NHL weekend preview: Goals galore

Andy Devlin / National Hockey League / Getty

We have a busy weekend ahead on the ice with 19 games over the next couple of days - eight on Friday night and 11 on Saturday.

Let's highlight some of the bets that stick out.

Panthers (-200) @ Canucks (+180)
Jan. 21, 10 p.m. ET

Goals follow the Panthers. Their dynamic offense can keep up with anybody, and that's no exaggeration. Florida leads the NHL in goals with 164.

The Panthers' style of play welcomes a track meet - especially when Spencer Knight is between the pipes. The highly-touted prospect has struggled to find his footing at the NHL level, owning a putrid .893 save percentage while conceding at least three goals in seven of his last nine starts.

Put simply, they tend to be high-event games when Knight is in net. The Panthers have to give him a handful of goals to have a realistic shot at winning.

Even in a back-to-back, I don't think that'll be much of an issue tonight. Thatcher Demko, one of the league's hottest goaltenders, isn't available due to a positive COVID-19 test. The same can be said of backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak.

As such, the Canucks will have to turn to their third-string netminder against the highest-scoring team in the NHL. That doesn't seem ideal.

While not having J.T. Miller (COVID-19 protocol) hurts Vancouver's offense, it still has the pieces to contribute and put at least a couple behind Knight.

I see fireworks in this one.

Bet: Over 6.5 goals (-120)

Flames (+105) @ Oilers (-125)
Jan. 22, 10 p.m. ET

Both sides are limping into this crucial Battle of Alberta. The Flames have dropped four of the last five games, being outscored by nine goals in that span.

They've won only won three of their last 10 overall but somehow enter this contest on a higher note than the Oilers. That's crazy, I know. Edmonton has won just two of its last 10 games.

As easy as it'd be to pile on the narrative that both teams are playing like garbage, the reality is each side probably deserves better.

Calgary, for example, ranks fifth in high-danger chances per minute over the last 10 games. The Flames are generating great opportunities in bulk but struggle to put them in the back of the net. Unfortunately, goaltending hasn't been able to mask those struggles. An unsustainably low PDO (shooting percentage plus save percentage) of 0.955 makes them look worse than they actually are.

It's a similar story for the Oilers. Shockingly, their five-on-five PDO over the same period is ... 0.956.

They have controlled nearly 54% of the expected goals during this rough spell - putting them seventh in the NHL, sandwiched between the Panthers and Penguins. Their best players just haven't finished, while the goaltending has made matters worse.

At some point, these offenses are going to break out. Both teams feature a few dynamic stars up top, so the shooting woes aren't going to last forever, especially going up against struggling netminders.

I'm going to bank on some regression kicking in and this game going over the number.

Bet: Over 6 goals (-110)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

NHL weekend preview: Goals galore
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