal.
Boston remains a dominant team. The Bruins rank sixth in the league in expected goals-for percentage and have been more commanding than usual over their recent sample. Over the last six games, the Bruins have posted a cumulative expected goals-for percentage of 70.8%, out-chancing their opponents in scoring and high-danger chances in all six games. Metrics like that can't be overlooked, even though the Bruins are on the second night of a back-to-back and are playing in their sixth game over the last nine nights.
The Bruins have taken four of seven matchups with the Capitals so far this season but are contending with some challenging scheduling, in addition to Ovechkin and company returning to the lineup. Our projections favor the B's and the market has shifted substantially in favor of the Capitals. That leaves an edge in backing the Bruins tonight. If Boston can't win, they should at least be able to keep it close; Bruins puckline is a four-star play.