NHL Betting Guide: Monday 5/24/21
We are already at the elimination point of the postseason where teams have to play to keep their seasons alive. The Tampa Bay Lightning have the chance to send the Florida Panthers packing tonight while the Winnipeg Jets can sweep the Edmonton Oilers out of the postseason with a fourth straight win. There are a few star-rated plays to consider on tonight's docket.
Here are a few plays 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.
Goaltending has prevented the Panthers from being in the driver's seat in their opening-round series against the Bolts. Florida has posted an expected-goals for percentage above 50.0%, at five-on-five and across all strengths, in all four games of this series. Despite that dominance, they trail the Lightning 3-1 and have to win on home ice to force a Game 6 in Tampa Bay.
Sergei Bobrovsky started the series for the Panthers but was not in for Game 2 after allowing five goals on 40 shots. The Panthers sent Chris Driedger in for Game 2 before he was yanked in favor of Bobrovsky in Game 3. Bobrovsky then got the nod for Game 4 before he was pulled for Driedger. As a tandem, they have allowed 19 goals in four games while stopping on 84.9% of shots. Florida's goaltending situation is an unadulterated mess.
It's not surprising then, to see them turn to 19-year-old Spencer Knight for Game 5. Knight has been used sparingly this season but has been effective when given the chance, posting a 91.9% save percentage and winning all four games he's appeared in.
From an offensive output standpoint, that Lightning are substantially overachieving relative to production metrics. Tampa has managed 21.3 scoring chances and 8.0 high-danger chances across all strengths through four games. Their 15.1% shooting percentage is the best in the playoffs bringing their PDO up to an unsustainable 1.070.
The Panthers continue to outplay the Lightning and have been the better team throughout the series. Based on our projections, there remains an edge in backing them tonight on the moneyline. An average goaltending performance will not only help the Panthers win but also help this game stay under the total. The under and Panthers' moneyline wagers are both rated as one-star plays.
Over 5.5 (-120): 1-Star Rating Out of 5
This series has not gone to plan for the Oilers. Edmonton continues to outplay the Jets, but have been stymied by Connor Hellebuyck through three games. Game 4 is a unique situation, as the Jets and Oilers play for the second time in two nights, as the North Division attempts to make up for a delayed playoff start.
Both teams have confirmed that they are going back to their primary goalies for Game 4. Not only does this situation play as a back-to-back, but also as the third game in four nights for these teams. Those circumstances have resulted in some suspect goaltending performances throughout the regular season. The Montreal Canadiens started Jake Allen under these circumstances when Carey Price went down with an injury, with Allen allowing five goals and posting an 80.0% save percentage in the third game.
That's without considering the offensive production metrics these teams are generating. Edmonton is averaging 39.7 shots, 34.0 scoring opportunities, and 18.3 high-danger chances per game against the Jets so far this series. Edmonton was held to one goal through the first two games, but potted four on Hellebuyck in last night's overtime loss. That could be a sign of things to come as the Oilers continue to outplay the Jets.
Mike Smith has not been the answer for the Oilers this series, but the Oilers are going back to him for Game 4. Smith has posted the third-worst save percentage, ranking just ahead of the Panthers and St. Louis Blues' goalies. Smith's struggles this series could be compounded by a condensed schedule and the Jets seem to have Smith figured out (hint -- they keep beating him glove side).
It's full-on desperation mode from the Oilers tonight which should bring some offensive fireworks. A back-to-back with both primary goalies starting could help this one get out of hand early. The over is rated as a one-star play, as per our projections.