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NHL Playoff Player Props: 4 Top Picks, Including Nikita Kucherov & Mikko Rantanen (May 19)

NHL Playoff Player Props: 4 Top Picks, Including Nikita Kucherov & Mikko Rantanen (May 19) article feature image
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Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96).

NHL betting analyst Nicholas Martin breaks down his four favorite plays for tonight’s pair of Game 2s.


Nikita Kucherov Assist -120 (Play to -130)

Lightning vs. Panthers — 7 p.m. ET

Kucherov’s otherworldly playmaking abilities have been on full display at all-strengths over the last 3 postseasons, and it’s hard for me to see him not managing a big series vs Florida.

He is probably the best half-wall guy in the league on the man advantage, and is the greatest reason this Lightning powerplay has been so dominant over the last 3 postseasons, and he has altogether racked up a ridiculous 58 assists throughout his last 56 playoff games.

Kucherov was brilliant in game one of this series, and was a massive part of the Lightning managing to cover up for the critical loss of Brayden Point.

Florida’s defensive play is simply not very good, and it has appeared quite shaky all postseason long.  I think Kucherov will always be liable to make some special plays against this blue-line in particular, and we saw within a two-minute span Kucherov undress Mackenzie Weegar to draw the call, before his beautiful setup to Corey Perry after walking Aaron Ekblad moments later.

Andrei Vasilevskiy Over 30.5 Saves -105 (Play to -115)

Lightning vs. Panthers — 7 p.m. ET

As alluded to earlier, this Florida team do not defend very well by any means, and they simply are not very bothered by that fact.

If we are going to see the Panthers bounce-back in this spot, I believe it will be led by it’s elite offensive play, and ridiculous ability to generate attempts on goal in the offensive zone.

Florida averaged 37.85 shots on goal per/60 this season, and managed 34 on net in game one of this series in somewhat of a letdown effort. I think we will see the Panthers come out and push the pace tonight, and generate a strong number of shots on net, forcing a heavy workload for Vasilevskiy.

We can count on Vasilevskiy to do his part with this prop and is not likely to let in anything but the one’s he’s supposed to, and will always have a massive leash before being pulled should things go quite poorly for the Lightning.

Mikko Rantanen Anytime Goalscorer +146 (Play to +120)

Blues vs. Avalanche — 9:30 p.m. ET

Jordan Binnington was fantastic, the Avalanche hit five posts, and ultimately still found a way to score three goals in game one (with the added help of 8:02 of overtime), with an expected goals for total of 5.11.

That was truly the lowest possible outcome to the Avalanche’s offensive output, and I think they will likely score 4 or more Thursday, and that targeting some of their offensive stars is again going to be a strong strategy.

In particular I am seeing value with Mikko Rantanen to break through with his first playoff goal of 2022.

He’s had a slow start to the postseason, but has had 18 goals in his last 37 playoff games prior to this year. He’s one of the more potent goal-scorers the Avalanche hold, as evidenced by his team leading 36 in the regular season.

Rantanen had some opportunities in game one and played another solid game in the opening contest of this series, and as you would expect is still skating top-line and top-powerplay minutes, which has led to an average time on ice of over 21 minutes this postseason.

FanDuel has Rantanen at +146 to score anytime, and that’s a certainly a number I see lots of value with.

Nathan Mackinnon Over 4.5 Shots (-145) Play to -160

Blues vs. Avalanche — 9:30 p.m. ET

Part of the reason Rantanen will have a great chance to score, will be the play of Nathan Mackinnon, who has looked altogether ridiculous during throughout this postseason.

Mackinnon has been utterly dominant, and every time he gets the puck it seems likely we might see something special. He’s averaged 7.4 shots on goal per game this postseason, and has cashed this number in all 5 contests so far.

That’s been far from an anomaly given the way he is driving play offensively, and the fact that he’s averaged 11.2 attempts per game in the postseason.

I definitely don’t think we need to look off this chalky play Thursday and feel that just riding it out at 4.5 makes sense until we see a total of 5.5 with some juice.

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