Smart Money NHL Picks For 8/6/2020
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Columbus Blue Jackets: Under 5.5 (-155) – 8 PM
This NHL series is all tied up as we head into Game 3. So far, there hasn’t been a game with more than 3 goals scored, let alone 5 which is why we’re picking under. Toronto’s Frederik Andersen and the Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo both have traded shutouts, so they seem to be honing in on their best selves. While, of course, any goalie is subject to collapse at any time, these guys are sharp, focused, and desperately want to take the edge in the series that has been defined by goaltending.
Columbus is the 27th-ranked team in goal scoring dating back to pre-shutdown play. Toronto has only scored more than 3 goals once. It’s hard to convince a high-scoring game tonight.
Toronto is likely to take this one because Andersen looks even more impenetrable in net and has FAR more playoff experience: 50 games, compared to Korpisalo’s 2 games. This will go a long way which is also why we have Toronto taking the series.
Calgary Flames @ Winnipeg Jets: Calgary ML (-160) – 10:30 PM
Game 4 between Calgary and Winnipeg will be settled in the early hours of Friday morning Eastern Standard Time. This is so fitting for an NHL series that has been full of ferocious personal rivalries and intense physical play. Here’s the breakdown.
The Jets’ Injury List, unfortunately, includes two of their top offensive players: Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele (both listed as day-to-day), who took a nasty hit from Matthew Tkachuk in Game 1. In the playoffs, an injury list this debilitating is typically catastrophic because if there is ever a time you need all hands on deck, it’s right now. It’s hard to see Winnipeg making do if they are without two of their stars. What’s more, veteran center Mathieu Perreault will be a game-time decision.
Calgary, on the other hand, is much healthier. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan are at the helm of a very deep offensive roster. Even Matthew Tkachuk is playing well and has become a force to be reckoned with in this NHL series.
Calgary is a safe bet because they have too much firepower and strong leadership. They will eliminate the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night.
Vancouver Canucks @ Minnesota Wild: Over/Under 5.5 (-115) – 2:30 pm
For Vancouver-Minnesota, we’re picking over. Even though the Wild recorded a shutout in Game 1, Game 2 became a goal-scoring free-for-all. The Canucks had a commanding lead going into the 3rd period (4-1), and they almost blew it after two goals by Kevin Fiala. If anything, that shows some incredibly shaky defense and goaltending. Also, the Wild always score big against Vancouver. In their last three games against the Canucks, the Wild have scored at least three goals, which include two victories.
If you can’t already smell it, we’re picking the Wild to win Thursday night. Their roster is stacked with just the kind of playoff veterans any team needs, such as Mats Zuccarello, who loves playing in big games, and Alex Galchenyuk, who’s had multiple overtime winners in his career. This makes them even stronger candidates to bounce back after a loss.
The Wild have been playing really good hockey since they fired Bruce Boudreau in February. They won 6 out of their last 8 games leading up to the suspension under interim head coach Dean Evason. Minnesota has been able to pick up right where they left off before the shutdown (a two-goal 3rd period even during a loss is good hockey). A 2-1 series lead is theirs for the taking.
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