|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|12-31-14||New Jersey Devils v. Detroit Red Wings -195||1-3||Win||100||11 h 38 m||Show|
I am playing on DETROIT 6* Blue Marlin. The Red Wings are the obvious favorites here and I don’t mind laying some extra juice to get them in this spot.
The New Jersey Devils come in stumbling with just two wins in its last ten games. The lengthy losing streak caused a change at the head coaching position as Peter DeBoer was let go. Lou Lammorillo the GM has been the acting head coach in a move that is pretty predictable for him knowing his track record.
Corey Schneider is slated to make his NHL-leading 35th start. He owns a 2.45 goals against average and took the losses in two previous meetings with Detroit this season.
While Peter DeBoer could take the blame for a poor stretch of games, a lot of people could easily turn to the roster that is quite make shift and has no real consistent offensive threats.
New Jersey is 8-12-2 on the road this season and has lost its’ last two games in Detroit.
Detroit has owned the Devils going back quite some time now. The Red Wings are 4-1 in all games versus the Devils the past three seasons. At home Detroit is 11-2 versus the Devils dating back to 1996.
Detroit has won two of three coming into this game but will look to get back on track after a 5-2 blowout loss at Boston.
At home Detroit is a solid 12-4-6. Playing a poor road team in New Jersey should help to continue that streak.
Keep an eye out for Red Wings’ forward Johan Franzen who has five goals in his last five games with New Jersey.
Play DETROIT 6* Blue Marlin Big Chalk Beatdown.
|12-29-14||Buffalo Sabres v. Ottawa Senators -200||2-5||Win||100||10 h 19 m||Show|
I am playing on OTTAWA. The Sens are the big favorite for a reason in this matchup and I think it is well worth it to lay the extra juice.
Ted Nolan’s Sabres have surprised a lot of people this season with their gritty play and bounce back ability. While I have great respect for this coaching style, I think his team is certainly overmatched in this spot and are due for a letdown.
The Sabres are still just 4-11 on the road this season and have dropped five straight away from friendly confines.
Buffalo has had troubles killing penalties on the road where it doing it a league worst 66.1 percent. It was very evident in its’ last game where the Sabres allowed four power play goals to the Red Wings.
Ottawa meanwhile comes into this game looking to revenge a 5-4 loss to Buffalo the last time these teams met. The Senators are 10-7 in the “revenge spot” this season. I like their chances even more at home were they are a 7-4-4 this season.
Craig Anderson will likely get the start in net for Ottawa as he has been great versus the Sabres of late. The netminder has won his last eight starts against them, posting a 1.36 goals-against average with two shutouts.
Ottawa as a team has been great against the Sabres at home where it is a perfect 4-0 when hosting the last the last three seasons. Looking at it holistically, Ottawa is 6-3 in this matchup overall the past three seasons. Play OTTAWA 6* Blue Marlin Big Chalk Beatdown.
|12-27-14||Winnipeg Jets v. Minnesota Wild -145||Top||4-3||Loss||-145||26 h 36 m||Show|
I am playing on MINNESOTA. The Wild have dominated the Jets of late and I expect it to continue in this post Christmas matchup that will be the first of a home and home series.
The Winnipeg Jets come in hot having won three of four and off an impressive 5-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. I will certainly give them credit for that win but am not afraid to play against them when I see the value on the other shoe.
The Jets are just 2-7 coming off a win of two goals or more in their previous game. Winnipeg is just 2-3 on Saturdays as well. This would be prime time for a letdown spot for the Jets.
The Minnesota Wild have been cold of late and have had to sit over the Christmas break on a four game losing streak that has stretched itself on this four game home stand. The Wild will be as desperate as it comes to get a win in the final before heading out on the road again.
Keep in mind the Wild is 5-1 over the Jets the past three seasons. Minnesota has won all three of the meetings where it hosted the game over that span of time.
Even with the recent losing slide, the Wild is 9-4-3 on home ice where it has been dominant the past three years. Minnesota will know how important it is to get the win in this first game of a home and home series with the next game scheduled in Winnipeg.
Play MINNESOTA 10* Personal Favorite.
|12-23-14||Philadelphia Flyers v. Minnesota Wild -185||5-2||Loss||-185||11 h 44 m||Show|
I am playing on MINNESOTA. The Wild come in very hungry for a win and will take advantage of a road tripping Philadelphia team in this spot.
Give the Flyers credit for coming back and beating the Winnipeg Jets in a hostile environment two nights ago. They have been playing better of late but I think this spot will be too tough for them to get another win.
The Flyers have lost the last three meetings with Minnesota and are just 2-4 against them overall in the last three years. They lost the first meeting this season 3-2 in Philadelphia.
Even with the come from behind win in Winnipeg, Philadelphia has struggled on the road this season with a 5-9-3 record.
It’s true the Wild have not played well of late but they are hungry and that can only help us in a bet where they are the favorites at home.
"We can talk and say all the right things,’’ said Wild Captain Mikko Koivu. ""But at the end, it’s got to be happening on the ice.”
The Wild are still a very strong 9-3-3 in front of the raucous crowd in Minnesota this season, continuing a trend of stellar home ice advantage it had last season.
Minnesota has taken care of teams below it in the standings as it is 9-2 versus teams with a losing record this season. Philadelphia is just 6-10 versus teams with a winning record.
The Flyers are essentially a one line scoring team and if you can stop the top line you can stop the team. The Wild have one of the top defensemen in the game in Ryan Suter who should be able to slow down the Flyers top unit.
This is a rough road trip for the Flyers as they have to play eight games on the trip that ends on Jan. 3. Look for them to have conserve the energy of their top players. On a team that is not that deep, it will struggle at times versus good defensive teams.
Lay the extra juice to get MINNESOTA 6* as it is worth it in this spot.
|12-22-14||Arizona Coyotes v. Vancouver Canucks -195||1-7||Win||100||13 h 2 m||Show|
I am playing on VANCOUVER. The Canucks were able to finally end their losing streak on Saturday and I expect them to make it two wins in row with a nice situational spot here against Arizona.
The Coyotes played and lost to the LA Kings 4-2 on the road last night. Arizona has not been good in the game after allowing four or more goals this season with a 4-10 mark in that situation.
Arizona has not been a good road team all year with a 6-9-1 record away from the desert. It has struggled getting wins just about anywhere of late with a 2-6-2 run in the last 10 contests. A back-to-back situation on the road versus two good home teams in LA and Vancouver is not ideal at all.
The Canucks meanwhile are coming off a day off and a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday night versus Calgary. The loss snapped a five-game losing streak for the club and will likely give them a lot of confidence to finally get the win.
Vancouver has normally been very good against the Coyotes but will come into this game looking revenge an embarrassing 5-0 loss the last time these two teams played. Devan Dubnyk was in net for the Coyotes and shot them out while Ryan Miller was pulled for Vancouver. Keep in mind the Canucks are 5-2 when revenging a home loss this season.
The Canucks are on a 22-11 run versus the Coyotes when hosting this game. Rogers Arena has been a safe haven for the most part for the Canucks this season as they have an 8-5-1 record at home.
Furthermore, the Canucks are 2-0 when playing their fourth consecutive home game. The Coyotes are just 3-11 versus teams with a winning record while the Canucks have taken care of losing teams with a 10-6 record this season. Lay the extra juice to get VANCOUVER 6*.
|12-21-14||Philadelphia Flyers v. Winnipeg Jets -150||4-3||Loss||-150||12 h 31 m||Show|
I am playing on WINNIPEG. The Jets have the benefit of home ice and an extra days rest so I expect them to take care of business in this spot.
The visiting Philadelphia Flyers played last night in Toronto where they won an explosive 7-4 game over the Maple Leafs in prime time Saturday hockey night action. To ask them to play again the next night in a hostile environment of Winnipeg may be asking a little too much. The 7-4 game was a track meet with many ups and downs as you can imagine. Not only could the Flyers be tired, they will likely suffer a letdown.
Even with the win over Toronto last night, the Flyers are still just 4-9-3 on the road this season.
Making matters even worse for the Flyers is that they are down to their backup goalie in Ray Emery who will be asked to play this back-to-back situation due to an injury to starter Steve Mason.
The Jets meanwhile have been playing some good hockey with two straight wins and a 7-1-3 mark over their last 11 games. They will be playing the final game of a four game home stand that has already seen them earn big wins over Buffalo and most recently Boston.
The Jets are likely to go back to Ondrej Pavelec in net after Michael Hutchinson stopped 30 shots Friday. Pavelec is 3-0-2 with a 2.16 GAA in his last five starts and 2-1-0 with a 1.64 GAA in his last three against the Flyers.
These teams have split the last two contests against the other with home ice being the difference maker. The Jets are a strong 8-6-2 at home so far this season so I see no reason why this trend shouldn’t continue.
Philadelphia is 1-5 in Sunday games and 6-10 versus teams with a winning record this season. Winnipeg is a strong 10-3 when playing teams with a losing record. Play WINNIPEG 9*
|12-20-14||Calgary Flames v. Vancouver Canucks -175||2-3||Win||100||12 h 29 m||Show|
I am playing on VANCOUVER. These teams are both desperate for wins but the Canucks have had their way with the Flames for a long time and I think it continues here. The Flames played a tough game last night against the Dallas Stars where they were batting from behind the entire game. Calgary has lost seven straight and are struggling to score goals. The Flames now have to play a back-to-back scenario against an equally desperate Canucks team. Calgary has lost four straight on the road and will be unlikely to snap that streak in Vancouver. The Flames are 9-9 in road games. The Canucks will be licking their chops at this matchup. Vancouver is an outstanding 7-0 straight up versus the Flames at home the last three seasons. Even more impressively, the Canucks are 10-1 in the last three seasons versus their long time division rival. The Canucks are 7-5-1 at Rogers Arena this season. This team got embarrassed last Saturday night a nationally televised game versus the Rangers and I expect them to be looking for some redemption here.
|12-20-14||Nashville Predators v. Minnesota Wild -125||6-5||Loss||-125||10 h 30 m||Show|
I am playing on MINNESOTA. The Wild are a great home team and to get them at a good price here is worth it in this spot.
The Nashville Predators have certainly been a nice surprise this season and have been consistently good. However they are just 8-6 on the road this season compared to a nearly perfect home record.
Nashville is in the middle of tough stretch of games where they are playing six of seven on the road.
Nashville, fourth in the West with 42 points, ranks in the league's middle third with 2.6 goals per game and near the bottom with an 8.1 shooting percentage. It is highly likely they get outshot here in Minnesota where the Wild is so dominant.
Nashville has lost five of its last eighth in Minnesota but did win a 7-3 blowout the last time it visited.
Minnesota will come in looking for revenge and is already very motivated to snap a two game losing streak. Despite not playing great overall, the Wild is still a dominant 9-3-1 in home games which has been a staple of this squad for a couple years now.
"We've got to stop losing," said Wild forward Zach Parise , who leads the team with 23 points. Parise has four goals and two assists in his last five meetings with Nashville.
The Wild are a strong 6-1-1 in divisional games this season. Play MINNESOTA 8*
|12-20-14||Florida Panthers v. Pittsburgh Penguins -205||1-3||Win||100||10 h 31 m||Show|
I am playing on PITTSBURGH. The Penguins are the big favorites here but I feel they are worth laying the juice on in a game that has blowout potential.
The visiting Florida Panthers have been involved in four straight one goal games, winning three of four of them. All four of those games went beyond regulation time. The anomaly of that situation is very rare and a setback versus a very good team in Pittsburgh is very likely in this situation.
The Panthers are just 3-7 versus teams with a winning record this season. They have been playing over their heads for a while now for the lineup that they have and are due for a letdown game.
Pittsburgh comes in looking to win their fifth straight home game. They come in having won two straight overall. The Pens have finally started to get healthier despite being the latest team to come down with a case of the mumps in the NHL.
Sidney Crosby returned to game action in the win over Colorado. Evgeni Malkin assisted on the winner and has three goals and five assists during a six-game point streak. He has four goals and 12 assists in his last 13 meetings with Florida.
The Penguins had won eight straight home games against the Panthers prior to a 5-1 loss Jan. 20, their last meeting. The loss means the Penguins will be hungry for revenge in this spot.
The Penguins are 8-2 in Saturday games and 3-1 after being held to one goal less in the previous game.
