NHL PrizePicks Predictions: Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid Among Top Plays Friday, May 12
Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers.
- The Stanley Cup Playoffs roll on with two games on Friday night.
- The first is an Eastern Conference duel between the Florida Panthers and the Toronto Maple Leafs and the second is a Western Conference clash between the Edmonton Oilers and Las Vegas Golden Knights.
- Here are Tony Sartori's three PrizePicks plays for Friday.
Connor McDavid More Than 0.5 Goals
Game 5 of this Western Conference series is set to get underway with the Vegas Golden Knights hosting the Edmonton Oilers. The big storyline for this contest is the absence of Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who is suspended following a heinous slash of Leon Draisaitl away from the puck in Game 4.
Pietrangelo’s absence is a massive blow to the Golden Knights’ blue line, which is good news for Connor McDavid and company. Despite only scoring twice in the first four games of this series, we should expected McDavid to amplify his game even further in this pivotal Game 5.
Vegas’ blue line was already its biggest question mark, and the absence of Pietrangelo makes it an even bigger issue. Since the Christmas break, the Knights rank in the bottom half of the league in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) at 5-on-5.
Through 22 career games against Vegas, McDavid has logged 10 goals and 21 assists.
Leon Draisaitl More Than 0.5 Goals
There is nothing more square/chalky than backing both Leon Draisaitl and McDavid to score, but sometimes the chalk is worth taking. These two combined for a whopping 116 goals in the regular season.
Meanwhile, Draisaitl has absolutely exploded this postseason, notching 13 goals and five assists through 10 games. Posting six goals through the first four games of this series, we should expect the superstar forward to keep it rolling against the Pietrangelo-less blue line.
Like McDavid, Draisaitl’s past success against the Knights is worth noting. Over 23 games, he has notched 16 goals and 15 assists. Two of the most talented forwards in the world, McDavid and Draisaitl both found the back of the net in Game 2 of this series, a result that could come to fruition once again in this pivotal Game 5.
Sam Reinhart + Carter Verhaeghe More Than 0.5 Goals
The Toronto Maple Leafs return home for Game 5 against the Florida Panthers. After avoiding the sweep in Florida, the Leafs continue to fight for their playoff lives against a Panthers team that is currently firing on all cylinders.
Florida leans heavily on its powerhouse offense, scoring three or more goals in six of its past seven games this postseason. This trend should not be surprising given the Panthers’ hyper-aggressive offensive play and desire to go south-to-north as quickly as possible.
In the regular season, at 5-on-5, Florida finished first in the league in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60). Two reasons for this ranking are Sam Reinhart and Carter Verhaeghe, who combined for 58 goals in the regular season.
Their success has continued into this postseason, combining for eight goals through the first 11 games. Meanwhile, Toronto’s blue line has been questionable during this playoff push, allowing three or more goals in six of its past eight games.
While the defense is deep, it features six guys who are solid, but not spectacular on the back end. The Leafs attempted to bolster this blue line with the acquisitions of Luke Schenn and Jake McCabe at the trade deadline, but the results have not been there.
Since the Christmas break, Toronto ranks in the bottom half of the league in xGA/60 at 5-on-5.
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