Riding the hot hand (Washington 11-2 last 13 games) and fading a Buffalo team playing its 3rd game in 4 nights. The Sabres are just 5-17 (22.1%) under these rest conditions since 2021, allowing 3.63 expected goals per game (+21.8% vs. all other rest situations). The Capitals meanwhile are rested and have dominated in this head-to-head (H2H) matchup lately, winning 9 of 11 H2H vs. Buffalo since 2021. While I respect the Sabres’ young core, their offense is way too dependent on Power Play situations for scoring. Washington are a disciplined group that don’t take many penalties (4th fewest in NHL), which makes them a tough opponent for Buffalo.
Last but not least: it’s worth noting that 3 of Washington’s best players are on the brink of returning from IR (T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson). Their status for tonight is murky (at time of writing), but if one or more can play, it would boost the Capitals’ chances to win in 60-minutes.
odds via Barstool Sportsbook.
The NHL’s worst 1st period team (-38.34% ROI) continues to rot, yet there’s still fresh meat on the bone, ripe for the pickin’ in Chicago... This time at +100 (FanDuel). While the full-game puck line works (i.e., -1.5 spread), I prefer the value in the 1st period market at plus money tonight. Tampa Bay ranks as the 8th most profitable 1st period team this season (+6.26% ROI); however, more recently, they’ve stumbled out of the gate, losing 3 of their last 5 opening frames. I guarantee Head Coach Jon Cooper isn’t happy about this trend. The reigning Stanley Cup champs know the importance of strong starts. Look for them to come out firing and buck the trend in Chicago tonight.
Note: In the event they tie or lose the 1st period, I may double down with a live bet on their full-game spread (if tied after 1) or Moneyline (if losing).
odds via Fanduel.
This is -145 or lower at most sportsbooks (still playable), but with a little line shopping, you can find -122 hanging at Barstool, BetRivers and SugarHouse (at least at time of writing, odds subject to change).
Nyquist is a veteran forward who was recently elevated to Columbus’ first Power Play unit, and it’s paying dividends in the Shots on Goal department. He’s has now recorded 5+ shots on target in 3 straight contests (+3.5 vs. tonight’s line) and is coming off a match where he scored twice – a major confidence boost for a player with only 6 goals prior. Tonight, he gets another favorable matchup (from a Power Play perspective) vs. a Senators team that commits the 7th most penalties per game.
While there’s a chance Nyquist’s Power Play role could adjust with teammate Patrick Laine returning from injury, projected lineups have Nyquist retaining his spot on the 1st Power Play unit skating alongside Laine. This is very positive news and implies the shots on goal trend has a real chance to continue. Even if the lineup projections prove wrong and Nyquist drops down to the 2nd PP unit, he’ll still see ice time on the man-advantage. He’ll also remain a staple in Columbus’ Top-6 Forward group in 5v5 situations, effectively guaranteeing sufficient ice time. That, plus the idea he’s playing with confidence, lead me to expect plenty of shot attempts tonight! Just need Gustav to hit the net.
odds via Barstool Sportsbook.
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