Wednesday NHL Best Bets: Top Picks for Devils vs Hurricanes, Oilers vs Golden Knights
Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jonathan Marchessault of the Vegas Golden
and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers
- Our NHL Best Bets for tonight's Game 1 action cover the Devils vs. Hurricanes and Oilers vs. Golden Knights.
- Our hockey experts have plays for both games, including two for the nightcap.
- Below, check out their analysis and picks, which include a player prop, moneyline and total.
Check out our NHL Game 1 best bets from our crew of hockey experts for Wednesday, May 3.
The 2022-23 NHL postseason rolls on with second-round action, and tonight we get an Eastern Conference matchup early and a Western Conference tilt late.
Below, check out our hockey crew’s top picks for Devils vs. Hurricanes and Oilers vs. Golden Knights.
Devils vs. Hurricanes Player Prop
Tony Sartori: Game 1 of this Eastern Conference series is set to get underway with the Carolina Hurricanes hosting the New Jersey Devils. Carolina dominated puck possession in the opening round against the New York Islanders, out-shooting them 210-174 over the six-game series.
While New Jersey is obviously an entirely different beast to conquer, the Canes are still the better team in this series. Since the Christmas break, at five-on-five, Carolina ranks four spots higher than the Devils in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) and eight spots higher in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60).
Assuming that the Canes are able to win the xGoals share in this contest, then one of the guys who is most likely to contribute to that is defenseman Brent Burns, who found the high-danger scoring areas with relative ease in the opening series against the Islanders. In that first round, Burns ranked fifth among Carolina skaters in expected goals at five-on-five.
If he continues to find the prime scoring areas, then the shot-happy Burns will have no qualms in continuing to fire the puck. Averaging 4.5 shots on goal in the first round, Burns registered at least four shots on goal in five of the six games against New York.
Dating back to the regular season, he has recorded at least four shots in eight of his past 11 games, a trend likely to continue in this matchup.
Oilers vs. Golden Knights Moneyline
Nicholas Martin: The Oilers entered the playoffs as an extremely popular pick to be the eventual Stanley Cup winners. For good reason, as they have displayed drastically more well-balanced team play than we have ever seen in the McDavid/Draisaitl era.
Since the arrival of Mattias Ekholm, Edmonton has put up a 22-4-1 record. Their convincing first-round victory over a vastly underrated 104-point Los Angeles team deserves a lot of credit. They controlled play to a 54.01% expected goal share at even strength, which is very impressive considering the strength of competition faced.
The power play remained incredible, as you would expect, and Stuart Skinner did what was asked of him in goal.
The Knights absolutely dominated Winnipeg in round one, but I believe that victory over a beat-up Jets roster proved far less. The main positive was that Captain Mark Stone was back and in top form, which does mean a ton.
Even still, their defensive play was quietly awful down the stretch this season, and I remain unconvinced Laurent Brossoit will hold up in goal versus a lethal Oilers side.
I believe -114 is a great number to start backing Edmonton in Game 1 as opposed to betting a series price of -150.
Pick: Edmonton Oilers (-114)
Oilers vs. Golden Knights Total
Ryan Dadoun: The Edmonton Oilers easily led the league offensively with 3.96 goals per game in the regular season, and the Los Angeles Kings were unable to slow them down in the first round. It wasn’t for lack of trying on the Kings’ part – Joonas Korpisalo saved an incredible 108 of 116 shots over the first three contests – but Edmonton still piled on 25 goals in the six-game series.
That outcome is hardly surprising. When you surround Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl with a supporting cast that includes Evander Kane, Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, goals are going to come.
Consider this: Nugent-Hopkins had 37 tallies (along with 104 points) in the regular season but didn’t find the back of the net in the first round. That’s the power of the Oilers, though; they have so many offensive weapons that even if you shut down one, the team can still overwhelm you.
Laurent Brossoit did well against Winnipeg in the first round (2.42 GAA, .915 save percentage), but he’ll have a tough time handling Edmonton. Vegas shouldn’t be counted out of a high-scoring affair though.
The Golden Knights weren’t as impressive offensively during the regular season (3.26 goals per game), but they were missing Mark Stone for nearly half of the campaign. Now he’s healthy and provided three goals and eight points in five first-round appearances. Getting him back helped bolster Vegas to the point where the squad tallied 3.80 goals per game in their opening series, even with Winnipeg sending out a star goaltender in Connor Hellebuyck.
So, there’s plenty of cause to be optimistic about this game reaching the over – a conclusion my colleague Carol Schram also reached in her Oilers vs. Golden Knights game guide.
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