Wednesday NHL Props: Will Avs’ Landeskog Snap Assist Drought?

Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche awaits a face off against the Boston Bruins at Ball Arena on January 26, 2022 in Denver, CO.
Image Credit: Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

Before diving into Wednesday NHL props, let’s quickly review last night, which yielded a second straight 2-for-5 effort — but oh-what-could’ve-been. We nailed Blues center Vladimir Tarasenko’s solid plus-money goal prop, and Mathew Barzal tallied an assist in the Islanders’ rout of the Kraken. Unfortunately, we misfired on all three shots-on-goal props, with each coming within one shot of cashing.

Once again, the analysis was there … the results, not so much.

Let’s give it another go with our five Wednesday NHL props, with one from each game on the schedule.

Odds via DraftKings and FanDuel, and updated as of 3:30 p.m. ET.

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Colorado Avalanche: LW Gabriel Landeskog

Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche skates with the puck during the NHL game at Gila River Arena on January 15, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona.
Image Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The prop: 0.5 Assists (at Detroit)
The odds: Over -102/Under -120

Eleven years into his NHL career, Landeskog is still going strong, as he’s averaging more than a point per game (23 goals, 26 assists in 42 contests). However, the 29-year-old Swede has been held in check of late, with just one point in his last four games (that being a goal at Vegas a week ago tonight).

Prior to this mini-slump, Landeskog had seven goals during a six-game stretch. But he notched just two assists during that run. In fact, he arrives in Motown tonight having not recorded a helper in eight consecutive games. How out of character is that for Landeskog? His previous longest assist drought this season was three games.

Judging by how this prop is priced, oddsmakers are clearly aware of Landeskog’s assist struggles. Then again, he did pick one up against the Red Wings on Dec. 10 at home, giving him 13 helpers in 22 career games versus Detroit.

That positive, however, is countered by this negative: Landeskog has nearly twice as many assists in Colorado (17) than he does as a visitor (9), despite playing the exact same number of home/road games (21). So even though Detroit’s goaltending has been mostly abysmal at home recently (28 goals in six games) — and even though it wouldn’t be stunning to see Landeskog put the puck in the net tonight — we have to side with the Under on his assists prop.

Buffalo Sabres: C Tage Thompson

Tage Thompson #72 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against the Dallas Stars during an NHL game on January 20, 2022 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.
Image Credit: Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

The prop: Score Anytime Goal (at Montreal)
The odds: +175

When the Sabres traded for Thompson as a key piece in Ryan O’Reilly’s get-me-out-of-Buffalo deal, they expected the Phoenix native to bolster the team’s traditionally anemic offense. That plan didn’t exactly pan out in Thompson’s first four seasons, when he scored just 15 goals in 104 games.

Well, looks like we can stick Thompson with the “late bloomer” label, because the 24-year-old has been an offense force this season (that is, as much as anyone can be an offensive “force” for Buffalo). Thompson has 20 goals (along with 18 assists) in 47 games, and he’s been red hot lately, with six of his goals coming in the last five outings (including his first career hat trick against Columbus on Saturday).

Now get a load of this: Thompson has faced Montreal three times this season, and he found the back of the net each time (one goal in the season opener Oct. 14; two on Nov. 26; one on Feb. 13). This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, seeing that the Canadiens have allowed a league-high 197 goals; they’ve got a league-worst 3.86 goals-against average; and they surrendered the third-most shots (34.4).

And while it’s been another miserable season for Buffalo fans, their team has at least done one thing consistently well: The Sabres are 3-0 against Montreal, outscoring the Habs 14-5.

Look for Thompson to stay hot and light the lamp one more time against the league’s worst defensive club.

Edmonton Oilers: G Mike Smith

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith makes a save during warmups before facing the Chicago Blackhawks
Image Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The prop: 28.5 Total Saves (at Tampa Bay)
The odds: Over +110/Under -120

Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov. There’s a reason the Tampa Bay Lightning are two-time defending Stanley Cup champs: They send sharpshooters to the ice in continuous waves, from the first line to the fourth and back again.