Play PITTSBURGH 6*.
|12-19-14||Dallas Stars v. Calgary Flames -113||2-1||Loss||-113||12 h 38 m||Show|
I am playing on CALGARY. The Flames have lost six in a row but are primed to end that streak in this spot. The visiting Dallas Stars come in off a 2-0 win in Vancouver. The Stars got the win thanks to an enormous effort from goalie Kari Lehtonen who stopped numerous odd man rushes and breakaway attempts from the Canucks. It was maybe a win the Stars didn’t quite deserve, but got it. The Stars are still allowing a league worst 3.4 goals per game this season and a couple of great games from their goalie won’t not hide that fact that the team struggles to defend on most nights. Dallas is still just 7-9-4 in Conference games this season and 2-3 at the Saddledome the last two years. Caglary has indeed struggled during one of their worst losing streaks in recent memory. Note the Flames have outshot five of their last six games and maybe deserved a better fate in a few of those games. A meeting against a poor defensive team in Dallas at home is exactly what Calgary needs at this point. Despite recent setbacks, the Flames are still a strong 8-5-2 at home this season. I expect they add to the win total in this friendly matchup. The Flames likely don’t forget a 7-3 loss at home to the Stars last season and will be playing with revenge motivation. Keep an eye out for Calgary's Jiri Hudler. The red hot winger has a goal in two straight games and a point in each of the last four. Play on CALGARY. 9*
|12-19-14||NY Islanders v. Detroit Red Wings -130||Top||2-1||Loss||-130||10 h 6 m||Show|
I am playing on DETROIT. The Red Wings enter this game on a four game losing streak but are playing well enough that it could easily be a four game winning streak. The Islanders enter this game having lost back to back road games. New York has allowed 11 goals in those games. The Islanders have struggled to kill off penalties in their last six games, allowing eight goals in 18 times short-handed, and now have one of the worst percentages in the NHL at 71.1. The Red Wings have one of the league's top 10 power plays at 22.3 percent and have scored three times in their last seven opportunities.Detroit has a three game home losing streak versus the Islanders that they no doubt have been made aware of in the games leading up to this mark. Revenge will be a huge factor in this game. The Red Wings were on an 8-2 mark until getting killed by shootout losses. Note the Red Wings have out shot their opponents in three of the four games during this slide. Detroit is 5-1 in games on that takes place on Friday nights. Getting it here at a decent home price is sharp decision versus a sub par road team. Detroit has one of the best home records in the NHL at 11-3-5 and this should be a spot where they add to it. Play on DETROIT 10* personal favorite
|12-18-14||Florida Panthers v. Philadelphia Flyers -138||Top||2-1||Loss||-138||27 h 3 m||Show|
I am playing on PHILADELPHIA as my 10* NHL Game of the Week. The Flyers will be looking to wrap up a successful four game home stand and I expect them to do it in style with the win.
The visiting Florida Panthers come in off a 2-1 shootout win over Washington on Tuesday. The Panthers were able to outlast the Capitals in the longest shootout in NHL history (20 rounds). A let down in the game immediately after would not be surprising.
The Panthers are in tough stretch of games here as they have had just one home game sandwiched between five road games. Florida has a big Saturday night game in Pittsburgh up next on the schedule and might get caught looking a little forward to that game oppose to Flyers team that sits near the bottom of the Eastern conference standings.
Despite sitting in the middle of the Eastern Conference standings and in relatively good position to challenge for a playoff spot, the Panthers have a -9 goal differential on the season. Advanced stats will tell you Florida is due for a regression at some point. A tough set in the state of Pennsylvania could easily be the start of it.
Philadelphia is on a nice 3-1-2 stretch that saw blowout home wins over Carolina and New Jersey on this home stand. It should be noted that I played on the Flyers in those two wins citing how important it was for the Flyers to make up some ground on this current home stand. I think that same thinking should go into this situation.
The Flyers are 8-5-2 at home this season. Philadelphia crushed the Panthers 4-1 the last time it hosted in this series. Note that Florida is just 8-11 in revenge games this season.
Play on PHILADELPHIA 10* Game of the week.
|12-17-14||Dallas Stars v. Vancouver Canucks -152||2-0||Loss||-152||20 h 21 m||Show|
I am playing on VANCOUVER. The Canucks have lost five straight but this is an excellent spot for them to bump the losing streak.
The visiting Stars come in off a 4-3 win at home over New Jersey. Note I successfully played on the Stars in that game citing their advantage of home ice and a struggling Devils team.
Dallas is just 5-7 on the road this season. The Stars have struggled against good teams this campaign as they are just 5-10 versus teams with a winning record like the Canucks.
While some may point to the great success the Stars have had against the Canucks of late, I think that works against them in this spot on the road.
The Canucks come in looking for major revenge against a Stars team that has blown them out in the last three meetings between these teams. Note that two of those meetings were in Texas.
The Canucks are heated after losing five in a row and being embarrassed by the Rangers on Saturday night. Keep in mind the Canucks are 6-3 in games after a loss of two goals or more the previous game.
Vancouver is a strong 10-5 in games versus teams with a losing streak this season. Despite a few recent losses, the Canucks are still a solid 7-4-1 in home games this season. Play VANCOUVER 8* Personal Favorite.
|12-16-14||Buffalo Sabres v. Winnipeg Jets -215||1-5||Win||100||11 h 5 m||Show|
I am playing on WINNIPEG. The Jets are a very hungry favorite in this spot and I expect them to roll over the outclassed Sabres.
I will give full credit to the Sabres who are fighting their tails off during an unexpected winning streak. Note that the streak has included all home games.
Buffalo is 4-9 on the road this season and Winnipeg will be a tough spot for them.
It has been tough sledding against Winnipeg for Buffalo the past few years. Buffalo is 1-7-1 with 11 goals scored in the series since Jan. 7, 2012. It's been especially bad in Winnipeg, where the Sabres are 0-4-0 with three goals scored since the Jets relocated.
Not helping matters for Buffalo is their 4-8 record versus non-conference teams.
Winnipeg meanwhile is heated off a big conference showdown with Anaheim on Saturday and will be looking to take it out on the Sabres.
The Jets will figure to have Ondrej Pavelec in net who has dominated the Sabres in this career and is hot in general. He hasn't lost in regulation since Nov. 23 and has a 2.44 GAA over the 2-0-2 stretch. Against Buffalo, he's got a 1.38 GAA during a 7-1-0 run.
There have been a few teams that have underestimated the Sabres in their barn which has led to a nice winning streak for Buffalo. I don’t expect that to happen here with a well coached Jets team at home.
Winnipeg is 9-3 versus teams with a losing record this season and 6-1 on Tuesday nights.
Winnipeg is the big favorite for a reason here and I don’t mind laying the big juice to get the high percentage play. Play WINNIPEG straight up as my 6* Big Juice Personal Favorite.
|12-13-14||NY Rangers v. Vancouver Canucks -135||5-1||Loss||-135||13 h 23 m||Show|
I am playing on VANCOUVER. The home side is the smart money here as motivation is high on a Saturday night.
The visiting New York Rangers have lost two of three coming into Vancouver. The Rangers haven’t had a lot of success against teams with a winning record this season at 6-9 overall. The Canucks will serve as stern test for the Rangers who start a four game road trip.
The Rangers have been Jekyll and Hyde this season with a 9-5-3 home record versus a 3-5-1 mark on the road.
Not helping matters for the Rangers of late has been the play of star goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist has posted a 3.48 goals-against average in his last four games in what's been a down season for him so far.
The Canucks were arguably the hottest team in the NHL before they ran out of gas at the end of an Eastern conference road trip earlier this week. With three days off since their last game, the Canucks will be well rested and raring to go for this big Saturday night national TV game at home.
Note that the Canucks are 10-4 versus teams with a losing record this season and 3-0 after games where they managed to score just one goal.
The Canucks are 7-3-1 at Rogers Arena this season and will be looking for a third consecutive home win in this contest. Vancouver still owns a solid 8-5 record against non-conference opponents and I expect it to get better here. Play VANCOUVER 9*
|12-13-14||New Jersey Devils v. Dallas Stars -141||3-4||Win||100||12 h 54 m||Show|
I am playing on DALLAS. There aren’t many teams the Stars should have confidence in beating right now but the Devils are one of them.
The visiting Devils come in off a 4-1 loss at Philadelphia on Thursday. Note I successfully played against the Devils in that game, citing their inability to score and that hasn’t changed.
New Jersey has scored 12 goals during a 2-4-1 stretch and has been one of the league's lowest-scoring teams with 2.3 goals per game. The Devils rely heavily on goaltender Cory Schneider who has made almost every start this season for New Jersey.
The Stars have had trouble keeping the puck out of their net in a recent slide. However, a win here would move Dallas’ home record to a semi respectable 6-6-5. That should serve as some more motivation.
The Stars come into this game knowing they broke a losing streak back in October with a road win over New Jersey and that should bring them confidence to break another tough stretch. Note that New Jersey is just 1-8 when trying to revenge a home loss to an opponent this season. The Devils are just 3-9 in non-conference games as well.
Confidence is low on both sides of the ice in this game but I expect the home team to have more jump in their own building and in turn come away with the victory. Play DALLAS 8*
|12-13-14||Anaheim Ducks v. Winnipeg Jets -120||4-1||Loss||-120||10 h 25 m||Show|
I am playing on WINNIPEG. The Jets come into this game looking for revenge and I expect them to get it as they catch the league leading Anaheim Ducks in a tough spot.
There’s no getting around the fact the Ducks are red hot right now. Anaheim has won six in row, including a 4-2 win in Edmonton last night. However the back-to-back situation here on the road is a killer of streaks and going to Manitoba in December time won’t thrill any California team.
The Ducks have played well without top scorer Corey Perry which is impressive. Still, a spot like this is where the need for a supremely talented goal scorer is imperative and could make the difference. With Perry out, it also meant the Ducks had to lean more heavily on players like Devante Smith-Pelly and Kyle Palmeiri who are getting more ice-time than they are used too. A tough road trip is where little details like become important and make a difference.
The Jets meanwhile have played fairly well themselves. Winnipeg claimed 13 of a possible 16 points during its’ last eight games (5-0-3). They seemed headed for their sixth win in that stretch Thursday, but wasted a two-goal, third-period lead before falling 4-3 in a shootout at Colorado. Note I successfully played against the Jets in that game since I thought they might get caught looking ahead to this meeting.
Andrew Ladd has five goals and two assists in his last six meetings with Anaheim, with four and one, respectively, coming in three at MTS Center. Blake Wheeler has also enjoyed success against the Ducks, notching six points in five meetings.
The Ducks won a 4-3 game last weekend in Winnipeg in a spirited affair at the MTS Center. That game should serve as motivation for this Jets team. Keep in mind that Winnipeg is 6-3 revenging a home loss to an opponent this season.
This game is a big national event for most Canadians as Saturday night is hockey night and I think the Jets are the team that will come out with the most jump. Anaheim could be a little “fat” with all the accolades it has been getting recently. Play WINNIPEG 9*.
|12-13-14||Carolina Hurricanes v. Philadelphia Flyers -150||1-5||Win||100||5 h 57 m||Show|
I am playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Flyers are worth the extra juice as the mid size favorite in this situation.
The visiting Carolina Hurricanes come in on current four game losing streak. I don’t like the Canes chances of ending it here as the team is just 3-10-2 on the road this season. They have scored exactly one goal per game during this latest slide.
The Hurricanes haven't scored a power-play goal in five straight games. Cam Ward's career 3.16 GAA versus Philadelphia is his worst against any East opponent, going 5-10-3 in 19 games. Backup Anton Khudobin is 0-6-2 this season so he isn’t much of a better option.
The Flyers meanwhile are coming off a 4-1 win over New Jersey on Thursday. Note that I successfully on the Flyers in that game, citing their strong home record and motivation to start their home stand on a good note. I think they make it two in a row here as they face a team that has been very poor on the road this season.
Also note that the Flyers are 4-1 after games where they won by two goals or more. That shows us that confidence is a big factor with a skilled offensive team like the Flyers.
Despite a poor road record itself, Philadelphia is still a strong 7-4-2 on home ice this season. I expect them to add to that solid home record with a relatively easy home ice win here. Play PHILADELPHIA 7* Breakfast Club.
|12-12-14||Florida Panthers v. Detroit Red Wings -195||3-2||Loss||-195||11 h 43 m||Show|
I am playing on Detroit. The Red Wings are the big juice favorites here but I absolutely thing it’s worth it as I expect them to have their way with the Panthers.
Florida got a rare win over Detroit just over a week ago as it held on to beat Detroit 4-3 at Joe Louis Arena. The Panthers will try and make it two in a row over the Red Wings here.
Note that I successfully played against the Panthers in their last game, a loss to St. Louis on Monday. I noted that Florida was a playing a little over their heads and would probably give a few games back to even things out. This is another prime spot for them to lose a game to a quality opponent.
The Red Wings are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss at home to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was a game that Detroit out played its opponent by fair margin but were unlucky to not come away with the full two points. Detroit has been really hot of late with nine wins in its last 12 games. Just two of those losses came in regulation.
Detroit will look to avenge that 4-3 loss to Florida, making it hungry in this spot. Note that the Red Wings are 2-0 when revenging a home loss this season and 9-6 when playing against a team with a losing record.
Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist in the latest meeting, and has seven goals and 12 assists in 14 career matchups. He has seven goals and four assists in his eight games since returning from a groin injury
The Red Wings have one of the better home records in the NHL and are interestingly enough, 5-0 on Friday nights. Look for them to come away with the victory in this good spot. Play DETROIT 6*
|12-11-14||Minnesota Wild v. San Jose Sharks -130||1-2||Win||100||14 h 45 m||Show|
I am playing on SAN JOSE. I successfully played on the Sharks to beat the Oilers in their last game and I think they make it two in a row with another friendly match-up here.
The visiting Minnesota Wild come in off a 5-4 come from behind win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. Note that I successfully played on the Wild in that game and was pleasantly pleased to see them score five goals in the third period to rally.
The Wild are not a great road team this year and a place like San Jose is a not where they can turn it around. Minnesota is merely 6-7 away from home where it is a strong 9-3-1.
Minnesota edged the Sharks 4-3 in a shootout on Oct. 30 for just its second win in the past six meetings. The Wild have lost four straight and nine of 10 in San Jose.
Neither Minnesota goaltender has been very effective lately despite the team's solid defense. Niklas Backstrom allowed four or more goals for the third time in four starts Tuesday, while Darcy Kuemper has posted a 4.41 GAA in his last four starts. Not helping matters for the Sharks either is the fact that team will be down two contributing defense in Marco Scandella and Keith Ballard who are suspended and injured respectively.
The Sharks are turning things around during a current hot streak that will see them go for a sixth win in seven contests. This team has started to score goals like everyone expected during this hot spell. The Sharks have scored 24 goals in six games, which is tied for the most in the NHL since Nov. 29.
The Sharks were a great home team last year and are starting to show it again now finally. Keep in mind the Sharks are also 9-7 in revenge spot this season and 8-5 when playing teams with a winning record. Play SAN JOSE 8* to win straight up.
|12-11-14||Winnipeg Jets v. Colorado Avalanche -107||Top||3-4||Win||100||12 h 17 m||Show|
I am playing on COLORADO. The Avalanche has lost four in a row but I expect that end here with a good spot versus Winnipeg.
The Winnipeg Jets have won three of four coming in and took care of Dallas 5-2 on the road on Tuesday. Give them credit as the team has really turned it around after a slow start. Still, this will be a tough game for it in Denver versus a desperate home side. Keep in mind that the Jets have lost two of three in Colorado the last three seasons.
The Jets have a big rematch at home against one of the best teams in the NHL standings versus Anaheim coming up on Saturday night and could easily get caught looking forward to that. A game against the bottom feeding Avs on the road likely won’t get their juices flowing.
The Avs have lost four in a row and have struggled for consistency all season. They will want this game badly though as the Jets embarrassed the Avs in Winnipeg last Friday night. The Jets took a 6-2 game that night.
Colorado is indeed searching for answers but this team is just too good with too much talent not to turn it around soon. This is a spot where it should get a win and will. Play COLORADO 10*
|12-11-14||New Jersey Devils v. Philadelphia Flyers -130||1-4||Win||100||10 h 14 m||Show|
8* Flyers. Analysis before 11am PST
|12-10-14||Toronto Maple Leafs v. Detroit Red Wings -174||2-1||Loss||-174||11 h 22 m||Show|
I am playing on DETROIT. The Wings fell to the Leafs a few weeks ago in a big rivalry game but I think they get some payback here in a nice spot for them.
Toronto comes in off an impressive 4-1 win at home over Calgary last night and is rolling as a team with seven wins in the last nine contests. While we will give them credit for that nice stretch, note that the Leafs have had their fair share of trouble of late just down the road in Detroit.
The back-to-back situation won’t help matters either as they face a rested Red Wings team that hasn’t played since a 3-1 win on Sunday over Carolina.
Detroit has been rolling itself of late as their best players have started to get healthier. The Red Wings are looking to win their eighth win in nine contests and now sit tied with Tampa Bay atop the Atlantic conference.
Detroit did indeed fall at Toronto back on November but that game was played without Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk in the lineup. Datsyuk has missed 11 games for the Red Wings, including that 4-1 loss to Toronto. Detroit has gone 7-1-0 since, with Datsyuk recording seven goals and four assists over the last six since returning from a groin injury.
The Red Wings also have a hot Jimmy Howard in goal who is looking for revenge from that loss. Howard has won five of his last six starts since losing to Toronto, and he'll be in goal again for this contest after having Sunday off. Howard is 3-1-1 with a 1.97 GAA in his last five against Toronto.
Detroit is 5-2 versus Toronto the last three seasons and has won the last two games when hosting. Play DETROIT 8* to win straight up.
|12-09-14||Edmonton Oilers v. San Jose Sharks -213||2-5||Win||100||15 h 49 m||Show|
I am playing on SAN JOSE. The Sharks are the big favorites in this spot but for good reason as they will be looking for some big time revenge after losing on Sunday
Give Edmonton credit for finally ending their massive 11-game losing streak but no one should get too excited about one win one. Even with the impressive 2-1 win over San Jose on the weekend, the Oilers have just one win over any opponent in the Western Conference this year.
The Oilers have just two wins on the road this season and still haven’t shown me enough they can win against a strong home team in San Jose. The Oilers have a laundry list of problems and reasons why they can’t win on the road at this point. The foremost problem being is that Edmonton has the second worst goal differential in the league at -31, second to only Buffalo.
The Sharks will come in looking for revenge after embarrassingly being the first Western conference team to lose to the Oilers this season. The Sharks went into Edmonton on Sunday with a four game winning streak and have played pretty well of late aside from the loss. It will be imperative for the Sharks to get back into the win column and not lose to the worst team in the conference twice in a row.
San Jose s 7-2 versus Edmonton the last three seasons and a perfect 3-0 at home in this series. I expect the better team will win here and likely do it convincingly. 6* Sharks.
|12-09-14||Winnipeg Jets v. Dallas Stars -130||5-2||Loss||-130||13 h 50 m||Show|
I am playing on DALLAS. The Stars have had their struggles against Divisional foes this season but this is a good spot for them to get back in the win column.
The Jets come in off a 4-3 overtime loss at home to one of the best teams in the Western Conference in Anaheim. It would quite easy for Winnipeg to have a letdown spot immediately on the road against one of the bottom feeders in the West.
Winnipeg has an upcoming rematch with Anaheim later this week at the same venue and could easily get caught looking ahead to that game.
Winnipeg will be without Evander Kane for two games after he was suspended by the NHL for boarding Anaheim's Clayton Stoner on Sunday. Kane is a key part of the Jets team and it will hurt them to not have him in this game.
Dallas comes in off an impressive 4-1 win at home over Montreal. The Stars have been inconsistent on defense this season but finally put it all together. Everyone knows they have a dangerous offense but keeping the puck out of their own net is better sign.
The Stars have leading scorer Tyler Seguin who has 21 goals on the season and nine goals and four assists in his last nine games to help put him in a tie with Sidney Crosby with total points (35) on the year.
The Jets are well aware of what Seguin can do after he piled up eight goals and six assists in the past 10 meetings. He has four goals with two assists in the last three.
The Jets played on Sunday in that event filled loss to the Anaheim while the Stars haven’t played since Saturday. Look for the home team to have more jump in this spot.
The Stars took the last meeting in Texas between these teams 2-1 and look for them to pull out another win. 8* Dallas.
|12-09-14||NY Islanders v. Minnesota Wild -132||4-5||Win||100||12 h 21 m||Show|
I am playing on MINNESOTA. The Wild lost a bit of a heartbreaker over the weekend in this same building versus a very good Ducks squad and I expect them to bounce back from it with an emphatic win over the Islanders.
The New York Islanders continue to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference with eight wins in their last 10 games. The Islanders sit just one point back of the Metropolitan division leading Pittsburgh Penguins.
But it should be noted that the Islanders are coming in off a 6-4 loss at the St. Louis Blues. It is never easy for an East team to come out west in any sport but even more so in the NHL with so many strong West teams with good home ice advantage. This is an easy spot in the schedule to see that the Islanders could give a few back after starting this season a surprisingly consistent rate.
Even with the loss to Ducks on Saturday, the Wild are a strong 8-3-1 at home this season and have been dominant in their building for years. It should be noted that the Wild are 5-3 versus the Islanders franchise in recent history.
Minnesota star Zach Parise recorded one of those goals and added an assist to give him seven points in the past four games. A long time member of the New Jersey Devils, Parise has six assists in his last four contests versus New York.
The Wild handled the Islanders 6-0 in last season’s meeting between these two teams. While I don’t imagine seeing any type of blowout like that happening again, I do expect an easy win for the home take. Take Minnesota to win straight up. 8* Minnesota
|12-08-14||Florida Panthers v. St Louis Blues -201||2-4||Win||100||13 h 45 m||Show|
I am playing on ST.LOUIS. The Blues are due for an easy win and I am very willing to lay the juice to get them.
Florida comes in off a 3-2 win over Buffalo and has won four of six coming into this game. The Panthers have looked pretty good over that time but note the quality of wins hasn’t quite been there with just one quality win over Detroit.
The Panthers have played a little over their heads over that streak and it will be a taller order to get a win in St. Louis where the Blues have been nearly unbeatable two years running.
St. Louis comes in off a tough four game road trip that saw games against the leagues’ elite in Chicago, Nashville, Minnesota and New York Islanders. The Blues came away with a 2-2 record on the trip despite the tough opponents.
"We haven't played our best hockey," Blues’ defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said after the trip.
The Blues have won four straight over the Panthers and have dominated them over that stretch. St. Louis has outscored them 17-2 over that stretch, including a 7-0 win over Florida that last time the Panthers came to St. Louis.
As mentioned before, the Blues are impressive at home were they are 9-3-1 this season. Also note that the Blues are a strong 7-4 versus the Eastern Conference this season. The Blues are the big favorite here for a good reason and I am willing to lay the juice to get what should be an easy win. 6* Blue Marlin.
|12-06-14||Chicago Blackhawks v. Nashville Predators -120||3-1||Loss||-120||12 h 52 m||Show|
I am playing on NASHVILLE. While this is a tough test, I think the Predators are up to the challenge as they catch the Blackhawks in a tough scheduling spot.
The Chicago Blackhawks come in on a hot streak after yet another win last night by the narrowest of margins at home over Montreal. Brandon Saad scored with just 27 seconds left in the third period to complete the 4-3 rally over the visiting Montreal Canadians. The Blackhawks have now won five straight and eight of ten overall.
Meanwhile, the Nashville Predators have had since Thursday night off. The Preds beat another western power in the St. Louis Blues on that night. The 4-3 win at home over the Blues ran Nashville’s home winning streak to seven games, one short of a franchise record.
Nashville has been very successful against the Blackhawks of late so won’t be intimidated. The Predators are 4-0-1 in their last five meetings with the Blackhawks.
James Neal scored a hat-trick in the most recent meeting, a 3-2 Pred’s win back in October. Pekka Rinne, who will likely get the call to be in net, has a 1.66 goals-against average while starting each game of the home winning streak. He's also won four starts in a row against the Blackhawks with a 2.25 GAA.
While the Blackhawks have many other rivals in this league, likely don’t consider the Predators one of them. That is likely unlike Nashville who is still trying to prove itself as a top contender in the league.
"It would be big," Nashville’s defenseman Mattias Ekholm said after the win over St.Louis. "It would be a statement to beat them both in a row like that."
Keep in mind that the Predators 11-1-1record at home is the best in the NHL this season. The Blackhawks are beatable away from Chicago as its road record is 8-5 on the year.
Not helping matters for the Hawks is the fact that starting goalie Corey Crawford is out of the lineup leaving them with a problem of likely starting back-up Antti Raanta again. While Raanta has been good in relief, a back-to-back setting could mean trouble for a unseasoned goalie.
With The Blackhawks playing a energy sapping game just last night and a rested Predators squad at home ready to prove a point I really like the home side. Play NASHVILLE to win straight up. 9* Personal Favorite.
|12-05-14||Anaheim Ducks v. Minnesota Wild -133||Top||5-4||Loss||-133||13 h 48 m||Show|
I am playing on MINNESOTA. The Wild have showed us they are once again a dominant home team and I expect them to take care of business here in friendly confines against a good Anaheim team.
Overall the Ducks come in quite hot with five wins in their last seven games. A closer look at their past schedule though shows that Anaheim has just one win in their last four road games. This isn’t good as they head to a raucous crowd in Minnesota.
While Anaheim has been hot in recent games, the Wild have been no slouches either with seven wins in the past 10 contests.
Minnesota comes in off a good 2-1 effort at home over Montreal where they outshot the Habs 35-19 in a dominant performance. The Wild have once again been dominant at home this season with an 8-2-1 mark so far.
While Anaheim has been hot in recent games, the Wild have been no slouches either with seven wins in the past 10 contests. The Ducks and the Wild match up pretty good overall on paper even though one team has the higher point total this season.
