4 picks and predictions for Saturday night

Check out the Betway Insider’s NHL picks and predictions page for best bets throughout the 2020-21 NHL season.

Tampa Bay Lightning to beat Columbus Blue Jackets 

The conflict between Pierre-Luc Dubois and John Tortorella resulted in Dubois being benched for two full periods in the Blue Jackets’ overtime loss to the Lightning on Thursday, then being called out post game.

Under normal circumstances, you would expect Dubois to be shot out of a cannon for the next matchup, but his effort level has been suspect since requesting a trade.

Columbus have lost all but one game this season, and rank 20th in expected goals for percentage at 5-vs-5, whereas the Lightning rank third, at nearly 60 per cent.

When the Blue Jackets aren’t playing as a cohesive unit and aren’t getting great goaltending, they’re not very good.

Montreal Canadiens to beat Vancouver Canucks

This is the third game in four nights between these two teams, and at even strength the Canadiens have held an incredible advantage.

A lack of discipline has put Montreal in trouble in several games, but at 5-vs-5 they rank second in the league with an expected goals for percentage of 61.2 per cent.

Undefeated in regulation through five games, the Canadiens face a Canucks squad that is down two regular defencemen due to injury in Alex Edler and Travis Hamonic. Vancouver aren’t a great defensive team at the best of times. 

Boston Bruins to beat Philadelphia Flyers

Playing without Sean Couturier is a tough situation for Philly, but they’ve managed to be extremely lucky so far at even strength.

While their expected goals for percentage ranks 28th in the league at 42.8 per cent, they’ve actually scored 53.8 per cent of the goals.

Contrast that with the Bruins, who have controlled play to the tune of earning a 55.8 per cent expected goals percentage at 5-vs-5, and yet have scored just 32.3 per cent of the goals.

The Bruins finally started scoring a bit on Thursday, though, and I expect that to continue.

St. Louis Blues to beat Los Angeles Kings

The Kings earned their first win of the season in a dramatic upset over the Stanley Cup favourite in the Colorado Avalanche, but I don’t see that kind of performance repeating two games in a row.

The Blues are coming off of a shootout loss where they absolutely crushed their opponent by every measure of performance, but couldn’t squeeze another goal through Martin Jones to seal the victory.

I would imagine they’re a bit upset about that and, since they rank fourth in the league in expected goals for percentage compared to the Kings at 30th, I’m betting the Blues end up taking out that frustration on the Kings in a big way.

Visit Betway’s NHL betting page.

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