Top NHL Betting Picks for Monday, May 31 (2021)

Memorial Day brings us a light day in the NHL with a mere two games scheduled. Being that we have all day on a national holiday, puck drop for each contest is scheduled a half-hour apart. God Bless you, NHL. With both games being relatively lopsided odds-wise, we’ll try to find some value in a hotly contested East Division rivalry that promises to excite.

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Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

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New York Islanders (+165) vs. Boston Bruins (-195)

These two teams met Saturday night when David Pastrnak and his suit steamrolled the Islanders 5-2. Although the game was tied after two periods, it was never that close, as the Bruins were in control throughout the contest.

Many thought the first game of this series would be tight as the teams needed to feel one another out – which is odd, considering they played in the same division all season, but I digress.

In fairness, both teams do play a defensive-minded style, but with the resurgent Taylor Hall and “perfection line” firing on all cylinders, it will be tough for the Isles to keep their foes in check.

Although he let in four goals, goaltender, Ilya Sorokin played well and kept his team in the game until the flood gates opened in the final frame. The Isles will need to lean on him heavily if they have any chance in this series.

Both teams had similar advanced metrics in the regular season – nearly identical in xGF%, GF/60, and xGA/60. We certainly should keep this in mind, but I prefer to judge the postseason game-by-game.

So, let’s dig deeper and analyze the metrics 5v5 from Game 1 below:

Number’s courtesy of Natural Stat Trick

CF%:91 (BOS) 34.09 (NYI)
HDCF: 12 (BOS) 2 (NYI)
xGF:27 (BOS) 0.81 (NYI)
xGF%:09 (BOS) 19.91 (NYI)

Statistically, this game was not remotely close as Boston controlled possession by a significant margin whilst generating six times as many high-danger chances as their opponent.

One major disadvantage that will plague the Islanders in this series is their lack of offensive firepower. If Brock Nelson is your leading goal-scorer throughout the year, well, you’re not going to be able to hang with the big boys.

I believe this team will attempt to play their lockdown style and keep this Bruins team in check but asking Sorokin to stand on his head each game will be a tall task.

I anticipate this Boston team to keep its momentum going and roll again on home ice.

Picks: Boston Bruins in Regulation (-110) Over 5 (-129) 

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