The Wild and the Ducks met in Anaheim earlier this season and it was the home side that came away with the victory despite the Wild holding the 28-26 shot advantage on the evening. This game will serve as a revenge game for Minnesota who is 31-24 in that spot the last three seasons. Play MINNESOTA 10* Personal Favorite
|12-03-14||St Louis Blues v. Chicago Blackhawks -144||1-4||Win||100||12 h 51 m||Show|
I am playing on CHICAGO. The Blackhawks have been playing with might and swagger lately and I expect that continue in a big Western Conference meeting with St. Louis at the Madhouse on Madison.
The St. Louis Blues come in on bit of a roll itself as it has won four of five, including a 3-2 win at Minnesota. We will give them credit for that win as the Wild are a good team at home. Still, the Blackhawks are another type of animal to defeat on the road or anywhere for that matter.
St. Louis comes into Chicago having lost six of the eight meetings held at the United Center and five overall. During that stretch they've been outscored 19-6. To their credit they did win the lone meeting between these two teams in Missouri back on Oct. 25.
The Blues will start back-up Jake Allen who has yet to face the Blackhawks in his short career. The Blues have had starting goaltender problems as they recently signed ancient veteran Martin Brodeur who has been a free agent since the July 1st start-up. Starter Brian Elliot is on the shelf with an injury.
The Blackhawks have been about as hot lately with three straight victories and wins in eight of 10. A 4-1 victory over Los Angeles on Saturday completed a 5-1-0 trip, and they return to a three-game home winning streak. The Blackhawks have averaged 3.70 goals in past 10 games after averaging 2.43 through 14 contests.
Chicago comes into this game looking for revenge for that aforementioned 3-2 loss earlier this year. Keep in mind the Hawks are 9-4 this season when revenging a loss to an opponent.
The Hawks are again a strong home team at 7-3-1 in games played at the Madhouse on Madison this season. Look for them to take care of business again against one of the teams they need to beat in the Western Conference. We have to lay some juice to get Chicago but this is far less than usual. 9* Personal Favorite.
|12-01-14||Florida Panthers v. Columbus Blue Jackets -110||Top||1-2||Win||100||10 h 12 m||Show|
I am playing on COLUMBUS. The Blue Jackets are stuck in a lengthy losing streak but I this is a good spot for them to bump it with a nice home win.
The Florida Panthers come in feeling pretty good about itself after winning two straight to end a recent three game home stand. The wins however did come against Carolina and Ottawa who are also basement dwellers in the NHL. Keep in mind that the Panthers are just 1-3 after games versus a divisional opponent this season.
For the Panthers this will be the first game of a back-to-back on the road where they will travel to Detroit to face a good Red Wings team on Tuesday. It would not be hard to see Florida get caught looking forward to a showdown with the Red Wings.
The Blue Jackets have been terrific against the Panthers on home ice and in general of late. Columbus is 6-2 overall and more importantly for this situation, 2-0 at home versus Florida the past three years.
While Columbus has struggled mightily this season, they are starting to get closer and closer to full health and you saw some impact in its last game as it fought tooth in nail against a good Nashville team on the road and lost by just a goal. Play on COLUMBUS as 10* Monday BEST BET.
|11-28-14||Minnesota Wild v. Dallas Stars -115||5-4||Loss||-115||22 h 48 m||Show|
I am playing on DALLAS. The Stars are starting to finally play some consistent hockey and I expect them to take care of a poor road team in Minnesota.
The Wild come in off 4-0 shutout loss to the LA Kings at home on Wednesday. Minnesota went down 4-0 in the first period and showed no heart to come back even a little bit in the third and fourth periods.
Minnesota is 7-2 at home but on the road it is just 5-7 and is not even close to the same team. To their credit, the Wild won a 2-1 game over the Stars back on Nov. 15 but that will only serve as more motivation for the home side.
Note that the Wild is 1-3 coming off a loss of two goals or more in the previous game.
Dallas comes in having won three straight at home after falling to Carolina in the first game of this five game home stand. Keep in mind that the Stars are 2-0 this season after playing three consecutive home games and 5-3 when playing on two days rest.
The Stars’ best players in Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn have been red hot during a three-game winning streak. Seguin and Benn each have four points during that nice stretch of Dallas wins.
Play on the Stars to continue this hot stretch at home and gain some revenge on a struggling Wild team. 9* Stars
|11-28-14||Winnipeg Jets v. Boston Bruins -155||1-2||Win||100||20 h 18 m||Show|
I am playing on BOSTON. The Bruins have lost two in row to some pretty good teams but will be more determined than ever to end out this home stand on a winning note.
The Winnipeg Jets are playing some fine hockey with two wins so far on this three game road trip that already saw stops in Columbus and Buffalo. The Jets have been beating teams with a losing record all season though and the Bruins are a different animal at home than those other two teams.
The Jets are just 5-8 against teams with a winning record so far this season but did manage to beat the Bruins 2-1 in Manitoba early this season.
Winnipeg starting goalie Ondrej Pavelec has struggled versus this team on the road. In Boston, Pavelec is 0-6-1 with a 4.00 GAA in eight starts. If the Jets don’t go with Pavelec they will have to go with new comer Michael Hutchison who has no experience in the hostile Boston crowd.
This is a tough matchup for the road tripping Jets though as they are 0-2 in the last three seasons at Boston. The Bruins are 8-5-1 at home so far.
Boston has this final game at home before heading out west to face the beasts of the teams in that conference. That will likely make this a massive priority to take care of business against team that it feels it should handle in Winnipeg.
Boston holds a long time record of 18-6-2 in this series and I see them taking another one here. Play BOSTON 8*.
|11-28-14||NY Islanders v. Washington Capitals -110||2-5||Win||100||18 h 21 m||Show|
I am playing on WASHINGTON. The Capitals fell in the first game of this home-and-home set with the Islanders but I think they come back with a win on their ice surface.
The New York Islanders come into this game on a five game winning streak which is currently the longest in the NHL. The Islanders beat the Capitals 3-2 on Wednesday in overtime thanks to a very late goal from John Tavares in the extra period and 25 saves from Jaroslav Halak.
Washington felt like they had the run of the play in the loss on Wednesday but didn’t get the win it deserved.
"I think the next game will be different for them and for us as well," said Caps star Alex Ovechkin, who scored twice on the power play.
Ovechkin has five goals and two assists in his last five games versus New York.
Keep in mind that Washington is 6-1 this season in revenge games. The Capitals are also a strong 3-1-1 in division games and this is one of the biggest of the year to date. 9* Capitals
|11-26-14||Calgary Flames v. San Jose Sharks -185||2-0||Loss||-185||13 h 57 m||Show|
I am playing on SAN JOSE. The Sharks have lost three in a row but deserved a lot better fate in their last two games that came down to a shootout to decide things.
The Calgary Flames come in on a tough spot as they played against the Anaheim Ducks in a spirited game just last night at the Honda Center. The Flames were coming from behind in that game and used up a lot of energy with key players playing a lot of minutes. Dennis Wideman, Mark Giordano and T. J. Brodie all played over 23 minutes in tough conditions.
Keep in mind that the Sharks have dominated the Flames on home ice recently. The Sharks have outscored Calgary 34-18 in taking three straight and seven of eight home meetings.
Even though San Jose has lost three in a row, It outshot the opponent by a margin of 103-57 over those games. Hockey analytics and common sense tells us the Sharks are playing well enough to win.
The Flames got the better of the Sharks in two previous meetings prior to this game but both were held at the Saddledome in Calgary. I like that San Jose goes for double revenge in this situation.
Calgary has fallen behind its’ opponent in three straight games and have lost two of them. Don’t be surprised to see the Flames fall behind once again in this game against a well rested home side. San Jose hasn’t played since Saturday and will be desperate for a win to stop a losing streak. Take San Jose- 9* Personal Favorite.
|11-25-14||Calgary Flames v. Anaheim Ducks -188||2-3||Win||100||31 h 25 m||Show|
I am playing on ANAHEIM. The Ducks finally got a win in regulation on Saturday night over Arizona and I think they get another one over Calgary here.
The Flames come in off yet another come from behind victory on Saturday night over the New Jersey Devils. Calgary's league-leading five victories when trailing after two periods are one more than it had in that same scenario last season.
Calgary came from behind to beat the Ducks last Tuesday night in a 4-3 effort in Calgary. The Flames are admittedly playing very well of late with five wins in their last seven games. Still, playing with fire in coming from behind in a place like Anaheim will not be a good thing this night.
Anaheim has won two straight games after a short streak of three losses in a row. The Ducks come into this game looking for revenge against the Flames as noted earlier here. Having home ice and a rested team should be very helpful.
The Ducks have dominated the Flames at home in recent memory. The Flames are 0-13-5 in the regular season since a 5-1 victory Jan. 19, 2004. They are 0-12-5 there since a 5-2 win during the 2006 playoffs. I expect that dominance to continue here. Play ANAHEIM 6* Blue Marlin.
|11-25-14||Winnipeg Jets v. Columbus Blue Jackets -107||4-2||Loss||-107||30 h 43 m||Show|
I am playing on COLUMBUS. The Jackets have lost three in a row but I expect them to snap that streak when hosting Winnipeg.
Winnipeg hasn’t exactly been gang busters of late themselves, the Jets have lost two in row and now start a three-game road trip in Columbus. They've taken at least four penalties four times during a 1-3-1 stretch and allowed two power-play goals in Sunday's 4-2 loss to St. Louis.
The Jets have been good on the road with a 6-4-2 mark on the season but I am not buying into it too much as they were not a good road team at all last year overall.
Jets’ goalie Ondrej Pavelec has had his troubles with the Blue Jackets and has struggled overall of late. Pavelec has lost four of five starts while posting a 3.33GAA over that span. He's never beaten the Blue Jackets, losing all five starts with a 3.04 GAA after falling 6-3 in the most recent meeting Jan. 11.
Columbus has been a good team this season with injuries being a big part of that. However, the team has started to get healthier and that combined with desperation should really help in this home game.
The Jackets have dominated this matchup and have likely circled the game on the calendar as a game they should win. Columbus has won seven of the last eight matchups dating to the 2007-08 season. Take COLUMBUS-9* Best Bet .
|11-23-14||Montreal Canadiens v. NY Rangers -124||Top||0-5||Win||100||21 h 18 m||Show|
I am playing on the NEW YORK RANGERS. The Rangers have been well rested after a postponed game on Friday and will have the major advantage in this contest at home.
The Montreal Canadians played a spirited game at Boston last night and come in to New York having to play its’ third game in four nights. With wins over St. Louis and Boston coming in, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a small letdown from the Habs.
The Rangers will have geared up for this game as they haven’t played since Wednesday in a home win over Philadelphia. I successfully played on the Rangers in their 2-0 shutout of the Flyers. New York is 2-0 in games after shutting out an opponent this year.
Keep in mind New York hasn’t played a road game since last Monday versus Tampa Bay so they have been comfortably enjoying a somewhat “break” for almost a week due to the cancelled game in Buffalo.
The Rangers will also come in looking for revenge after a 3-1 loss at Montreal on Oct. 25 in an early season matchup. The motivation will be even stronger with the memory of last season’s playoffs.
A hungry and rested Rangers team at home versus a Habs team that played last night is why I am taking the home team in this Sunday contest. 10* Personal Favorite.
|11-22-14||Arizona Coyotes v. San Jose Sharks -169||4-3||Loss||-169||30 h 37 m||Show|
I am playing on the SAN JOSE SHARKS. The Sharks are reeling from a tough road stretch but a home date with the Coyotes should be just the cure.
Arizona comes in off a loss at the Dallas Stars. Note that I played against the Coyotes in that game and their previous game-a loss to the Washington. The Coyotes have not been a good road team this year, or last year and it will be a very difficult matchup at San Jose on a Saturday night
San Jose has played seven of their last eight games on the road and finally gets a breather after their last game on Thursday. I think we see rejuvenated Sharks squad at home.
Granted the Sharks have been less than stellar at home this season, but with a small sample size of just seven games, we will give them the benefit of the doubt as a strong home team like they were last season.
The Sharks made a trade yesterday to send away one of their key contributors in Jason Demers. A trade like this will serve notice to the rest of the veterans that change is coming unless they turn things around.
The desperation from the talented Sharks, home ice advantage, and a poor road side in Arizona will lead to a San Jose victory. It’s worth it to lay the juice in this situation. SJ-7* Personal Favorite.
|11-20-14||Arizona Coyotes v. Dallas Stars -155||1-3||Win||100||13 h 25 m||Show|
9* Dallas. Analysis before 10am PST
|11-19-14||Philadelphia Flyers v. NY Rangers -140||0-2||Win||100||27 h 3 m||Show|
I am playing on NEW YORK. The Rangers have dominated their divisional rival of late and I think that trend continues here with a match-up with Philadelphia on Wednesday.
