Best player props for Sunday's NHL slate: Relying on top goal scorers

Jun 5, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) celebrates as he scores a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period in game four of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena.
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Mark Lammey

NHL· 1 month ago

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I've been a capper since my love for sports met my proficiency with numbers and math. The NFL and NCAAF have always been my first loves, followed by the NHL. Although I prefer sports that involve hitting people, I still love capping MLB, soccer, tennis, and even some esports. Living in Florida has its perks like year-round sports of any kind.

The weekend slate wraps up with games throughout the afternoon and into the evening. While some matchups feature teams fighting for playoff seeding, others have very little meaning. Even with those situations, there is always value to be found in the player prop market. Let’s focus on the Lightning fighting for a third straight Stanley Cup and a Blackhawks team trying to prove their better than their record shows. Along with our player props, be sure to check out our full game previews for tonight’s matchups.

Nikita Kucherov over 1.5 points (+125)

The Lightning have hit arguably their worst rough patch in the past three seasons. They’ve lost four straight and have slipped down to fourth in the Atlantic Division. They still have a roster filled with two-time Stanley Cup winners, led by Nikita Kucherov. Kucherov and company have the experience and knowledge to understand the importance of this last month of the season. The Sabres provide the perfect opportunity for them to get back on track.

Firstly, Buffalo has been relying on a 40-year-old goaltender in Craig Anderson. He’s had a respectable career, but the Sabres are currently allowing over 3.5 goals per game. Even with this rough stretch, the Lightning are still in the top ten in goal scoring. This is in large part because of Kucherov. He has remained consistent and loves feasting on Buffalo. The last time Tampa took on the Sabres, Kucherov recorded three points with a hat trick. He’s also still skating alongside Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point. In doing so, he is provided with an abundance of opportunities for points as they are also perennial point-per-game skaters. It may not end up being another hat trick, but expect Kucherov to be involved in multiple goals.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Buffalo Sabres at Tampa Bay Lightning.

Alex DeBrincat over 0.5 goals (+125)

The Blackhawks were shut out in their last game. Chicago has struggled this season, but that shutout coming to the expansion Seattle Kraken was especially embarrassing. While the ‘Hawks are clearly not looking forward to the postseason, no one in the league would deny the talent of Alex DeBrincat alongside Patrick Kane. They have been trying to carry the team as best they can this season. They’ll have to look to do so against a Stars team that comes in on a back-to-back with a backup goaltender.

DeBrincat has been a bright spot for a tribe destined for a rebuild this offseason. He has 67 points in his 71 games, 39 of them being goals. He certainly isn’t shy about taking his chances, either, with 230 shots in 2021-22. Skating alongside Patrick Kane is also a huge boost to his goal scoring as Kane has 80 points on the season. Better yet, 58 of those points have assists. The Stars goaltending has been formidable this season with Jake Oettinger, but he was in net for yesterday’s game. Stars backup Scott Wedgewood struggled enough for even the Coyotes to let him go. DeBrincat should be looking forward to hitting the back of the net like he did the first time playing the Stars this season.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Dallas Stars at Chicago Blackhawks.

Pickswise is the home of free NHL Picks and NHL Predictions. Check back for our daily NHL Best Bets, including our favorite NHL Prop Bets.

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