Saturday is typically a great day for the NHL with games starting in the afternoon and continuing through the night on the West Coast. This Saturday was no different, as there were eight games across the league and a bunch of close finishes. The headliner was a great inter-conference contest between the Minnesota Wild and Carolina Hurricanes that Minnesota took by a goal. If things break right, those teams could see each other again in June.
Let’s go through each game and see what happened with an eye to the NHL betting lines:
Red Wings Sweep Philly
For the second time in the last few days, the Detroit Red Wings dominated the Philadelphia Flyers to sweep a home-and-home series. Detroit won 4-2 on Saturday at home behind three Dylan Larkin assists and a stellar day from Thomas Greiss in net (32 saves on 34 shots).
The Red Wings got started early with Tyler Bertuzzi’s first-period goal and never looked back. Scott Laughton led scuffling Philadelphia with a goal and an assist in the loss.
Detroit covered the puckline as solid home favorites. The under (5½ goals) seemed like a lock but Michael Rasmussen’s goal with 1:40 left in the third period pushed the total over.
Bruins Back on Track
Between losses to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes, Tuukka Rask’s retirement, and Brad Marchand’s suspension, it has been a crazy week for the Boston Bruins so they really needed to play well against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, which is exactly what they did. Boston blanked Ottawa 2-0 behind 30 saves from Jeremy Swayman and first-period goals from Trent Frederic and Curtis Lazar.
Matt Murray (35 saves on 37 shots) was sharp in net for the Senators but short-handed Ottawa couldn’t get anything across against Swayman, who will have to step up — along with Linus Ullmark — for the Bruins with Rask gone. Swayman’s second shutout of the season was a really promising sign.
Boston easily covered the puckline and the under was never in doubt.
Laine Wins It for Columbus
It wasn’t easy but the Columbus Blue Jackets escaped Québec with a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens thanks to a Patrik Laine game-winning goal with eight seconds to go. Columbus took an early lead when Oliver Bjorkstrand scored at the start of the game and held it until the third period when Cole Caufield tied it up. The Blue Jackets kept peppering Sam Montembeault with shots (42 in total) yet couldn’t break through until Laine’s near-buzzer-beater.
The loss was Montreal’s ninth straight while Columbus has won three games in a row. The Blue Jackets won straight-up as road favorites.
Demko Stuns Maple Leafs
If you were betting online on Toronto, you had a tough loss. Despite firing 53 shots on Thatcher Demko, the Maple Leafs scored just twice en route to a 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.
The Canucks scored twice in the first period to get an early lead but Toronto fought back in the second, tying things up before a Juho Lammikko goal gave Vancouver a lead that Demko was able to (barely) hold onto. He really stood on his head in the third period with the Maple Leafs having great scoring opportunities.
Vancouver won as pretty sizable home underdogs. J.T. Miller had a goal and an assist to lead the Canucks. Toronto has lost the first two road games of a three-game Western Conference swing.
Wheeler Crushes Nashville
It was a night to remember for the Winnipeg Jets’ Blake Wheeler as he scored twice and assisted on three other goals to propel the Jets to a much-needed 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Nashville actually scored the game’s first two goals in the opening seven minutes but, after that, it was all Winnipeg (and Wheeler).
The Jets made the most of their power play opportunities, drawing eight penalties and scoring on the man-advantage three times.
Winnipeg won easily as big road underdogs and Wheeler’s offensive explosion — and final goals with 3:14 left to play — cashed the over (six goals).
Wild Hold Off Hurricanes
There was a lot of anticipation for this game and it lived up to the hype. The Minnesota Wild beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in a game that was close for a while and then looked like it would be a blowout before it was tight for much of the third period. Minnesota struck first in the second period on a Kevin Fiala goal and added two more goals in the first three minutes of the third period.
Then, Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov scored twice in an 81-second span to make it a one-goal game and really turn on the juice. The Hurricanes put the pressure on Cam Talbot the rest of the way but the veteran netminder held firm, saving 37 of the 39 shots he faced en route to the win. Fiala and Frederick Gaudreau each had a goal and an assist for Minnesota, which wants to be considered a contender on the same level as Carolina.
The Wild won straight-up as slight home underdogs, but the line on the BetUS sportsbook was close to a pick’em.
Chicago Feeling the Blues
The Chicago Blackhawks never had much of a chance in their 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues. Chicago mustered 16 shots against Ville Husso while St. Louis scored twice in the first period against Marc-Andre Fleury and never looked back. Oskar Sundqvist had a goal and an assist to lead the way for the Blues while Brayden Schenn assisted on a pair of goals.
St. Louis snapped a two-game skid and handed the Blackhawks their fourth loss in five games. The Blues comfortably covered the puckline as home favorites and Jordan Kyrou’s late goal pushed the over/under at six goals.
Calgary Keeps Streak Going
Nothing can stop the Calgary Flames who notched their sixth-straight victory with a comfortable 5-2 win over the New York Islanders. Calgary set the tone with a pair of first-period goals and though New York hung around within a goal or so for much of the game, the Islanders couldn’t challenge Jacob Markstrom enough and weren’t able to stop the Flames’ relentless offensive attack.
Adam Ruzicka scored one goal and assisted on another to lead Calgary while J.G. Pageau did the same for New York in the loss. Johnny Gaudreau had two helpers (his 38th and 39th) as well. Calgary covered the puckline as home favorites and the Flames’ scoring outburst in the third period cashed the over (5½ goals).