NHL Betting Guide: Saturday 5/15/21

It's playoff time baby! COVID-19 postponements have thrown a wrench in the regular season scheduling, so for the first time in NHL history, the regular season will coincide with the playoffs. That leaves us with one regular season North division game and one East Division playoff game today.

Here are the plays from our daily projections.

Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins

Capitals moneyline (+108): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

Puck drops on the 2021 playoffs in Washington tonight when the Washington Capitals host the Boston Bruins in the 2-vs-3 matchup of the East Division. The Caps earned home ice advantage by finishing second in the East, but they open as underdogs against the Bruins.

The Caps are firing on all cylinders offensively right now. They have attempted 10 or more high-danger chances in eight of their last nine games and are averaging 14.2 opportunities per game from high-danger areas. Scoring chances are also plentiful, as the Caps have attempted 30 or more in four of five with an average of 30.4 attempts per game. Washington is forcing the issue offensively and forcing opponents to keep up.

Boston was tripped up on the road to end the season, posting expected goals-for percentages below 50.0% in four of their last seven. The Bruins have been less efficient offensively in those games, posting high-danger attempts below nine and scoring chances below 22 in four of those contests. If Washington controls the pace like they did when these teams met earlier this week, the Bruins' recent efforts illustrate that they won't be able to keep up.

The Caps have had the benefit of being at home for the last 10 days. That should help them be rested and fresh for Game 1. In reconciling the betting market with our projections, there's an advantage in backing the Capitals as home 'dogs. We rate the Caps on the moneyline as a one-star bet.

Edmonton Oilers vs. Vancouver Canucks

Canucks moneyline (+180): 1-Star Rating Out of 5
Over 6.5 (+104): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The Edmonton Oilers conclude their regular season today against the Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers have locked up second in the North Division and don't have anything left to play for ahead of their playoff series with the Winnipeg Jets.

We know that Mikko Koskinen is getting the start for the Oilers, which suggests that they are trying to rest and protect Mike Smith for the playoffs. Koskinen has been unimpressive this season, posting a 89.9% save percentage and -6.20 goals saved above average. There have been an average of 8.0 goals per game over his last three starts, with Koskinen stopping only 81.8% of shots.

The end of the Canucks' season is just a formality, but we have seen improved efforts from them, particularly on the defensive side of things. Vancouver has limited their opponents to seven or fewer high-danger chances at five-on-five in three of their last six and 25 or fewer scoring chances in four of their last five. That has helped them be more competitive as they've posted two of their three best expected goals-for percentages since returning to action.

The Canucks' biggest advantage is that they may not have to worry about limiting Connor McDavid, as the Oilers may elect to limit or sit McDavid in what is a meaningless game.

The edge lies in backing the Canucks. Also, questionable goaltending on both ends of the ice could help this one get over the total. We rate the Canucks moneyline and over 6.5 as one-star wagers, per our projections.