NHL picks, bets immediately: Newest strains for Rangers at Penguins, Avalanche at Predators and extra

In Saturday’s games, the home teams won three games to take 2-1 series lead in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Washington, Pittsburgh and Dallas took a series leads while Colorado is a game away from a sweep.

There were also plenty of goals. The Penguins and Avalanche each scored seven goals in wins and the Capitals scored six in a blow out win against Florida. Even the Dallas-Calgary game saw six goals, which is an outburst compared to the first two games of that series.

Monday’s Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule:

Every day during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, The Athletic’s writers will make their picks, straight up. We put our picks, the TV schedule and all series coverage, plus the latest odds, all in one place for fans to easily digest and follow. Our in-depth NHL coverage is linked below the picks. For live NHL odds from BetMGM, click here.

Panthers at Capitals

Team Moneyline Total

-175

O 6.5 (-135)

+145

U 6.5 (+110)

Game 3: Capitals 6, Panthers 1 | Washington leads 2-1

What was the key?: The Panthers were a top-five team in generating offense from the slot off the rush in the regular season at five-on-five, according to Sportlogiq. Through the first two games of this series, the Capitals have worked to limit that, only allowing eight slot attempts against, four of which went on the goal, two of which ended in the back of the net. That ability to convert, even on few chances, shows why this has been such a priority for Washington. In Game 3, after generating a rush chance for β€” one that ended up in the back of the net, thanks to Jonathan Huberdeauto open the scoring β€” the Panthers only mustered one more shot attempt in transitioning the rest of the game.

Key stat: Zero. The Panthers have scored zero power-play goals since shifting away from the five-forward top unit that excelled late in the season. It’s not Aaron Ekblad’s fault, and it’s understandable to want him to return to the position he held pre-injury. But why fix what isn’t broken? And why wait so long to bring it back this game after the team is clearly struggling?

Panthers Worry Meter: πŸ₯΄πŸ₯΄πŸ₯΄πŸ₯΄… Maybe there was a point to how their style of play would hold up in the postseason. And the coaching adjustments aren’t inspiring any confidence.

Capitals Worry Meter: πŸ™ƒπŸ™ƒβ€¦ It’s still not a pretty picture for their top players below the surface, so we still have some doubts.

– Shayna Goldman

Writer Straight Up Pick

Dom Luszczyszyn

Sean Gentile

Sean McIndoe

Kevin Kurz

Jesse Granger

Shayna Goldman


Rangers at Penguins

Team Moneyline Total

-120

O 6 (-110)

+100

U 6 (-110)

Game 3: Penguins 7, Rangers 4 | Pittsburgh leads 2-1

What was the key?: Evan Rodrigues’ first period. The Penguins forward, after some mid-winter Alexei Kovalev cosplay, regressed to the mean with authority (32 points pre-All Star; 11 points post-All Star). In Game 3, he threw it back to November, scoring twice and nearly getting credit for a third that went to Jeff Carter. It all added up to a 4-1 lead that the Penguins couldn’t quite blow … which they might’ve, had Rodrigues’ heat-check backward pass on a delayed penalty been two inches to the side. But whatever.

Key stat: After two periods of the Rangers carrying nearly every stat you could imagine at five-on-five β€” and, again, blowing a three-goal lead β€” Pittsburgh locked down in the third period, controlling expected goals (72 percent), shot attempts ( 22-9), scoring chances (14-4) and high-danger chances (6-2).

Penguins worry meter: πŸ™ƒπŸ™ƒ … They’re going to need Tristan Jarry at some point, and they’re close to buying enough time.

Rangers worry meter: 😬😬😬 … Igor Shesterkin is the trump card, but a 2-1 deficit speaks for itself.

β€” Sean Gentile

Writer Straight Up Pick

Dom Luszczyszyn

Sean Gentile

Sean McIndoe

Kevin Kurz

Jesse Granger

Shayna Goldman


Avalanche at Predators

Team Moneyline Total

-250

O 6.5 (-110)

+200

U 6.5 (-110)

Game 3: Avalanche 7, Predators 3 | Colorado leads 3-0

Who was the guy? All the usual Colorado suspects were excellent in this one, but Gabriel Landeskog gets the nod for scoring the go-ahead goal twice, barely three minutes apart, during a wild, back-and-forth second period. Landeskog added two assists for his first four-point game in the postseason.

What was the key? The difference between Colorado and Nashville is, in our Predators beat writer Adam Vingan’s words, β€œchasmic.” The difference between the two teams when Colorado is on the power play was downright cosmic. Comic, even. Or maybe tragic, depending on what side you were on. The Avalanche scored on their first four power plays of the night, and here’s how long it took them to do it each time: 79 seconds, 22 seconds, 34 seconds, 39 seconds. Per SportLogiq, the Avalanche spent 73.8 percent of their power-play time in the offensive zone. That’s a lot! It’s also pretty close to what they averaged in the regular season (74.7 percent). And it’s also well below the 82 percent they logged in Games 1 and 2. Nashville should stop taking penalties, is what we’re saying here.

Key stat: Nashville had a pair of power-play goals of its own, making it six PPGs combined through 40 minutes. It’s been 10 years since two teams combined for more than that, as the Penguins and Flyers combined for seven in Game 4 of the 2012 playoffs, a game Pittsburgh won 10-3.

β€” Mark Lazerus

Writer Straight Up Pick

Dom Luszczyszyn

Sean Gentile

Sean McIndoe

Kevin Kurz

Jesse Granger

Shayna Goldman


Flames at Stars

Team Moneyline Total

-155

O 5.5 (+105)

+125

U 5.5 (-125)

Game 3: Stars 4, Flames 2 | Dallas leads 2-1

Who was the guy?: It’s the inverse of Pens-Rangers; the best player in the game was also our guy. What a night for Joe Pavelski β€” his first goal tied the game 2-2, and his second turned out to be the winner. In a series where the Stars, by design, have choked the offensive life out of Calgary, Pavelski now has as many goals (three) as the Flames’ entire roster. Pavelski turns 38 in July and just had a career-high 81 points. Dallas signed him to a $5.5 million extension through next season. That’s already money well spent.

What was the key?: The way Dallas responded to Elias Lindholm’s go-ahead goal for the Flames early in the second period. After that, they locked in at five-on-five and, as usual, got enough from the Pavelski-Roope Hintz-Jason Robertson line to pull even heading into the third.

Stars worry meter: 🀠 … What’s to worry about? They were heavy underdogs, they’ve done exactly what they came to do, and the series is there for the taking.

Flames worry meter: 😬😬😬 … This was a regression from their Game 2 loss. It’s not full-blown panic time, but it’s … three-quarters-blown panic time, let’s say.

β€” Sean Gentile

Writer Straight Up Pick

Dom Luszczyszyn

Sean Gentile

Sean McIndoe

Kevin Kurz

Jesse Granger

Shayna Goldman


Picks records (thru Sunday night)

Writer Record

Jesse Granger

11-17

Dom Luszczyszyn

16-12

Sean McIndoe

16-12

Kevin Kurz

15-13

Shayna Goldman

15-13

Sean Gentile

12-16

NHL playoff predictions 2022: 1st-round winners, most overrated, dark horse, Stanley Cup champion and more

More Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage: News | Podcasts | Odds

(Photo of Evan Rodrigues: Joe Sargent / NHLI via Getty Images)

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