Things could get ugly in Anaheim as the Ducks look to end a season-high nine-game losing skid against one of the hottest road teams in the league. That showdown highlights a terrific weekend of on-ice action that includes an Original Six tussle dominated by the home team of late, and a showdown between the two most dangerous shorthanded teams in the league. Here’s a breakdown of the key matchups and trends to monitor over the next few days of NHL action:
March of the Penguins
So much for the Pittsburgh Penguins being in trouble. The Penguins roll into Anaheim on a 14-3-1 tear that has vaulted them into second place in the Metropolitan Division standings heading into Friday’s showdown with the Ducks. And that’s a major problem for Anaheim, which comes in having lost nine in a row to fall out of the second wild-card spot in the West. With the Ducks having scored just 12 goals in nine games since Dec. 18 – and the Penguins having allowed just 15 in 10 games over that same span – bettors might want to consider the Anaheim 2-or-under goal prop
Home Sweet Home
There’s plenty of history between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs – and in recent meetings, the home sides have gone home happy. The Maple Leafs look to extend that home-ice dominance to six games as they welcome the Bruins to Scotiabank Arena in a Saturday night battle between the second- and third-place teams in the Atlantic Division. It’s also worth noting that five of the past six meetings between the teams have been decided by multiple goals – and with Toronto installed as the fave, taking the home side on the puckline (-1.5) is an intriguing option.
What’s Your Secret?
Few teams have given the Nashville Predators much trouble over the past few seasons – but the Carolina Hurricanes are firmly on the list as they look to continue their winning ways Sunday afternoon in Raleigh. The Hurricanes have won each of their previous four meetings with the Predators dating back to the 2016-17 season, averaging 3.75 goals per game over that span while limiting Nashville to just two goals per contest over that stretch. With Nashville coming to the end of a grueling six-game road swing and Carolina having won five of six, the home team is a strong play here.
What’s Up, Shorty?
The Arizona Coyotes and Calgary Flames boast the two most dangerous penalty-killing units in the NHL – so keep a close eye on any man-advantage situations when the teams face off Sunday night at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary leads the NHL with a whopping 14 shorthanded goals, while Arizona sits second with 11; no other team in the league has more than six shorthanded tallies. The teams have also combined to allow 10 SH goals against – and with that extra wrinkle of scoring potential, bettors might want to key in on the over.
Linus Ullmark and Carter Hutton, Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres have hit the skids of late with just three wins in their previous nine games heading into the weekend, but you can’t blame their talented goaltending tandem for that. Hutton and Ullmark have done well to keep Buffalo in games despite a major goal drought, allowing more than three goals just twice over that nine-game stretch. Their heroics have helped make Buffalo one of the stronger under plays of late, with the Sabres coming into Friday’s game against the Hurricanes having gone below the total in six of their previous eight outings.
Patric Hornqvist, Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins continue steamrolling the competition, but might have to do so without one of their key secondary scoring options. Hornqvist suffered his second concussion of the season in Tuesday’s victory over the Florida Panthers and will be sidelined for an undetermined length of time. It’s Hornqvist’s fifth documented concussion since 2014, which could mean a longer absence than with his previous concussions. Hornqvist has 15 goals and 11 assists in 34 games, with the Penguins having gone 10-3-1 SU in games in which he records at least one point.
Hat Trick Trends
- Non-overtime games have provided a nice profit for under bettors over the last 30 days, converting nearly 59 percent of the time over that span. And that trend has intensified over the previous week, with 26 of 39 non-OT contests – and 30 of 49 overall – coming in below their respective totals.
- Road favorites continue to dominate the betting world, having gone 11-4 SU over the previous week’s worth of games to improve to 43-22 over the previous 30 days overall. Home favorites still have the edge overall (58.8 percent to 57.1 percent), but bettors leaning toward the road faves are doing very well.
- And speaking of road plays, the New York Islanders remain one of the biggest surprises in the league away from Barclays Center. The Isles have returned an unfathomable 10.71 units of profit in their road games this season thanks to a surprising 14-8-1 SU road record. They rank second overall in total units gained at 12.72.