The Flyers come in having lost two in a row with the most recent, a 6-3 set-back at Montreal. While a bounce effort could be expected, note that that Philly is just 2-5 coming off a game where it has allowed four goals or more. A deeper looks at the numbers show that the Flyers have not been very impressive on the road thus far with a 2-4 record.
Ray Emery struggled in goal against the Canadiens, which may pave the way for Steve Mason to start. Mason, though, is 0-3-0 with a 3.35 GAA on the road this season and 0-3-1 with a 3.44 GAA all-time at the Garden, including two playoff starts.
The Rangers admittedly have not been very good at home of late but have been an outstanding 7-1 versus the Flyers at MSG the last three seasons. Henrik Lundqvist has been a key contributor in the Rangers recent success against the Flyers. At MSG, Lundqvist has allowed just 16 goals in the last 12 games, including eight consecutive regular-season wins with a 1.13 goals-against average.
While both teams are hungry for a win, I think it will be the Rangers that bounce back with a favorable matchup and home ice on their side. Take NEW YORK 9* Personal Favorite
|11-18-14||Washington Capitals -103 v. Arizona Coyotes||Top||2-1||Win||100||28 h 30 m||Show|
I am playing on WASHINGTON. The Capitals are coming in very hungry against an Arizona team due for a letdown and we should take advantage of it.
The Capitals last two games have been losses to St. Louis and New Jersey. In those games the club has scored a combined two goals. To say they are snake bitten is a bit of an understatement as this team has the offensive fire power to light it up any night.
The Arizona Coyotes were able to sneak away from western Canadian road with a solid 2-1 mark. The Coyotes struggled through a 2-1 win over Edmonton primarily due in thanks to goalie Devan Dubynk who made 34 saves and was named the top star of the game.
Arizona returns home now and I am expecting a let-down. The Coyotes will again hit the road for a three game road trip immediately afterwards. It’s also unlikely that Dubnyk can keep up this streak for three games in row.
These two teams played an exciting and goal filled 6-5 game in Washington earlier this year that the Coyotes came out on top of. I expect the Capitals to have revenge on their minds headed into this game. Keep in mind that Washington is a strong 4-1 in games where it is revenging a loss this season.
There is a lot of value on the road team in this game and I like Washington to get the win. 10* Personal Favorite.
|11-16-14||Arizona Coyotes v. Edmonton Oilers -120||2-1||Loss||-120||24 h 18 m||Show|
I am playing on EDMONTON. The Oilers are looking for revenge from a 7-4 loss to the Coyotes earlier this season and I think they get it here.
The Arizona Coyotes come in off an impressive 5-0 win at Vancouver last night. The win snapped the Coyotes three game losing streak. Devan Dubnyk got the teams’ first shutout of the season in making 35 saves while Martin Hanzal dropped a natural Hat-Trick (three in a row) on the Canucks .
Even though the win at Vancouver was impressive, Arizona’s road record is just 3-5-1 on the season and the team is giving 3.17 goals against per game. This trip to northern Canada is never easy and won’t be here. After a massive win like that over a good opponent, a letdown is highly likely.
The Edmonton Oilers have lost two in row coming in, with the latest being a 3-4 OT setback at the hands of Ottawa back on Thursday to start this five game home stand. Keep in mind the Oilers have had since Thursday off while the Coyotes played a road game on Friday. Needless to say the advantage is on our hungry rested side here.
While Edmonton has been streaky we should note that it is 5-3 in games after a non-conference game. The Oilers are 4-4-1 at home this season and the elusive fifth game will be on their minds here against what they will consider a game they should win.
You can bet the Oilers haven’t forgotten the 7-4 shellacking they took from Arizona in the first meeting between these teams back in October this season and getting the Coyotes on this trip is the perfect time to reverse the result.
Play Edmonton to get the win. 9*
|11-16-14||Montreal Canadiens v. Detroit Red Wings -144||4-1||Loss||-144||16 h 38 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. The Wings have the schedule in their favor here. They had a few days off, played Friday (4-1 win over Chicago) and had last night off again. On the other hand, the Habs are off a win vs. the Flyers last night and will now be playing their third game in the past four days. Montreal has been fortunate in previous back-to-back spots this season, as they've come against weaker teams. That's not the case here though. The Wings, who will be looking to avenge an October loss at Montreal, have won seven of the last 10 meetings with the Canadiens here. Payback time. 9* personal favorite
|11-15-14||Anaheim Ducks v. Los Angeles Kings -136||Top||2-3||Win||100||23 h 7 m||Show|
I’m playing on the LA KINGS. The Kings come into this game highly motivated after two straight bad losses to Western conference rivals. The good news is that the defending Cup Champions get right back at it here and this time in their building.
I successfully played on the Ducks in this match-up three nights ago in an intense game at the Honda Center where the home team came out on top after a shootout. I think once again, it is the home team that has the advantage here. That game has been highly talked about as the “game of the year” in the NHL and it was likely embarrassing for the Kings to come out on the wrong side of it after holding such a nice lead.
The LA Kings bring a strong 7-2-1 record at the Staples Center into this game and will want nothing more to get revenge in front of its home crowd versus its biggest rival. Keep in mind that that the Kings are a fantastic 4-1 in “revenge games” this season already.
Having Jonathan Quick on our side in this game is a strong advantage. Quick, who rested Thursday will likely get the start versus Anaheim again in net again for the Kings. He’s 6-0-1 with a 0.84 goals against-average in his last seven home starts.
The Ducks have gotten a little lucky to have earned points with poor goaltending and injuries of late. Francois Beauchemin and Corey Perry will likely not be at 100%-or miss this game entirely.
No one on the LA Kings was very happy after back-to-back losses and especially one to the Ducks where they gave up a two-goal lead late in the third period. I expect a major bounce-back and win from the champs in a big Saturday night game. 10* Personal Favorite.
|11-12-14||Los Angeles Kings v. Anaheim Ducks -107||5-6||Win||100||12 h 50 m||Show|
I’m playing on ANAHEIM. The Ducks have had this game circled ever since the Kings knocked them out of the playoffs last year. Remember, that series went to seven games and the Kings won Game 7 here at the Honda Center. Adding insult to injury, the Ducks and their fans had to listen to LA fans chanting: “This is our house!”
Knowing that they’ll play these same Kings at LA on Saturday, getting some payback and snapping their current skid becomes even more important for the Ducks. I successfully played on the Kings in their last game, a 5-1 win over Vancouver on Saturday. Note that they were only 4-4 (-1.2) the last couple of seasons, when playing with three or more day’s rest in between games. They did win their lone game in that situation so far this season. However, that was a home game against Buffalo, arguably the worst team in the league. During the same period, the Ducks are 17-10 (+1.7) when playing with two day’s rest in between games. They’ve started off poorly against divisional opponents this season but that has been a strength the past few years. I expect them to get back on track tonight. 9* best bet
|11-11-14||Winnipeg Jets v. Montreal Canadiens -144||0-3||Win||100||28 h 1 m||Show|
I am playing on MONTREAL. The Canadiens are back to the form they started with at the beginning of the season and it seems to be propelled by a key change to the lineup.
On Monday the team announced it was sending forward Rene Bourque to the minors following two games where he was a healthy scratch due to just two assists and a minus-9 rating to open the season. Rookie Jiri Sekac has taken Bourque’s spot on the third line with Lars Eller and Brandon Prust and the trio produced a pair of goals in Montreal’s 4-1 win over Minnesota on Saturday.
It seems to be just the spark that the Habs needed after they suffered three straight losses where they couldn't do anything right.
The Canadiens’ goaltending looks back in form too with 61 saves on 63 shots over the past two games - both victories. Carey Price looked especially sharp against Minnesota, bailing the Habs out of a sluggish first period when he made several great saves while being outshot 12-7 in that frame.
Montreal has a three-game home stand this week that begins with Winnipeg Tuesday and it only gets tougher with Boston and Philadelphia to follow. The Habs know that getting a win against the Jets on Tuesday is key for setting up their week and I believe that will have them in top form against the Jets. 9* Personal Favorite
|11-08-14||Vancouver Canucks v. Los Angeles Kings -128||Top||1-5||Win||100||30 h 34 m||Show|
I’m playing on the Los Angeles Kings as my 10* Saturday. The Kings are in rare territory with only one win in their last six contests. Los Angeles tries to get the bad taste of a shootout loss to the Islanders out of its mouth when it welcomes the Vancouver Canucks to the Staples Center Saturday.
The Kings can look at a five-game road trip as the root of their issues but are back home in Los Angeles for this important matchup with the Canucks. They’re one of the best home teams in the NHL in recent seasons with a 63-28 record in their last 91 games on home ice. Los Angeles has knocked off Vancouver in four of their last five home stands against the Canucks.
The Kings are hoping the improved play of Mike Richards and Dwight King is contagious. With the first line forwards in a skid, getting a boost from the second teamers is important. Los Angeles is also expected to have Justin Williams back in the lineup Saturday, so there is some depth in the Kings offense.
Perhaps the biggest difference in this game could come on faceoffs. Vancouver has won only 47 percent of faceoffs to start the year – ranked 27th in the NHL – while the Kings dominate the circle with a 52.6 success rate of faceoffs. Maintaining possession, especially in the Canucks' end, is priority if L.A. is going to jump start its offense and end this skid.
The Kings’ dominance on home ice and the play of their second line forwards is why I’m playing on Los Angeles as a 10* Saturday.
|11-06-14||Vancouver Canucks v. San Jose Sharks -154||3-2||Loss||-154||13 h 42 m||Show|
I am playing on SAN JOSE. The Sharks have the rare NHL luxury of having four full days of rest before tonight’s game against Vancouver, which is just one reason I really like the Sharks here.
|11-06-14||Toronto Maple Leafs v. Colorado Avalanche -120||Top||3-4||Win||100||11 h 15 m||Show|
I am playing on COLORADO. The Avs are off to a rough start to the season but I believe they’ll give the Leafs their best effort of this early campaign Thursday night.
|11-04-14||Chicago Blackhawks -125 v. Montreal Canadiens||5-0||Win||100||7 h 25 m||Show|
I am playing on CHICAGO. I believe a visit to the Bell Center in Montreal could just be what the Stanley-Cup favored Blackhawks need to snap them out of a recent funk. The Canadiens are coming off two dismal losses – to the Canucks and Flames – and I believe they got caught reading their own newspaper clippings after a strong start to the season. The Habs have shown two mediocre efforts in those losses and a deep team like Chicago will punish them with its depth over a 60-minute game. I expect tonight’s game to be a tough battle between two squads who haven’t shown their best lately and I feel that special teams will ultimately decide this one. The Blackhawks hold the considerable advantage there with better numbers on both the power play and the penalty kill. But it’s the Habs’ futility on the power play especially that I expect to be the difference tonight. Montreal hasn’t scored on the man advantage in six games and the Canadiens are one of only five teams in the league that are finishing at a clip of worse than 10 percent on the PP. Montreal has also allowed a goal on the penalty kill in each of its last two games. 9*
|11-04-14||Calgary Flames v. Washington Capitals -143||4-3||Loss||-143||7 h 50 m||Show|
I am playing on WASHINGTON. When it comes to hockey - maybe more than any other sport - sometimes a team needs a good ripping to turn itself around. That's what head coach Barry Trotz did Saturday night after the Caps' sloppy 6-5 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Trotz closed the doors and let his team have an earful after a game in which the Caps allowed five straight goals at one point to a travel-weary Coyotes team on the last leg of an East Coast road trip. "Behavior has to change," Trotz said to reporters after the game. "Or we have to change people, plain and simple." The Caps have now lost four straight games and they know they have to give their dedicated fan base a better effort on home ice Tuesday night. I expect to see Washington playing tighter defensively and more disciplined after giving up 17 power plays during those four losses. What I like about Washington is the club’s power play is on fire and the Caps can use that to pull out of this slump. They are an amazing 6-for-18 with the man advantage over their last six games and Alex Ovechkin is finally putting points on the board – four in his past two games – after a six-game drought. 9*
|11-04-14||Carolina Hurricanes v. Columbus Blue Jackets -124||4-2||Loss||-124||7 h 49 m||Show|
I am playing on COLUMBUS. You don’t need to look too much further than the Hurricanes’ road record to see why this is a solid play tonight. The Canes are the absolute worst in the NHL with their road colors on at 0-5-1. Los Angeles and Edmonton are the only two other teams without a win on the road this season, but they haven’t racked up losses as visitors like Carolina has. Carolina is coming off its worst October ever with just two points. The Canes weren’t even that bad in 2009-10 when they lost 14 straight games from mid-October to mid-November. At least the team still collected seven points in October that season. It isn’t helping that they’re getting no production from a guy who’s supposed to be one of their top forwards, Alex Semin, who sat out the last two games as a healthy scratch. Semin could be back tonight but I’m not sure he’s going to help Carolina improve on its 1-4 record during its last five trips to Columbus. 9*
|11-01-14||Chicago Blackhawks -150 v. Toronto Maple Leafs||2-3||Loss||-150||11 h 33 m||Show|
I’m playing on the Chicago Blackhawks as my 9* Personal Favorite Saturday. Chicago’s offense finally showed up in a big 5-4 shootout win over Ottawa Thursday. The Blackhawks ride that momentum into a road date with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are playing the second side of back-to-back games Saturday.
