NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 5/20/21

The NHL playoff madness continues with another four-game slate tonight. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens get their series under way, while the Florida Panthers look to avoid falling into the insurmountable 3-0 deficit against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Whatever happens, we're in for another night of entertaining of playoff hockey.

Let's break down a couple of totals from our daily projections.

Please note that lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.

Minnesota Wild vs. Vegas Golden Knights

Over 5.5 (+112): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

Offense has been on full display in the early part of this series, but that hasn't translated to any high-scoring games. As such, there is value in backing the over tonight in Minnesota when the Minnesota Wild take on the Vegas Golden Knights.

Through two games, these teams have combined for 135 shots, 117 scoring chances, 43 high-danger opportunities and just five goals. That equals a combined 96.3% save percentage despite some terrific offensive performances. Marc-Andre Fleury and Cam Talbot are great, but they can't continue on that unsustainable pace.

We also have to consider Minnesota's strong over trend on home ice. The Wild have gone over the total in 10 of their last 12 home games, with an average of 7.7 goals per game across the sample. Minny is terrorizing opponents, creating 10 or more high-danger chances in four of their last five home games, averaging 11.8 per contest. Those are strong over indicators that we can't ignore.

Vegas has been proficient regardless of venue, but the Golden Knights did rank in the top three in most offensive production categories. As visitors this season, they averaged 30.0 scoring chances, ranking second in the league, and 11.7 opportunities from high-danger areas, which ranked third. They had almost identical output when considering home against road scoring, putting up 93 goals as the visitors and 97 goals as the hosts.

Both teams have flexed their offensive muscles this series, which is a continuation from dominant regular seasons. We're anticipating the goalies to come back down toward average, which should result in a high-scoring game. That aligns with our projections, which rate the over 5.5 as a one-star play.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers

Under 5.5 (+104): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

We've witnessed some strong defensive performances from the Panthers so far this postseason, but they haven't been able to translate to victories in their series against the Lightning. The betting market is an accurate representation of these teams' chances tonight, meaning there isn't an edge taking a stance on either team, but there is an advantaged on the total.

Florida has limited the Lightning to a total of 31 scoring chances and 11 high-danger chances at five-on-five through two games. Tampa has a 60.0% high-danger shooting percentage at five-on-five despite the suffocating defense from the Panthers. That puts the Lightning well above their regular season high-danger shooting percentage of 18.9%, indicating that they are due to plummet back down to average.

Tampa Bay's metrics across all strengths inflate their metrics balloon even more. Tampa has 42 scoring chances and 15 high-danger chances across all strengths, getting out-chanced in both games. Despite the metrics working against them, they are scoring on 11.6% of their shots while stopping 93.1% of shots for a 1.048 PDO. Andrei Vasilevskiy has been outstanding all season, but Tampa's offensive metrics should balance out over the coming games.

Florida cannot afford to go own 3-0 in the series, which should result in an efficient defensive effort from the Panthers as they continue to limit Tampa's chances. That should give us another low-scoring game, like we saw in Game 2.

Based on our projections, the edge in this game lies in taking the under 5.5 at plus-money. We rate it as a two-star play.