Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs
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We continue to be on Alex Ovechkin watch as the Washington Capitals star aims to climb up the NHL‘s all-time goals list. Earlier this week, Ovechkin tied Brett Hull for fourth place on the all-time list with the 741st goal of his career.

During Thursday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, Ovechkin registered an assist, but was scoreless on the stat sheet in a 2-0 win. Aside from the all-time goals chase, Ovechkin is having an incredible season thus far. The Capitals forward currently has 22 points (11 goals and 11 assists) and only trails Edmonton Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl for the most points in the league. 

First of all, it’s impressive that Ovechkin is having this kind of success at 36 years old. However, the even more spectacular part of his success is the fact that Ovechkin is doing this without playmaker Nicklas Backstrom, who has yet to play this season due to a hip injury. It’s almost like Ovechkin doesn’t age and it won’t be surprising if he plays well into his 40s much like Jaromir Jagr did.

While I’m not on the Capitals since they’re on the second night of a back-to-back, there are a few games I really like on Friday’s NHL slate.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket


🏒  Oilers at Sabres, 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Oilers (-175): If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s exactly why continuing to ride with the Oilers is a great move. The Oilers have jumped out to a 10-2-0 record this season and own the best record in the Western Conference. That’s bound to happen when a team possesses the top two points leaders across the entire league. Connor McDavid continues to dazzle the hockey world and is cementing his standing as the best player in the world. Edmonton has won five of its last six games and as we found out last Friday, they’re never out of a game.

Meanwhile, the Sabres haven’t struggled quite as much as many thought. The Jack Eichel saga is in the rearview mirror and the franchise can focus on rebuilding its roster. As if the Oilers offense isn’t dangerous enough, the Sabres are sending backup goaltender Dustin Tokarski to the crease on Friday. Tokarski has a 1-3-2 record to go along with a 3.10 goals-against-average and .902 save percentage. The journeyman netminder has surrendered at least four goals in each of his last three starts and is coming off a performance in which he surrendered five goals to the Capitals on Monday. The Oilers should have no problem winning this one.

Key Trend: The Oilers are 12-3 in their last 15 games after scoring five or more goals in their previous game

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Frederik Andersen Carolina Hurricanes

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🏒  Flyers at Hurricanes, 7 p.m. | TV:
The Pick: Under 5.5 goals (+105):
This may be the most intriguing matchup on Friday’s slate and for good reason. The Hurricanes have the second-most points in the entire league while the Flyers have been fairly consistent despite missing forward Kevin Hayes in the lineup. 

This game is going to come down to goaltending and we’ve got two great ones in net. Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen has been sensational this season after coming over from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Andersen has put together a 9-1-0 record to go along with a 1.73 goals against average, which is the fourth-best mark in the league. Andersen has also allowed one goal or less in six of his starts while recording one shutout. 

On the other hand, Carter Hart may have a 3-3-2 record, but he owns a 2.49 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. Hart has only allowed more than three goals in one start this season and is coming off a 30-save performance against the Maple Leafs. In addition, the Flyers and Hurricanes have two of the top three lowest goals-against-averages across the league. While both offenses are capable of scoring several goals, I expect both goalies to rise to the occasion like they have so far this season and turn quite a few pucks away.

Key Trend: The under is 19-7-2 in the Hurricanes last 28 games as a home favorite

🏒  Flames at Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. | TV:
The Pick: Maple Leafs (-190)
: The Maple Leafs struggled out of the gate as they lost five of their first seven games. Since then, a light bulb has gone off for Toronto and they’ve won six out of their last seven games. During that stretch, Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews has really elevated his game to a whole different level. After registering just one point over his first four games, Matthews has accumulated four goals and five assists over Toronto’s stellar seven-game stretch. It also doesn’t hurt that the Maple Leafs will have goaltender Jack Campbell in net, who owns a 1.90 goals-against-average so far this season.

The Flames were one of the feel-good stories early on this season, but it appears that they have come down back to earth. Calgary has dropped four of its last five games and has only scored a grand total of eight goals in those four defeats. One of the biggest reasons for the Flames being in most games has been the play of Jacob Markstrom in between the pipes. As of this writing, the Flames haven’t named a starting netminder, but considering that Markstrom played against the Canadiens last night, it’s likely that backup Dan Vladar will be in net. Vladar has just two starts on the season and has given up six goals in those appearances. The goalie matchup combined with the Maple Leafs’ stellar offense are why we’re going with the home team in this one.

Key Trend: The Maple Leafs are 6-1 in their last seven games as a favorite