Chicago’s talented scoring attack had stalled out to start the season, netting an average of only 2.5 goals per night. However, the Blackhawks woke up with four goals in regulation versus the Senators, including two goals from Jonathan Toews.
With Chicago’s stars heating up, the Blackhawks are one of the toughest teams in the NHL to stop. And against the Leafs, Chicago has been especially explosive. In their last seven head-to-head games, the Blackhawks have found the back of the net 30 times – an average of more than four goals per game. They've scored five or more goals in four of those seven meetings with Toronto.
The Maple Leafs won 4-1 in Columbus Friday night and traveled back to Toronto for tonight’s game. Early-season back-to-back sets are always a challenge, as players are not yet in tip-top shape. Expect the Leafs to be dragging their skates against a Chicago team that likes to press the tempo.
On top of that, Chicago is expected to welcome back No. 1 netminder Corey Crawford, who missed the past two weeks due to an upper-body injury. Crawford posted a slim 1.66 GAA and a .926 save percentage in his four starts before getting hurt. (I'd still like the Hawks even without Crawford, however.)
A Blackhawks team finding its form on offense and the likely return of its top netminder is why I’m playing on Chicago as my 9* Personal Favorite Saturday.
|10-31-14||Toronto Maple Leafs v. Columbus Blue Jackets -102||4-1||Loss||-102||11 h 26 m||Show|
’m playing on the Columbus Blue Jackets as my 9* Best Bet Friday. Columbus looks to snap a three-game slide Friday when it hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have been terribly inconsistent to start the season.
The Blue Jackets are digging deep down their bench with a rash of injuries making its way through the roster. Columbus’ injury woes have coincided with a tough stretch of schedule, meeting Anaheim and Los Angeles on the road and facing a hot Ottawa team during that three-game slide.
Toronto doesn’t offer the same level of competition as those recent foes. The Leafs were able to beat up on lowly Buffalo at home Tuesday but haven’t been able to string wins together. Their defense hasn’t done much to limit opponents’ chances, giving up 31.2 shots per game and coughing up the puck at a troubling rate.
The Blue Jackets are a very disciplined club and take care of the puck. They’re a desperate team and will pounce on any scoring chances offered them. Columbus has had good success very the Leafs in the past, winning four of their past five meetings, including all three last season. It outscored Toronto 13-3 in those games.
A wobbly Maple Leafs team and a desperate Columbus side taking a step down in recent competition is why I’m playing on Columbus as my 9* Best Bet Friday.
|10-30-14||Winnipeg Jets v. New Jersey Devils -141||Top||1-2||Win||100||23 h 14 m||Show|
I am playing on NEW JERSEY. The Devils have been struggling lately but I believe pride will kick in with this historic franchise and they’ll earn their first home win of the season on Thursday.
New Jersey is 0-1-1-1 at home this year and I predict we’ll see a scrappy, high-flying effort from the club in its first game back after a two-game road trip. The Jets are just 2-6 in the last eight meetings in the swamp, which I feel makes them the right opponent at the right time for the Devils.
The Devils should see more favorable calls from the officials at the Prudential Center after being forced to kill 11 penalties on the road their last two games. That’s a huge factor because New Jersey’s PK unit is the worst in the league this season.
What New Jersey has done well this year is put the puck in the net. They average 3.1 goals per game and, amazingly, 16 players have scored a goal for the Devils through nine games this year. I don’t think Winnipeg will keep up with a motivated New Jersey club that’s starving for its first home win. 10* Personal Favorite
|10-28-14||Anaheim Ducks v. Chicago Blackhawks -144||Top||1-0||Loss||-144||25 h 17 m||Show|
I am playing on CHICAGO. There are two Blackhawk teams in the early going so far this season – the road Hawks and the home Hawks and one of the big reasons I like them Tuesday is they’ll be playing at the United Center.
The Blackhawks are 4-0-1 at home this season and squeezing opponents to the tune of just 1.20 goals against. What might be more impressive is that they don’t seem to mind who is between the pipes. Goaltender Corey Crawford is questionable recently with an upper body injury but 25-year-old Scott Darling slid in seamlessly for his first NHL win Monday night in stellar performance in a 2-1 win.
An incredible penalty kill is also helping Chicago win games. They haven’t allowed a goal on the PK in four games and the Blackhawks own the No. 3 unit in the league.
Depth is the real killer for Blackhawks opponents though and they already have 13 players with goals through eight games so far. New addition Brad Richards has three assists and two players with breakout seasons last year – Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw – have picked up where they left off. Saad has six points and Shaw has three goals and four points through eight games. The Blackhawks are not a team opponents want to run into right now, especially in Chicago. I believe puck bettors should take advantage before the juice gets too high and the wins pile up. 10* Personal Favorite
|10-28-14||Minnesota Wild v. Boston Bruins -150||4-3||Loss||-150||11 h 1 m||Show|
I’m playing on BOSTON. I believe this will prove to be a tough spot for the Wild. The Bruins had the past two nights off. On the other hand, the Wild are off a game at MSG last night. Minnesota dominated that game for two periods and entered the third period with a 3-0 lead. However, the Rangers stunned them with five goals in the final period to win 5-4. That’s the type of loss that can be hard to immediately bounce back from, particularly the next night against a talented and rested team like the one they’ll face here.
After a sluggish start, the Bruins have won four of six. They won 4-1 without Chara in the lineup last time out. While he’ll be missed, the Bruins have shown they can win without him and his absence has helped in keeping this line lower than it could have easily been.
Coach Julien is determined to keep the pedal to the metal though. He had this to say: "We played well last game, but that's just one game. We have to be able to sustain it, that's the challenge that we have right now and that's the challenge that we're facing and that we've got to respond to. We've got to continue doing that on a daily basis, whether it's in practice or in games, continue to stay on top of our game here.”
The home team won both meetings in this series last season, the Bruins winning 4-1 here at Boston. A similar result tonight won’t surprise. 8* Annihilator
|10-26-14||Washington Capitals v. Vancouver Canucks -130||Top||2-4||Win||100||14 h 20 m||Show|
I am playing on the CANUCKS. Vancouver comes into this much-needed home game well rested and prepared to get back on track against a fatigued Caps squad.
The Canucks went 1-2 on their three-game road trip this week, which ended Friday night in a 7-3 loss to the Avalanche. Vancouver flew straight home after the game and was given Saturday off to recover for Sunday’s home meeting with Washington.
The Caps are playing on back-to-back nights and in their final game of a three-game western Canadian road trip where they are 1-1 after a 3-1 win over Calgary Saturday night. I anticipate Vancouver taking advantage of a tired team that’s playing its first back-to-back situation of the season with the added misfortune of doing it while jumping western time zones.
Washington has been one of Vancouver’s favorite opponents in recent seasons. The Canucks are 2-9 in the last 11 meetings and they’ve won the last five meetings at home.
It won’t help the Caps that sniper Alex Ovechkin hasn’t registered a point in his past three games or that the team has allowed a power play goal in each of its last three outings. Vancouver tends to get the benefit of the doubt with calls in its own building and had 13 power play opportunities in its first two home games. 10* Personal Favorite
|10-25-14||Tampa Bay Lightning v. Minnesota Wild -157||2-7||Win||100||11 h 20 m||Show|
I am playing on the WILD. There are a lot of reasons I like the Wild tonight and oddsmakers are deservedly giving them a little more chalk than we might expect against a solid 5-2-0-1 team like Tampa Bay.
Here are the key reasons I believe Minnesota comes up with the victory tonight:
o The Wild catch Tampa Bay on its last game of a brutal 5-game road trip that saw the Bolts work their way through the western Canadian teams for their first four games
o Tampa Bay is expected to start back-up goaltender Evgeni Nabokov
o Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper is piping-hot at 3-1 with a 0.50 goals against average. He’s expected to start Saturday
o The Wild are 2-0 at home (and have an incredible home atmosphere) and they are a perfect 5-0 on the puckline this season
o Tampa Bay has key injuries on the blue line (Keith Ballard and Christian Folin are expected out) and another up front (Ryan Callahan will miss his third straight game)
o Minnesota has only given up four goals in five games this season with three shutouts
o The home team has won the last three meetings in this series and the Lightning are 2-6 in their last eight meetings with Minnesota
9* Personal Favorite
|10-24-14||Vancouver Canucks v. Colorado Avalanche -120||Top||3-7||Win||100||14 h 29 m||Show|
I’m playing on the Colorado Avalanche as my 10* Personal Favorite Friday. The Avalanche are having a tough time getting out of the blocks this season, with just one win in their first seven games. But Colorado has a perfect opportunity to turn things around against the Vancouver Canucks Friday.
The Avalanche have a home-ice edge against the Canucks Friday. Not only was Colorado one of the toughest home sides in hockey last season - 26-11-2-2 inside the Pepsi Center – but welcome a Vancouver team coming off a 4-1 win over the Blues Thursday night.
Those tired legs will be compounded by the altitude in Colorado and the thin air will leave the Canucks struggling for stamina as this game wears on. This will be Vancouver’s final leg of a three-game road trip that has the team playing three games in four nights.
The Avalanche also return No. 1 goalie Semyon Varlamov Friday night. Colorado has given up 12 goals in the three games without Varlamov in the crease. His return should give a lift to this young Colorado team that just needs a win to kick start another successful season.
That’s why I’m playing on Colorado as my 10* Personal Favorite Friday.
|10-21-14||Carolina Hurricanes v. Winnipeg Jets -150||1-3||Win||100||13 h 37 m||Show|
I’m playing on WINNIPEG. Both these teams could really use a victory tonight. Playing on home ice, I expect the Jets to be the team which gets one.
While the Hurricanes are already getting healthier, they’re dealing with a number of day-to-day injuries at the moment. Working players into the lineup that are returning and/or at less than 100% can be challenging.
Note that the Canes are 2-6 (-5) the past couple of seasons when playing with three or more day’s rest. During that time, they’re also 7-14 after scoring one goal or less in their previous game.
While they gave up four against Calgary last time out, the Jets are 17-13 (+6.3) the past 30 times that they gave up four or more goals in their previous game.
Winnipeg’s Paul Maurice used to coach Carolina, twice. I expect him to have his current team, who he read the riot act to, ready to play against his former one, their hard work leading to a much needed two points. 9* personal favorite
|10-19-14||Calgary Flames v. Winnipeg Jets -140||4-1||Loss||-140||21 h 17 m||Show|
I’m playing on the WINNIPEG JETS. It hasn’t been the kind of start to the season the Jets have wanted, but a lengthy homestand can fix a lot of things - especially when the opponent is closing out an equally long road trip. That’s what Winnipeg faces Sunday night, as it takes on a Calgary Flames team playing the finale of a six-game trek.
The Jets did a lot of things well in Friday’s 2-0 loss to Nashville that kicked off a stretch of five consecutive home games. Winnipeg outshot Nashville 31-27 and killed off all four Predators power-play chances - extending the Jets’ streak of season-opening penalty kills to 18. The Jets have just one goal in their last three games despite recording 30 shots or more in each of them - simply put, they’ve been snake-bitten. And a similar performance against Calgary should yield better results.
As for the Flames, they’ve racked up some serious frequent flyer miles so far - and it may be wearing on them. They didn’t look sharp against the Blue Jackets on Friday until they were already behind 3-0. And if you consider their showing the game before that - when they beat Chicago despite being outshot 50-18 - it’s clear the Flames are just about ready to head back to Calgary. They’ve also won just eight of the last 32 times playing a fourth game in six nights.
I like the home team here. A lot.
9* Personal Favorite
|10-18-14||NY Islanders v. Pittsburgh Penguins -150||1-3||Win||100||12 h 48 m||Show|
I’m playing on PITTSBURGH. The Isles have gotten off to a great (4-0) start. However, I expect them to finally taste defeat here.
Its true that the Isles are an improved team this year. They may be starting to get a little ahead of themselves though, talking in the papers about how they "outplayed the Sharks” and how great they’re playing.
The Pens know the Isles are improved and I expect them to take this game as a challenge. They’ve a commanding 19-5-1 the last 25 in the series.
Note that the Pens have been laying a minimum of -200 each of the last six times they were a host in this series. We’re getting a far more reasonable price today.
