NHL Betting Guide: Friday 5/21/21

Game 3s are always a pivotal part of a series. It either helps a team move into a 2-1 scenario and carry all the momentum into Game 4 or has a team place a stranglehold on their opponent by going up 3-0. We saw last night how entertaining Game 3s could be and with two scheduled tonight, we're in store for another exciting night of playoff hockey.

Here are a couple of plays from our daily projections!

Nashville Predators vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Predators moneyline (+124): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The Nashville Predators are down 2-0 in their series against the Carolina Hurricanes, but they gave the Canes all Carolina could handle in Game 2. With the series now shifting venues and moving to Nashville, will home ice be the advantage the Preds need to steal Game 3?

The Preds out-chanced the Canes in scoring chances and high-danger chances at five-on-five- in Game 2. Their biggest strength was their ability to limit a potent Carolina offense. The Hurricanes were held to just 14 scoring chances and five high-danger chances at five-on-five. Slowing down the Canes isn't an easy task, but the Predators did an outstanding job at five-on-five.

The problem was special teams. Nashville failed to do anything with their seven power-play chances, creating only four scoring chances and two high-danger opportunities while giving up five in each category in over 13 minutes of power-play time. The difference in the game was the power-play goal Carolina recorded in the first, as they added an empty-netter and late tally en route to a 3-0 victory.

Tonight's game will be Carolina's first playoff game this season as the visitor, and their road metrics to end the season illustrate that their backs may be up against the wall. The Canes recorded just one goal at five-on-five over their final two road games, both of which came against Nashville. That makes four of their last six road games in which they scored two or fewer goals at five-on-five.

Their production metrics are also diminished as the visitors, as the Hurricanes failed to record more than eight high-danger opportunities at five-on-five in four of their last five road games and 19 or fewer scoring chances in four of their last six.

The betting market overvalues the Hurricanes in Game 3, creating an edge in backing the Predators. Based on our projections, taking the Preds on the moneyline is a one-star play.

St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche

Blues +1.5 (-152): 3-Star Rating Out of 5

The final outcome of Game 2 isn't an accurate reflection of the effort the St. Louis Blues put forth in versus the Colorado Avalanche. The Blues controlled play at five-on-five but failed to outscore the Avs, and then Colorado pulled away thanks to better special teams. The series moves to St. Louis for Game 3, where the Blues can use home ice to climb back into this series.

At five-on-five in Game 2, the Blues limited the Avalanche to 16 scoring chances and five high-danger opportunities, out-chancing them in both metrics. The Blues possession metrics also jumped significantly, going from a Corsi rating of 34.3% in Game 1 to 48.5% in Game 2. Shots were also more balanced, with each team attempting 30 in the second game after the Avs out-shot the Blues 43-17 in Game 1. Altogether, it was a much more cohesive effort from the Blues.

Those metrics should shift even further in favor of the Blues as they have the benefit of home-ice advantage for the first time this postseason. St. Louis has outscored their opponents on home ice at five-on-five in four of their last six games. Their strength has been better defensive efforts, as they have limited eight of their last 10 home opponents to nine or fewer high-danger chances.

The Avs have also been less effective at creating chances as the visitors. Colorado has failed to eclipse nine high-danger chances at five-on-five in four of their last five road games. There is a net effect on output, as the Avs have failed to record more than two goals at five-on-five in any of their last four road games, outscoring just one of their opponents.

Colorado has failed to win by two or more goals in any of their last eight road games while the Blues have won four of their last five at home. Even if Blues can't win, they should at least keep it close. It's on that basis that the Blues +1.5 wager is rated as a three-star play, per our projections.