There are only two games on the NHL slate this Wednesday as we have 13 games on Tuesday and 12 games on Thursday. Both home teams will have a big advantage too, as these games are not part of a back-to-back for either the Colorado Avalanche or the Edmonton Oilers. However, the Pittsburgh Penguins will have to play on the road on Thursday night, and the Arizona Coyotes will have to play away from home on Tuesday night. That will lead to the two Western Conference Finals teams from last year being big favorites by the NHL betting odds.
NHL Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook
Pittsburgh Penguins at Colorado Avalanche
We have not seen good play out of the Pittsburgh Penguins over the last week. Pittsburgh has lost four straight games, and the Penguins would be out of the playoffs if the season were to end today. The Pens are now one point behind the Florida Panthers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and they have three teams that are a handful of points behind them.
The goaltending for the Penguins has not been good this season, and it hasn’t been good since Matt Murray left the team at the end of the 2019-20 campaign. All three Pittsburgh goaltenders have a GAA over 3.00 and Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith both have a .907 save percentage. Jarry has been the better option for most of the season, but he has been abysmal in the month of March. In his eight starts, Jarry is 2-3-1 with a 4.36 GAA and a paltry .849 save percentage.
That’s not a good sign ahead of a showdown with the defending Stanley Cup champions. Colorado is finally hitting its stride with six straight victories, and the Avalanche are now just one point behind Dallas for the Metropolitan Division lead. Three of Colorado’s six wins in this stretch have been by at least four goals too, so there’s a decent chance that the Avalanche simply slap down the Penguins.
Although Colorado still doesn’t have Gabriel Landeskog, they have a lot of goal scoring power. Nathan MacKinnon leads the team with 89 points, and Mikko Rantanen is three goals away from his first 50-goal season. However, star defender Cale Makar is considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury, and third-leading scorer Artturi Lehkonen will be out for the next month with a broken finger.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are past their prime, and Pittsburgh’s defense is a mess right now with three players out. That should be enough for Colorado to get the win over Pittsburgh.
Arizona Coyotes at Edmonton Oilers
The Arizona Coyotes might be a bit of a laughingstock since they don’t have a home arena, but they have won four straight games and are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games. Clayton Keller has had a very nice season with 75 points to lead the way, and the Coyotes have two 20+ goal scorers in Nick Schmaltz and Lawson Crouse.
This team has largely benefited from having a lot of home games recently though. Arizona has only played two road games since February 18, and that has made the Coyotes a bit more respectable. However, they are about to take a road trip north of the border to take on Winnipeg and Edmonton in back-to-back nights, and the thought of facing the Oilers while being fatigued is a scary one.
Connor McDavid is having one of the greatest seasons we’ve seen in the 21st Century. McDavid should win at least three awards this summer as he has 58 goals and 78 assists for a total of 136 points. He has 30 more points than the next closest player, and he has 10 more goals than anyone else in the NHL. He has tallied four goals and eight assists in his last five games, so it's hard to imagine Arizona keeping him off the scorer’s sheet.
Additionally, Edmonton has the only other 100-point scorer in the NHL in Leon Draisaitl. The German juggernaut has 44 goals and 62 assists, and he has been unstoppable on the power play with 27 PP Goals and 25 PP Assists.A