Crosby tallied eight points in last year’s four meetings, scoring in all of them. I expect him to lead his team to another win here. 8* personal favorite
|10-17-14||Calgary Flames v. Columbus Blue Jackets -163||2-3||Win||100||17 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on the BLUE JACKETS. Columbus was victimized by Tyler Seguin and the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night, but the visiting Calgary Flames have no such offensive threat on the roster, and have been playing over their head on the road to date. I like the Blue Jackets to bounce back at home.
Columbus has been one of the most disciplined teams in the league to date; it has surrendered just five power plays in its first three games, and hasn’t been scored on while shorthanded. In a league where special teams play such a pivotal role, The Blue Jackets come into this one at a major advantage.
On the surface, the Flames’ 3-1 road record is impressive. But take a closer look, and you’ll see a team that has given up an amazing 150 shots in those four games - an average of 37 1/2 - and was fortunate to escape Chicago with a win after being outshot 50-18. Calgary’s penalty killing has also been a sore spot, as the Flames have allowed six man-advantage goals through five games.
Another critical factor: The Flames will be playing the fifth game of a six-game road trip. That’s a lot of early-season miles - and makes Columbus an even stronger play.
9* - Personal Favorite
|10-15-14||Calgary Flames v. Chicago Blackhawks -245||2-1||Loss||-245||12 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on CHICAGO. I know some of you don't agree with playing games in this price range. However, when I believe the line should be even higher, as I do here, I don't mind doing so. While I obviously don't win them all, that philosophy has treated me well over the years.
The Hawks are among the top teams in the league. They're talented, have great leadership and they're extremely well-coached. They're also well-rested and off to a perfect start.
The Flames are off a very hard fought 65 minute game at Nashvile last night, one which they won in a shootout. I played against them the last time they stepped up in class to face a top team (St. Louis) and they were outmatched from the beginning. True, Calgary was able to win (at Edmonton) when playing a b2b spot earlier - these aren't the Oilers though and the Flames' long-term numbers in that situation aren't pretty.
I expect the Hawks to have the fresher legs and look for them to come away with the two points. 6*
|10-14-14||Dallas Stars +115 v. Columbus Blue Jackets||4-2||Win||115||22 h 14 m||Show|
I’m playing on the DALLAS STARS. It’s been rough going for the Western Conference flavors of the week through two games, but there’s more than enough firepower on this team to lay waste to any team in the conference - including Tuesday’s foe, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Consider the Stars’ scoring ledger through two games. Jason Spezza: one assist. Ales Hemsky: one assist. Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Valeri Nichushkin and Alex Goligoski: zero points each. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another two-game stretch that dire for this group of six players, so don’t be surprised to see one or more of them break out - and soon.
Benn and Seguin, in particular, look like good bets to get things going against the Blue Jackets. Both players have taken 11 shots apiece - tops on the team - and each have hit a post. Seguin missed a wide-open net, while Benn had a sure goal blocked by an opposing defenseman. The bounces aren’t going their way yet - but they will. Both players are too good to be held off the scoresheet for much longer.
As for Columbus, it has looked good so far - but wins over the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Rangers’ backup goaltender aren’t exactly impressive. Dallas should provide a stiffer challenge - and one the Blue Jackets may not be able to handle.
9* - Underdog Shocker
|10-11-14||Calgary Flames v. St Louis Blues -193||1-4||Win||100||19 h 59 m||Show|
I’m playing on ST. LOUIS. The Blues fell victim to an unstoppable force in Rick Nash in their season opener, but won’t have to worry about the same thing happening Saturday as they welcome a Calgary Flames team playing its third game in four nights. The Flames aren’t that good to begin with, and facing a condensed schedule to start the campaign isn’t going to help matters.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a deeper team than the Blues, who will trot out two dangerous forward lines, two elite defensive pairings and one of the league’s most underrated goalies in Brian Elliott. The St. Louis power-play struggled in the opener, but may not go 0-for-5 again all season - and certainly not against a team like Calgary, which has given up three power-play goals in six chances through three games.
And while I’m on the Flames … should a team that will struggle to keep the puck out of the net really be benching its highest-paid defenseman in just the second game of the season? It didn’t hurt them against the Oilers, but they’re going to need all hands on deck against St. Louis - and even then, it shouldn’t matter. St. Louis is too skilled, and looking to bounce back after getting outclassed at home in its season opener.
6* Blue Marlin
|10-09-14||Montreal Canadiens v. Washington Capitals -130||2-1||Loss||-130||9 h 55 m||Show|
I’m playing on the Washington Capitals as my 9* Personal Favorite Thursday. The Capitals come into this season with a fresh outlook and a new head coach that is stressing solid play on both ends of the ice. Washington welcomes a worn-out Montreal side coming off a tough win in Toronto Thursday. Capitals head coach Barry Trotz is looking to make a splash in his debut behind the bench. He’s pushing superstar Alex Ovechkin to not only be a force with the puck but also a physical presence on defense. Trotz shifted Ovechkin back to the left wing and is hoping an emphasis on covering the point, poke-checking, and using his speed and size will in turn create better chances on the offensive end. Washington will be out in enforce Trotz brand of hockey against a Montreal team that could show some early season rust after taking the ice for its opener Thursday. The Habs squeaked out a 4-3 victory over the Maple Leafs, snapping a four-game opening night losing skid to Toronto. The window is open for a letdown in D.C. Thursday with the Canadiens still rounding into game shape. Montreal hasn’t had the best success against the Capitals, dropping 10 of its last 12 overall meetings. Last season, Washington took two of three meetings with the Habs including their lone meeting inside the Verizon Center. A tired traveling Montreal side and a Washington team trying to make a memorable debut for its new coach is why I’m playing Washington as my 9* Personal Favorite Thursday.
|10-08-14||San Jose Sharks v. Los Angeles Kings -132||4-0||Loss||-132||37 h 42 m||Show|
I’m playing on the Los Angeles Kings moneyline as my 9* Personal Favorite Wednesday. The defending Stanley Cup champions have a tall task in their California rivals, the San Jose Sharks, at home. But L.A. is getting great value and this is a matchup that favors the Kings in the season opener.
Defending Cup winners have had a tough time maintaining those high standards in their season openers since the lockout, but this Kings squad is based on a bruising blueline and always-solid goaltending, two things that never go out of style when it comes to winning hockey games. Los Angeles gave up just two goals per game last year – tops in the NHL – and should once again be among the top defensive clubs in the league.
The Kings have a strong mental edge coming into Wednesday’s season debut versus San Jose. The Sharks held a 3-0 series lead over the Kings in the opening round of the playoffs last year, but L.A. battled back – on the shoulders of that dominating defense - to win four straight. It limited San Jose to only five goals in those final four games, delivering another crushing postseason collapse to the Sharks.
Los Angeles is a tough team to beat on its home ice. The Kings posted a 23-14-2-2 record inside the Staples Center last season and have come away with the victory in 57 of their previous 83 home games – a winning percentage of 69 percent. That home-ice advantage has been especially solid against the Sharks, who have lost 10 of their last 11 trips to L.A.
That mental edge over San Jose and the best blueline in the business are why I’m playing on the Los Angeles Kings moneyline as my 9* Personal Favorite Wednesday.
|06-13-14||NY Rangers v. Los Angeles Kings -163||2-3||Win||100||33 h 16 m||Show|
I’m playing on LA. I successfully backed the Rangers last game. I felt that they would get a big game from Lundqvist, after Quick had outplayed him the previous game. I also felt that they would be highly motivated to avoid watching the Kings celebrate in front of the NY fans. They accomplished that mission. Barely. However, even the Rangers know that the odds of them coming all the way back remain slim.
While they’ve survived a few Game 7’s, the Kings obviously don’t want to see this series go any further. Its the middle of June and its time to put this series to bed. In my opinion, they’ve already beaten better teams (Sharks, Ducks, Hawks) than the one which they’re facing.
While Lundqvist remains among the best in the game, the same can be said of Quick. I look for him to shine and for the Kings to celebrate. 8* main event
|06-11-14||Los Angeles Kings v. NY Rangers -137||Top||1-2||Win||100||12 h 10 m||Show|
I’m playing on NEW YORK. As you’re likely aware, the Kings have a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. After eking out a pair of thrillers out West, they won by a score of 3-0 in Game 3. While they’d surely like to wrap things up tonight, there’s no real urgency to do so. Having "gone the distance" so many times now, this is an LA team which much feel extremely confident in its ability to close things out at home in Game 5 (or if that fails, in Game 6 or Game 7). Again, I don’t think there will be much “desperation" to close things out tonight. For the Rangers, down 0-3, they’ve now been written off. That should take some of the pressure off. Remember, this is a proud and talented team which had a magical run to get here and which very easily could have won either of the first two games. They’ve got a big game goalie, who won’t like the fact that Quick stole the spotlight last game. While they know their chances of winning the Cup are now slim, I believe the Rangers are going to be highly motivated to win a game and to to avoid watching the Kings celebrate in front of the NY fans. They’re 7-1 (+6.8) the last eight times that they’d lost their previous three games and I expect them to improve on those stats tonight. 10* main event
|06-01-14||Los Angeles Kings v. Chicago Blackhawks -144||5-4||Loss||-144||24 h 19 m||Show|
I’m playing on CHICAGO. I believe the defending champs have a lot going for them here. Having rallied from a 3-1 deficit, the Hawks have momentum in their corner. Having rallied from that 3-1 deficit, in my opinion, there isn’t as much pressure as there otherwise would have been for a Game 7. After all, this team was supposed to be done at that point. While the Hawks are full of confidence, thoughts of "what could have been” may already be creeping into the Kings’ heads. On the verge of blowing a 3-1 lead and trip to the finals, they may be feeling some pressure.
Both teams are talented and well-coached. However, I give the Hawks the edge in both those critical areas.
Of course, then there’s the fact that the Hawks are playing on home ice, where they’re extremely tough to beat. They’re 12-1 their last 13 here. They’re also 7-1 their last eight against the Kings here. All things considered, I feel the price could easily be higher. 9* main event
|05-29-14||Montreal Canadiens v. NY Rangers -172||0-1||Win||100||18 h 40 m||Show|
’m playing on NEW YORK. The Canadiens deserve a ton of credit. They’ve gone a lot further than expected, keeping hockey relevant for many Canadians. I believe their season will come to an end tonight though.
NY’s Brad Richards noted: ''It's a desperate time. You don't want to go back to a Game 7 where anything can happen. We want to get this done … We're going to have to be a lot better, and we will be.''
Prior to last game, the Rangers had only allowed more than four goals once this entire month, a 4-2 loss against the Penguins exactly three weeks ago. They responded to that loss with a dominating 5-1 victory next time out, the game which swung that series in their favor. They haven’t lost back-to-back games since and I don’t see it happening here. Home ice and Lundqvist in goal ultimately prove the difference. 7*
|05-28-14||Los Angeles Kings v. Chicago Blackhawks -135||Top||4-5||Win||100||13 h 0 m||Show|
I’m playing on CHICAGO. The Kings have certainly been impressive. If they can put away the Hawks, given the way they’ve been playing, one has to like their chances in the Finals. I’m not willing to write the defending champs off quite yet. This is a very well-coached team, one with a lot of talent and a lot of pride. With their captain (Toews) leading them, they aren’t about to wave the white flag. Needless to say, they don’t want to allow the Kings to win the West in front of the Chicago fans.
Coming back from a 3-1 deficit isn’t easy. Lets not forget that that Hawks were in that situation (against the Wings) in last year’s playoffs. That series went much the same way as this one. The Hawks easily won the first game but then lost the next three by multiple goals. They returned home for Game 5 and earned a 4-1 victory. (Some of you may recall that we had a big play on them for that 5/25/13 game.)
LA’s Trevor Lewis noted:''We're expecting their best. They’re back at home now. We're expecting them to come out hard. I mean, they're defending Cup champions. I don't think they're going to give up by any means.’’ I concur. 10* Main Event
|05-18-14||Los Angeles Kings v. Chicago Blackhawks -148||1-3||Win||100||9 h 32 m||Show|
I’m playing on CHICAGO. I believe this is a very fair price. The Hawks are playing like champs. They’re extremely talented and they’re very well-coached. They’re also well-rested and playing at home. On the other hand, the Kings are off another 7-game series. They just played on the West Coast on Friday night and now they’re playing a Sunday afternoon game at Chicago, nearly 2000 miles from LA.
Chicago's 32-14 record at home included a 7-1 mark when the O/U line was set at five. In fact, the Hawks are a profitable 23-6 (+12.6) the past 29 times that they played a home game when the O/U line was less than 5.5.
The Kings allow only 2.3 goals per game on the road. That’s exactly what Chicago allows here at home. The difference is on the other end of the ice. The Hawks average 3.5 goals per game here; the Kings just 2.6 on the road.
Including last year’s playoffs, the Hawks are 9-2 their last 11 against the Kings. I believe the schedule will work in their favor here and expect them to grab Game 1. 8*
|05-14-14||Montreal Canadiens v. Boston Bruins -173||3-1||Loss||-173||30 h 33 m||Show|
I’m playing on BOSTON. Give the Canadiens credit. They’ve done better than many thought they would. However, I expect their season to come to an end against a superior Boston team tonight.