No wonder Edmonton’s primary goaltender, Mikko Koskinen, apparently begged out of tonight’s assignment in Tampa Bay. Instead, the Oilers are expected to roll with Smith, who was seen manning the net during the team’s morning skate.

The last time we saw Smith was Sunday against Minnesota, and he lasted all of 13½ minutes, getting yanked after surrendering four goals on seven shots. In Smith’s defense, maybe it was just a bad night — after all, he had given up just six goals in his previous three starts. Of course, those three games were against the Ducks, Kings, and Islanders, none of whom possess Tampa Bay’s firepower.

Looking specifically at this prop number, Smith has made 29-plus saves in seven of his 12 starts. And he finished with 26 and 27 saves in two other outings.

So this NHL prop boils down to two questions: Do you think the Lightning will be firing pucks on net most of the night? (Answer: Yes, even though Tampa ranks just 19th in shots per game.) And do you think Smith will stop enough of them to remain on the ice long enough to turn aside at least 29 of those pucks?

Considering the Lightning have only tallied two or three goals in their last four home games, we’ll say yes.

Winnipeg Jets: C Paul Stastny

Paul Stastny #25 of the Winnipeg Jets prepares for a first period face-off against the St. Louis Blues at Canada Life Centre on December 19, 2021 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Image Credit: Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images

The prop: 0.5 Total Points (at Dallas)
The odds: Over +105/Under -130

You don’t often see a 16-year NHL veteran putting up monster numbers. And you sure aren’t seeing it with Stastny. After two productive seasons with in Vegas with the Golden Knights (80 points in 121 regular-season games, Stastny has been more of a bit player with Winnipeg.

After collecting 29 points in 56 games last season, the 36-year-old Quebec native has 22 points in 39 contests in 2021-22. And things have particularly dried up in recent weeks, as Stastny has just two points — one goal against Minnesota and one assists against Seattle — in his last nine games (four of which came on the road).

Is there a chance the drought ends tonight? Sure … but it’s not likely. After all, Stastny has gotten on the scoresheet just eight times in 20 road games. One of those road bagels occurred just 12 days ago in Dallas (a game the Jets lost 4-3).

True, Stastny did have an assist against the Stars back on Nov. 2. But that was in Winnipeg.

Toss in the fact that Dallas ranks 12th in the league in goals-against average (2.86 per game) and shots (30.7 per game), and the smart move here is to back the Under.

Arizona Coyotes: D Jakob Chychrun

Jakob Chychrun #6 of the Arizona Coyotes waits for a pass during the first period of a game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena on February 09, 2022 in Seattle, Washington.
Image Credit: Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images

The prop: 2.5 Total Shots (vs. Los Angeles)
The odds: Over -140/Under +110

Much like the rest of his teammates, it’s been a rough year in the stats department for Chychrun, as the veteran has just 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 39 games. It’s a dramatic drop-off from last season, when the 23-year-old defenseman posted a career-best 41 points in 56 contests.

Say this much for Chychrun, though: It’s not for lack of effort. Arizona’s first-round pick from the 2016 draft has put 120 pucks on net this season, for an average of 3.08 per contest. That’s just a hair below last year’s career-high, per-game average of 3.14.

Chychrun has cleared this specific shots prop in 22 of his 39 games, including 12 of 17 at home. Most recently, he’s registered three or more shots in five of his past nine contests (and finished with exactly two in the other four games.

However, tonight he’s facing a stout Kings defense that is yielding an NHL-low 28.6 shots per game. In Saturday’s 5-3 home loss to L.A., Chychrun got off two shots. Back on Nov. 21, though, he had four shots in a 2-1 road win.

Tough call, but given that Chychrun has either hit this prop or gotten very close in nine straight games, we’ll roll with the Over.