Welcome back to HNIC Coast To Coast! Every Friday, Canada Sports Betting previews all of the National Hockey League weekend action involving the seven Canadian teams. This week, we’re in for a treat, as a 32-team schedule on Saturday guarantees us a bit of action from the whole group, with an extra game on Sunday! This includes a Canada-on-Canada matchup in the 7:00 p.m. headliner spot. Let’s dive into the games at hand.
7:00 p.m. ET HNIC Matchup: Edmonton Oilers @ Montreal Canadiens
In a short-term vacuum, there is no hotter team in the NHL right now than the Edmonton Oilers. Since Dec. 21, the team has simply decided to stop losing hockey games, marking their ninth consecutive victory on Thursday against the Red Wings. It was a little close for comfort, with no scoring until the third period. Andrew Copp opened the scoring for Detroit, and while Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman followed it up to take the lead with six minutes to go, the Red Wings would again equalize not long after. Darnell Nurse ultimately capped the game off 1:20 into overtime, picking up a loose puck after a Hyman drive and extending the streak.
A few factors are going into this run. As you’ve probably gathered, two Edmonton forwards have particularly stepped things up – McDavid is back in megastar mode with 42 points over his last 21 games, and Hyman is already rapidly approaching his career high in goals, with 26 in 37 games, including 17 in his last 19 dating back to Nov. 22. Most importantly, though, is that the goaltending has held up during this streak, with Stuart Skinner going 6-0-0 with a .950 SV% and Calvin Pickard putting up two fine starts to give him some rest along the way.
Can they keep it up against Montreal? That’ll be interesting to see, as they’ll be hungry after becoming the answer to “Who ends this Sharks losing streak?”, after falling 3-2 to San Jose in regulation on Thursday. Parts of the team have been producing of late – their top line of Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki and Juraj Slafkovsky hasn’t been dominant but they’ve been in the mix, and their first pair of Mike Matheson and David Savard has grabbed some points down the stretch – but it’s becoming increasingly clear that this battle to hang around .500 will likely falter for the long haul soon enough.
Bet on Oilers vs. Canadiens
10:00 p.m. ET HNIC Headliner: Calgary Flames @ Vegas Golden Knights
Things are finally starting to come around for the Calgary Flames, at least a little. We touched on this last week as well, but after a brief scare earlier in the week, that momentum has continued. In the past month, the team has posted an 8-4-2 record, built upon Thursday with a decisive 6-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes.
Firstly, the part with their dads running the post-game high-five line was great. But there’s also a matter of some of their most important players starting to elevate. Jonathan Huberdeau has followed up that nightmarish 12-game points drought from December with eight points in seven games since New Year’s Eve, which has to be a relief to anyone remotely tied to the organization. Elias Lindholm, who might end up being a trade chip at the deadline if the team is still not at the takeoff stage by then, has 11 points in his last 14. Nazem Kadri has seven points in his last five and 11 in his last 11, Yegor Sharangovich’s five goals in his last two games put him over a point per game since the beginning of December, and since returning from injury in December, Jacob Markstorm has put up a .933 save percentage over nine games.
Getting this level of contribution from stars who have struggled for stretches is no doubt great news and a necessity if they want this to be a corner turned. As for Saturday, it won’t be an easy challenge for them. They’re heading to T-Mobile Arena to take on the defending champs, but if there’s a time for them to feel confident against Vegas, it’s probably right now. The Golden Knights are 4-8-0 over the past month, and the season series is tight, with both teams winning a game and both games going to overtime. As such, the Flames are more intriguing picks to come out on top than their records would suggest.
Bet on Flames vs. Golden Knights
Other Canadian NHL Games On Saturday
There are four other games in Canadian NHL action on Saturday:
Vancouver Canucks @ Buffalo Sabres, 4:00 p.m. ET – Perhaps in a tribute to Pete Carroll’s end of his Seahawks regime in nearby Seattle, Elias Pettersson has decided that he plans to Win Forever. The superstar centre now has game-winning goals in four consecutive road games and has an opportunity to make it five against the Sabres. While things have been up and down for Buffalo of late, they have strung together three wins in their last four games – though Montreal, Pittsburgh, and Ottawa certainly are a far cry from the league’s hottest sticks in Vancouver.
San Jose Sharks @ Ottawa Senators, 4:00 p.m. ET – In most cases you’d go into this game feeling bad for what the Sharks are about to receive, but there’s a legitimate case for them to come out ahead in this one. San Jose finally snapped their 12-game losing streak against Montreal on Thursday and the Senators, well, the struggles continue, even post-coaching change. They’ve dropped five in a row after also playing on Thursday and losing to Buffalo. If there’s a time for a truly gut-punching loss, it might be now.
Colorado Avalanche @ Toronto Maple Leafs, 7:00 p.m. ET – Two heavyweights collide for a rare second-fiddle evening for the Leafs on HNIC, bested only by a Canada-on-Canada matchup. With that said, you’d be hard-pressed to find two teams with more star power. We’ll have a separate preview for this game on Saturday morning.
Philadelphia Flyers @ Winnipeg Jets, 7:00 p.m. ET – The Jets remain the hottest team in the NHL from a medium-term perspective, winning their eighth in a row against Chicago on Thursday and improving to an insane 16-1-2 in their last 19 games. I think it’s the Squirtle Sax leading the way. The Flyers, who they have yet to face this season, continue to be a tougher challenge than expected this year and the acquisition of Jamie Drysdale earlier in the week will only add further to that.
|San Jose Sharks
|Toronto Maple Leafs
|Vegas Golden Knights
Sunday Canadian NHL Action
There is just one game in Canadian NHL action this Sunday:
Detroit Red Wings @ Toronto Maple Leafs, 7:00 p.m. ET – With all 32 teams playing on Saturday, the Maple Leafs are one of four teams and the only Canadian team that finds itself doing double duty this weekend. As always, we’ll have a dedicated preview for this game on Sunday.