With the NHL making its return to action on Saturday, August 1, with 24 teams going all-out to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs with its 24-team qualifying tournament, it’s time to take a look at who’s in action during the first weekend of play. The opening qualifying contests will consist of, both, round robin and best-of-five series matchups. All games will take place in the NHL Bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton.
2020 NHL Playoffs Opening Weekend Betting Outlook
Saturday, August 1
NY Rangers at Carolina at 12:00 PM ET (NBCSN)
If you didn’t know before – now you do. New York has gone 5-1 in their last six road dates against Carolina, not to mention the fact that the Rangers were a blistering 44-26 ATS at the time the season was suspended while Carolina was just 32-36 ATS. Still, the Hurricane enter this affair with one more victory (38) than New York this season, though they lost all four regular season meetings while getting outscored 17-9 along the way.
Chicago at Edmonton at 3:00 PM ET (NBC)
Edmonton recorded five more wins than Chicago during the regular season (37-32) while ranking an identical 15th in scoring (3.1 gpg) and goals allowed (3.0 gpg). The Blackhawks were putting up 3.0 goals per game at the break (30th) and tied with the Oilers in goals allowed (3.1 gpg). The favorite in this rivalry has gone 5-2 in the last seven meetings and Chicago took two of three during the regular season.
Montreal at Pittsburgh at 8:00 PM ET (NBC)
Montreal might be in the postseason, but they were nine games under .500 at the hiatus and an identical nine wins behind Pittsburgh in the win column. The Canadiens are ranked an identical 19th in scoring (2.9 gpg) and goals allowed (3.1 gpg) while Pittsburgh ranks 10th in scoring (3.2 gpg) and 12th in goals allowed (2.8 gpg). The Penguins took two of three during the regular season and have won eight of the last 11 meetings overall. Yikes!
Sunday, August 2
Arizona at Nashville at 2:00 PM ET (USA Network)
Arizona struggles to score in averaging a paltry 2.7 goals per game, but the Coyotes are elite defensively in limiting the opposition to just 2.6 goals per game (third). Nashville averages and allows 3.1 goals per game. These rivals split their two regular season meetings and have split the last 10 meetings evenly.
Philadelphia at Boston at 3:00 PM ET (NBC)
Boston leads the NHL in fewest goals allowed per game (2.4) and they rank an encouraging 10th in scoring as well (3.2 gpg). Philadelphia however, ranks an identical seventh in scoring (3.3 gpg) and goals allowed (2.8 gpg) and hit the break as arguably the hottest team in all of hockey, though they dropped their last contest 2-0 against…you guessed it – Boston. Still, Philly won two of three regular season meetings and four of the last five meetings overall.
St. Louis at Colorado at 6:30 PM ET (NBCSN)
These two title hopefuls hit the break with an identical 42 victories to sit atop the Western Conference standings. The defending champion Blues rank 14th in scoring, (3.1 gpg) but a stellar fifth in goals allowed (2.7 gpg). Colorado however, ranks a stupendous fourth in scoring (3.4 gpg) and equally impressive sixth in goals allowed (2.7 gpg). After dropping their first two regular season meetings, the Avs exploded in outscoring the Blues 12-6 in taking the next two.