Fade Or Follow The Public: Thursday’s NHL Games

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Thankfully we have more than one NHL game tonight, so I can dedicate an entire article to the NHL. If you read my NBA props last night, you can take that money we won from those picks and try to make some more money. Win or lose, playoff hockey is great. What makes it better? Gambling on every game.

Bruins (-146) vs. Islanders (+124) 7:45 p.m. ET

This is the best second-round series, and every game has been spectacular. It was more of a blowout in Game One, with the Bruins winning 5-2 on Saturday. Game Two was one of the best playoff games of this season, with the Islanders winning 4-3 in an overtime thriller on Monday. The Islanders are looking to take the lead in this series as Boston is traveling to Long Island. The public doesn’t believe in New York, as 60% of picks are on Boston’s Moneyline.

The Islanders finished 4th in the East with 71 points, and in the first round, they beat the Penguins in six games. New York plays a grind-it-out style of hockey that led them to the Eastern Finals last year. They aren’t flashy, but they find ways to get goals and win games. For this season, the Islanders scored 2.71 goals a game, allowed 2.23 goals a game, a 0.44 SRS, only converted on 18.75% of power plays, and successfully stopped 83.70% of power-killing opportunities.

The Bruins finished 3rd in the East with 73 points, and in the first round, they beat the Capitals in five games. Boston is led by superstar David Pastrnak who finished the season with 20 goals. For this season, the Bruins scored 2.93 goals a game, allowed 2.39 goals a game, a 0.50 SRS, converted on 21.86% of their power plays, and killed 83.70% of their power-killing opportunities.

Tuukka Rask is starting between the pipes tonight, and in Game Two, he looked a little shaky. He allowed four goals, had 35 saves with a .897 save percentage. The game-winner was a breakaway that was buried in the top left corner. After the game, Boston’s head coach told the media that Tuukka dealt with a nagging injury. Tuukka has dealt with injuries his entire career, and it’s always hard to tell with hockey players. This season, he dealt with an upper-body injury that made him miss a couple of games. In Game One of this series, Tuukka was much better, allowing 2 goals and stopping 20 shots with a .909 save percentage. In round one, Tuukka was great, averaging only 2 goals a game, and had an average save percentage of .940.

For the Islanders, Semyon Varlamov is projected to start tonight. Semyon didn’t start Game One of this series, but he was between the pipes for Game Two, which he won, allowing 3 goals, saving 39 saves with a .928 save percentage. In the first round, Semyon only started two out of the six games; in those two games, Semyon allowed an average of 3.5 goals with a .885 save percentage.

The Islanders and Varlamov are great while playing in Long Island. While home, Varlamov is 12-3-3 with an average of 1.87 goals allowed and a .937 save percentage. New York is 21-4-3 at home and are 4-1 as home underdogs. On the other hand, Boston has an away record of 15-9-4 and is 0-4 in the last 4 in Long Island. With New York being great at home, having the momentum of a great overtime win on Monday, and their “grind it out” style, I’m fading the public.

The pick: Islanders +124

Hurricanes (+142) vs. Lightning (-168) 8:15 p.m. ET

The Lightning went into Carolina and stole both home games away from the Hurricanes. Both Games One and Two ended with Tampa Bay winning 2-1. Carolina is looking to stop the bleeding and not go down 3-0 in the series. The public believes that the bleeding will continue and that Tampa Bay will win this game as 77% of picks are on the Lightning.

Both Carolina and Tampa Bay won their first-round series in six games. The Hurricanes faced off against the Panthers, and it looked like that series was going to seven since neither team could win on the road. Carolina finally won on the road to seal the series in six games. Carolina was the best team in the Central division, finishing with 80 points. The Hurricanes had a 0.67 SRS, scored 3.13 goals a game, allowed 2.39 goals, successfully converted on 25.61 of their power plays, and stopped 85.23% of their power-killing opportunities.

The Lightning won their first-round matchup against the Panthers. They started their first-round series the same as their second-round series. They stole both home games away from Florida but then lost in Game Three. Tampa Bay finished 3rd in the Central Division with 75 points. The Lightning had a 0.53 SRS, scored 3.21 goals a game, allowed 2.59 goals, scored 22.35% of their power plays, and killed 84.15% of their power-killing opportunities. This is all without their best player Kucherov who has been great these playoffs, scoring 3 goals and 9 assists.

Andrei Vasilevskiy has been standing on top of his head these entire playoffs. In the second-round series, Vasilevskiy has allowed only 2 goals, 68 saves, and has an average save percentage of .971. The projected starter for Carolina, Alex Nedeljkovic, has lost both games but hasn’t played badly. In two games, Nedeljkovic has allowed 4 goals, 41 saves, and has an average save percentage of .900.

Carolina has played horribly in Tampa Bay lately. They are 3-13 in their last 16 games in Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, the Lightning are great at home, going 44-17. The Lightning is amazing with Kucherov back in the lineup, and Vasilevskiy has been one of the best goalies in the playoffs. This is why I’m following the public with my pick.

The pick: Lightning -168

Written by David Lawrence

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