NHL PrizePicks Predictions Today: Target Auston Matthews, Vitek Vanecek

NHL PrizePicks Predictions Today: Target Auston Matthews, Vitek Vanecek article feature image

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Vitek Vanecek of the New Jersey Devils

  • The second night of the Stanley Cup Playoffs provides a slew of PrizePicks options.
  • Tony Sartori has four selections for your Flex Play or Power Play.
  • Check out his PrizePicks predictions, including plays on Auston Matthews and Vitek Vanecek, below.

Today's NHL schedule features four tremendous matchups, which means there are plenty of entries to sift through on PrizePicks.

But first, a quick refresher if you aren’t familiar with PrizePicks: You can combine up to five different player squares to pay out up to 10x your entry.

You can do a Flex Play or a Power Play. A Flex Play gives you lesser odds, but you can win money if you do not nail every pick. A Power Play is all-or-nothing.

Here's how I would approach Tuesday's NHL slate.

What is PrizePicks? A daily fantasy operator — meaning they’re available in more states (30) than sports betting is! — PrizePicks offers a unique opportunity for action on player picks in which you combine two or more entries together.

Auston Matthews More Than 0.5 Goals

The Toronto Maple Leafs host the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of this NHL Eastern Conference series on Tuesday night. Reigning Hart Trophy winner Auston Matthews concluded another 40-goal season, marking the fourth straight year doing so.

Ending the regular season in tremendous form, Matthews potted eight goals over his final 11 games, a trend that is likely to continue in this matchup against a thin Tampa blue line. At five-on-five this season, the Bolts ranked just 19th in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60).

Ian Cole does a tremendous job on the defensive end while Mikhail Sergachev is basically the "new" Victor Hedman. Outside of those two guys, the rest of Tampa's defensemen have played at replacement level – even Hedman, who appears to have lost a step this season.

Going against Andrei Vasilevskiy is obviously a daunting task for any offensive star, but Matthews is as good-a-choice as any in doing so. In fact, he has logged four goals over his past three games against the Bolts.

Vitek Vanecek More Than 26.5 Saves

Another Eastern Conference Game 1 is set to get underway on Tuesday night with the New Jersey Devils hosting the New York Rangers. Slated to take the crease for New Jersey is Vitek Vanecek, who put together a tremendous campaign in his first year with the club.

Through 52 appearances in the crease, Vanecek posted a 33-11-4 record with a .911 save percentage (SV%) and 2.45 goals against average (GAA). This success is likely to continue against New York, a team he has fared well against over the past couple of seasons.

Over his past six starts against the Rangers, Vanecek is 5-0-1 with a .915 SV% and 2.30 GAA. While New York struggles to find those high-danger scoring areas at even-strength, it is still a team that fires at will, averaging 31.5 shots on goal per game.

Igor Shesterkin Less Than 30.5 Saves

In a play with some solid correlation, we are going to fade Igor Shesterkin's saves entry as he is taking the crease for New York in this matchup. How are these two plays slightly correlated?

Well, if New York is firing pucks at Vanecek on the other side of the ice, that means time is ticking away on the clock while Shesterkin is just standing on the other end. Unless this game goes to overtime, the more saves Vanecek makes, the more likely it is that Shesterkin does not eclipse this number.

The reigning Vezina Trophy winner is one of the best goaltenders in the world, no one is denying that. I expect him to once again carry this average team on his back, and he will likely put together a tremendous series.

However, if there was ever a time to fade Shesterkin, it would be in this matchup. This season, the Devils ranked third in the league in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) at five-on-five.

Across his past five starts against New Jersey, Shesterkin is just 1-3-1 with a .890 SV% and 3.84 GAA. He recorded an average of 29.2 saves over those five outings.

Jacob Trouba More Than 2.5 Hits

The final play to make in this Rangers vs. Devils game is backing defenseman Jacob Trouba to record at least three hits for New York. Physicality is greatly increased during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and that is where Trouba provides the greatest value for the Rangers.

This series is likely going to be the most physical out of any of the four Eastern Conference matchups, which means Trouba is going to need to set the tempo for New York. What makes this sentiment especially true is that the Rangers do not have a physical roster whatsoever outside of Trouba.

The forward group is either made of veterans who do not lay the lumber often like Patrick Kane, Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin. Meanwhile, the defensive corps features skill players like Adam Fox and K'Andre Miller, who both can certainly deliver a monster hit, but do not do so nearly as often as Trouba.

One of the most physical defensemen in the league will need to set the pace in terms of physicality for the Rangers in this series, and three hits should not be too difficult to come by for Trouba.

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