NHL Game 1 Player Props Odds, Expert Picks: Best Bets for Opening Night (Monday, April 17)

NHL Game 1 Player Props Odds, Expert Picks: Best Bets for Opening Night (Monday, April 17) article feature image

Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images. Pictured: Connor McDavid.

  • Connor McDavid is among the top player props for Monday night's Game 1 action as the NHL postseason gets underway.
  • The four-game slate presents an array of options for prop bets, including an additional pick for Ilya Sorokin.
  • Read below as Nicholas Martin discusses his full prop betting slate for Bruins vs. Panthers and more.

The best time of year for hockey fans will commence Monday night as the first round of the NHL playoffs gets started.

We're treated to a quality four-game slate on ESPN and ESPN2 beginning at 7 p.m. ET tonight.

Here are four player prop picks for that Game 1 slate of matchups that I believe are providing some strong value.

NHL Player Props For Monday, April 17

Ilya Sorokin Over 30.5 Saves (-112)

Islanders vs. Hurricanes
Puck Drop7 p.m. ET
Best LineFanDuel

New York may very well be a live underdog versus Carolina, and the reason why is its tremendous goaltender Ilya Sorokin. Even the majority of Islanders backers would likely admit the team will not carry much of the play in this series. Instead, theey will likely spend far more time in the defensive zone than Carolina will in even-strength play.

The Isles will look to avoid allowing complete defensive breakdowns, where their star netminder has no chance of a save. They can do this by playing a conservative game and looking to keep layers behind the puck to help prevent seam passes and odd-man rushes.

This will ideally still lead to a lot of shots on goal from the Canes, just a ton of lower-quality attempts coming from the point and the outside.

Throughout all of Coach Rod Brind'Amour's tenure, Carolina has routinely selected shot quantity over shot quality. The Hurricanes will happily oblige the Isles by opting to fire dozens of borderline shots on goal and looking to create chaos with rebounds and tip-ins.

Carolina finished 34.99 shots on goal per 60 this season. I believe in this massive spot, the Hurricanes will play an aggressive game generating a ton of shot attempts.

Pick: Ilya Sorokin Over 30.5 Saves (-112)

Florida Panthers To Win the First 10 Minutes (+325)

Panthers vs. Bruins
Puck Drop7:30 p.m. ET
Best Line

The greatest regular season team in NHL history will kick off its case for a championship on Marathon Monday in front of what will no doubt be an incredibly raucous Boston crowd. The Bruins will do so with a number of key bodies reportedly suffering from a nasty flu bug – and against a far better-than-average wild-card team in the Florida Panthers.

The atmosphere and situation could lead to some volatility. It wouldn't be shocking if we perhaps see an uncharacteristic mistake or two out of some of the skaters early in this matchup. The Panthers could potentially come out loose and aggressive, and they do have the offensive firepower to generate some chances early on.

There's a good chance we see these teams come out looking to set a physical tone, and we could potentially see an early power play as a result.

Boston may very well be up two goals by the end of the first and this take looks horrible, and that's fine. Our idea here is tapping into some potential volatility, as I think there's more of a world where Boston starts slowly and the Panthers claim an early lead than this long price suggests.

Joe Pavelski Series Leading Scorer (+900)

Wild vs. Stars
Puck Drop9:30 p.m. ET
Best LineBet365

The tight, low-scoring style with which this series is likely to be contested sets up perfectly for a gritty and smart net front scorer such as Joe Pavelski, who has an excellent playoff repertoire.

Wild goaltender Filip Gustavsson has proven to be as good a first-shot goaltender as there is in the league right now. He will likely force Dallas into needing to score ugly goals in front via a deflection in front, or on rebound looks.

That's exactly where Pavelski, who is rightfully credited as one of the best net-front presences in the NHL and has proven that ability year in and out, excels.

Pavelski led the Stars with 13 goals during their surprising run to the 2019-20 Cup final, and he paced the Stars last year with three goals in a very low-scoring series versus the Flames.

Jason Robertson is a far better scorer now than he was then, but that is fully baked in to the market with Robertson priced at +400.

Connor McDavid Over 3.5 Shots On Goal (-132)

Kings vs. Oilers
Puck Drop10 p.m. ET
Best LineFanDuel

After Connor McDavid's incredible and highly profiled regular season, this pick doesn't even really need a write-up but I will do it anyways.

McDavid is the best player on the planet, and after an offseason where his main focus was his shot, he came out and led the league with 64 goals. Over the last 12 games, he has averaged 4.3 shots on goal and cashed the "over" seven of 12 times.

Los Angeles is an elite side at preventing even-strength attempts on goal, and McDavid will face tough matchups all night long. Those are the concerns here, and that's why this number is still hanging around where it is.

However, I believe it is also fair to say McDavid will find another gear this postseason, as he did last year when he put up 10 goals and 33 points in 16 playoff games while averaging 23 minutes on ice a night. He also averaged 3.81 shots per game last year in tough matchups versus the Kings, Flames and Avalanche.

And again, this year he clearly has more of a shot-first mindset, as encouraged by superstar teammate Leon Draisaitl.

Pick: Connor McDavid Over 3.5 Shots On Goal (-132)

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