NHL Monday best bets: Coyotes to howl at home
We have a full slate of games to comb through on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As a result, we're going to give out standard best bets *and* shot props, something that is yet to happen on a Monday.
Let's get into it.
The Los Angeles Kings are playing some truly fantastic hockey right now. They've won seven of the last 10 games and have controlled a whopping 57.68% of the expected goals at five-on-five in that span. Only the Vegas Golden Knights and Boston Bruins have fared better in that regard.
While the Kings aren't overflowing with high-end talent and natural finishing, their ability to control such a large share of the expected goals has made them a very difficult team to beat, especially considering how good their goaltending is.
Jonathan Quick has turned back the clock this season, saving 18.1 goals above expectation thus far. That ranks third in the NHL.
His platoon partner, Cal Petersen, leads all goaltenders in five-on-five save percentage since the beginning of December. It doesn't matter who the Kings start - they're consistently getting great goaltending.
Combine that with the fact they're outchancing their opponent on a nightly basis, and it's not hard to see why they're piling up the wins.
The San Jose Sharks aren't pushovers, but I see a few edges for the Kings in this game. L.A. is better at controlling the run of play, and the team also has much better goaltending.
James Reimer is expected back in the lineup Monday. That would've been big news a couple of months ago. But Reimer has really struggled, posting a .899 save percentage over the last two months.
The Kings should get more of the chances in this game. Given the difference in the caliber of goaltender - regardless of who starts - I expect that to be enough for them to pull out another win.
Bet: Kings (-115)
It's not every day you want to back the Arizona Coyotes - let alone as favorites - but that's what this situation calls for.
The Montreal Canadiens are awful. They've won one of their previous 10 games and have scored fewer five-on-five goals than all but the Anaheim Ducks in that time. They're consistently outchanced and rarely convert on the opportunities they do get.
The Coyotes aren't a lethal offensive team, but they'll be aided by Montreal starter Sam Montembeault. On average, he's given up 0.53 goals more than expected on a per-start basis. Only seven goaltenders to play even semi-regularly have been worse.
Karel Vejmelka, by comparison, has conceded only 1.3 goals more than expected through 21 appearances. That's -0.07 GSAE per start.
With a big edge in goal, and home ice, I think Arizona is priced a little too short here.
Tage Thompson over 2.5 shots on goal (-130) vs. the Detroit Red Wings - Thompson has been lethal on home soil this season, averaging 3.9 shots on goal per game and going over the total of 2.5 shots in 15 of 18 contests. The Red Wings bleed shots, so I don't expect them to be one of the rare sides that can limit Thompson in Buffalo.
Nazem Kadri over 3.5 shots on goal (+120) vs. the Minnesota Wild - Kadri has been a shooting machine of late, recording at least four shots on goal in 12 of his last 18 games (66% hit rate). The Wild are struggling on the defensive side of things as a byproduct of all their injuries. Believe it or not, they rank 30th in attempts against per 60 over the last 10. I like Kadri in this spot, especially at such juicy odds.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.