Yes, the Canadiens won big last game. That was at Montreal though. Not only did the Bruins win the last won here at Boston, they’ve been great at bouncing back from a bad loss. On the other hand, the Habs aren’t so good off a big win.
The Canadiens are 19-27 (-11.4) the past couple of seasons off a win by two or more goals. They’re also 22-32 (-12.7) after scoring four or more goals in their previous game.
During the same stretch, the Bruins are 24-7 (+13.8) after losing by two or more goals and 30-11 (+14) after allowing four or more goals in their previous game.
While the Canadiens have outscored teams by a 2.9 to 2.8 average on the road, the Bruins have outscored teams by a commanding 3.2 to 1.8 margin here at Boston. I look for them to bounce back, improving to 9-2 after scoring one goal or less in their previous game. 8* main event
|05-13-14||Chicago Blackhawks -125 v. Minnesota Wild||2-1||Win||100||21 h 41 m||Show|
I’m playing on CHICAGO. Home ice has been key in this series, the home team winning all five meetings. I expect that to change tonight though.
While they’ve also got a significant edge in playoff experience, I believe the Hawks are the more talented team. I believe Toews is one of the best overall players/leaders in the game and that Kane is among the most dangerous on offense. Throw in the likes of Hossa and Sharp and this team has some serious firepower.
Additionally, Quenneville is among the best coaches in the game. He knows this team could really use a little break and that avoiding Game 7 would be in their best interest. I expect him to have the Hawks ready to go and for the series and Minnesota’s season to come to an end. 9* annihilator
|05-13-14||NY Rangers v. Pittsburgh Penguins -154||2-1||Loss||-154||19 h 48 m||Show|
I’m playing on PITTSBURGH. While the Rangers deserve credit for battling back to get here, I like the Penguins in a Game 7 at Pittsburgh.
While the Rangers are still 14-18 (-11.6) off a win by two or more goals, the Pens are still 11-3 (+8.2) off a loss by two or more more goals.
While the Rangers have fared well when tied in the playoffs, the Pens are a perfect 5-0 their last five in that situation, 3-0 already this season. (They won 4-3 and 3-1 when tied with Columbus and 2-0 when tied with NY.)
While Lundqvist can admittedly be tough, in the end, I look for the Pens’ superior offensive firepower to prove the difference. 9* Personal Favorite
|05-11-14||Minnesota Wild v. Chicago Blackhawks -192||1-2||Win||100||21 h 54 m||Show|
I’m playing on CHICAGO. This series is tied 2-2. The home team has won all four games. The wins have been pretty convincing, too. The Hawks won the two here at Chicago by a combined score of 9-3. While we admittedly have to lay a pretty steep price on the Hawks, I expect them to finish on top and believe the line could easily be even higher.
In a similar 2-2 Game 5 situation yesterday, we saw the team (Boston) with the superior talent - the one which had earned home ice advantage - come out on top.
The Hawks are the defending champs. They’re very well-coached and they’re extremely talented. Toews is among the best leaders in the game. They’ve owned the Wild here over the years.
The Wild are 29-50 (-13.6) the past 79 times that they played a road game with an O/U line of six or less. During that time, the Hawks are 22-6 (+11.6) when playing a home game with an O/U line of five or less. I expect home ice to again prove significant as the Hawks play like champs and earn the critical victory. 8* personal favorite
|05-10-14||Montreal Canadiens v. Boston Bruins -182||2-4||Win||100||10 h 15 m||Show|
I’m playing on BOSTON. While they had to settle for a split, the Bruins dominated the two games here at Boston. They had an 86-61 edge in shots in the two games here.
The Habs are 26-27 (-4) the past few seasons after scoring one goal or less in their previous game. During that time, the Bruins are 20-12 (+1.6) after scoring one or less and 14-8 (+2.7) off a shutout win.
While the Canadiens are 21-22 the past few seasons when playing a road game with an O/U line of five or less, the Bruins are 37-17 (+8.4) when playing a home game with an O/U line of five or less. I believe they’re the stronger team and I look for them to take care of business. 8*
|05-09-14||NY Rangers v. Pittsburgh Penguins -170||5-1||Loss||-170||9 h 1 m||Show|
I’m playing on PITTSBURGH. I believe the Penguins smell the blood in the water. They don’t want this series to go back to New York. They don’t want to give the Rangers any life. The Pens are peaking, playing their best hockey. Crosby has started to come back to life while Fleury has been shining in goal. They’ve won their last three games by a combined score of 9-2. The Rangers have already made excuses about their brutal schedule. The Pens are 24-14 (+4.4) the past few seasons after three straight wins and I look for them to keep rolling right into the Eastern Conf. Finals. 7* personal favorite
|05-08-14||Boston Bruins -130 v. Montreal Canadiens||1-0||Push||0||13 h 34 m||Show|
I’m playing on BOSTON. Give the Canadiens credit. They’ve found a way to grab a 2-1 series lead. I still believe that the Bruins are the stronger team though. I look for them to even the series tonight.
Despite being down a game, the Bruins have looked dominant through long stretches of play in the series. They easily could have won both in Boston. While they weren’t their best in Game 3, they again refused to go away.
Boston coach Claude Julien said this of his team: "We're a group that's confident … They know they have to be better and they will be better. It's a 2-1 series. It's not the end of the world here. We've just got to battle back. There's no reason to panic. We haven't in the past and we're not about to panic now.''
In addition to being perfect in these playoffs when trailing in a series, the Bruins are 23-7 (+12.8) the past 30 times that they were off a loss of two or more goals, 9-2 (+6.4) their last 11 in that situation. Don’t count them out yet. 9*
|05-05-14||Los Angeles Kings v. Anaheim Ducks -122||3-1||Loss||-122||36 h 42 m||Show|
I’m playing on ANAHEIM. The Ducks lost a heart-breaker in Game 1. They know they can’t afford to drop both the first two home games and I expect them to bounce back with a big effort here.
A few playoff wins notwithstanding, the Kings have been pretty mediocre on the road. They’re still 26-21 away from LA, outscoring teams by a 2.5 to 2.3 average margin. Not bad - but those stats don’t compare to what the Ducks have done here at home.
Indeed, Anaheim is a dominating 32-13 (+9.8) at home, outscoring opposing teams by a 3.5 to 2.3 margin here.
While the Kings are an excellent defensive team, they’re currently quite banged-up on the blue line. Meanwhile, the Ducks have more offensive firepower.
The Ducks are 8-1 the last nine times that they attempted to avenge a home loss. I believe this price is fair and feel they’ve got a strong shot at improving on those stats tonight. 9* main event
|05-04-14||NY RANGERS GM2 v. PITTSBURGH GM2 -155||Top||0-3||Win||100||17 h 29 m||Show|
I’m playing on PITTSBURGH. The Penguins find themselves in a similar position as the Bruins were in yesterday. They played decently in their opening game but were beaten by a hot goalie. They’re now in danger of falling behind 0-2 and losing both games. Just as Boston rallied to win yesterday, I expect the Pens to also find a way to salvage the 1-1 home split.
The Rangers are indeed playing well defensively and they’ve got a very capable goalie. The Pens have a significant advantage on the offensive end though. While Crosby may not be scoring for the Pens, its only a matter of time before he does. In the meantime, the Pens are loaded with other scoring threats. (The Pens average 3.3 gpg here compared to NY’s 2.7 on the road.)
The Rangers have been dreadful in recent years when they’ve been leading in a playoff series. They were able to overcome it in Game 1 but the effects of a seven game opening series may start to catch up with them a little here. Certainly, Pittsburgh figures to be the more desperate squad. I look for the Pens to bounce back, improving to 17-7 (+8.1) the last 24 times they faced a team which defeated them in the previous meeting. 10* 2nd RND GOY
|05-03-14||Montreal Canadiens v. Boston Bruins -190||3-5||Win||100||15 h 53 m||Show|
I’m playing on BOSTON. The Bruins dominated Game 1 but came up short. Montreal would win 4-3, in double OT. A similar effort this afternoon should result in a victory.
True, the price may initially seem a little steep. However, if one compares it to similar-sized money-lines in other sports, I personally like the Bruins’ chances of winning this game more than nearly any baseball favorite in the -200 range.
Looking at some stats and we find that Boston is still 36-17 (+6.4) at home with an O/U line of five or less the past couple of seasons.
During that time, the Bruins are a profitable 28-11 (+12) after allowing four or more goals in their previous game. Meanwhile, Montreal is 22-30 (-10.7) after scoring four or more.
The only time that the Bruins were trailing in a playoff series this season was after Game 1 of the series against Detroit. They responded with a dominating 4-1 win in Game 2. A similar result here won’t surprise. 9* personal favorite
|05-02-14||Minnesota Wild v. Chicago Blackhawks -196||2-5||Push||0||12 h 20 m||Show|
I’m playing on CHICAGO. While the price is admittedly a little on the steep side, the Hawks have a lot of advantages. Most importantly, they’re a far more dangerous team and they have the advantage of playing at home. They average 3.5 goals per game here, Minnesota averages 2.4 on the road. The Hawks allow 2.3 goals per game here, the Wild allow 2.9 gpg on the road. The Hawks have an advantage in terms of playoff experience and in terms of coaching. They’ve also had a break in between games while the Wild are off a 7-game series. The Wild are 29-48 (-11.6) the past few seasons on the road with an O/U line of five or less. During that time, the Hawks are 20-6 (+9.6) at home with an O/U line of five or less. The Hawks have dominated the Wild here and I look for them to start the series with a win. 6*
|05-02-14||NY Rangers v. Pittsburgh Penguins -150||3-2||Push||0||10 h 51 m||Show|
I’m playing on PITTSBURGH. I believe this line could easily be higher. The Penguins are well-rested and playing at home. They outscore teams by a 3.3 to 2.4 average margin here. On the other hand, the Rangers only outscore teams by a 2.7 to 2.5 margin on the road and they’ll be playing their third game in four days here.
Special teams figures to favor the Pens. The Pittsburgh power-play was the best during the regular season and was a solid 4 for 15 against Columbus. (The Pens also scored a pair of short-handed goals in that series.) On the other ha
While the Rangers did win their most recent visit here, the Pens are still 5-1 the last six meetings here. I like their chances of improving on those stats tonight. 8*
|04-30-14||Los Angeles Kings v. San Jose Sharks -130||Top||5-1||Loss||-130||14 h 42 m||Show|
I’m playing on SAN JOSE. While the Kings have the momentum on their side, I still believe the Sharks are the superior overall team. I expect home ice to prove significant.
While the Kings have been mediocre on the road all season, the Sharks have been dominant here at San Jose. Even after losing the last game here, they’re still 31-13 here, outscoring opponents by an average of 3.3 to 2.2.
The Sharks are also still 11-2 (+8) the last 13 times that they were a host in the series. We’re getting them at a more reasonable price than was available for the majority of those games and I feel that’s providing excellent value. 10* personal favorite
|04-28-14||Pittsburgh Penguins -135 v. Columbus Blue Jackets||4-3||Win||100||10 h 26 m||Show|
I’m playing on PITTSBURGH. The Penguins responded to a rather devastating Game 4 loss with a solid victory in Game 5. I expect them to follow it up with another win here.
An experienced, talented and determined team, the Pens know the importance of sealing the deal tonight and avoiding Game 7. This is particularly true with the other top team in the East (Boston) having already advanced - along with the defending champs (Chicago) over in the West. If they want to advance deep in the playoffs, the Pens know it would help to be fresh when they face those types of teams.
While the score was close, the Pens actually dominated Game 5. They carried the play, had far more scoring chances and were much more physical. The final shot tally was 51-24 in favor of Pittsburgh. The Jackets were arguably fortunate to keep it that close. Needless to say, if the Pens play like that again, they’re going to be tough to beat.
The heartbreaker on 4/23 notwithstanding, the Pens have had little trouble winning here over the years. They’re also a profitable 19-9 (+7.6) the last 28 times that they played a road game with an O/U line of 5.5 and I expect them to improve on those stats tonight. 8* personal favorite
|04-26-14||Columbus Blue Jackets v. Pittsburgh Penguins -185||1-3||Win||100||44 h 55 m||Show|
I’m playing on PITTSBURGH. Yes, the price is high. However, I feel it could easily be higher. While they lost a heartbreaker due to some questionable goaltending (and a bad bounce) last time out, the Penguins are the superior team. While they’re loaded overall, they’ve also got arguably the best player in the world (Crosby) on their team. I expect a highly motivated effort from the captain here.
The Pens outscore teams 3.4 to 2.3 here. The Jackets get outscored 2.7 to 2.6 on the road.
The Pens are 9-5 (+1.3) when playing with two day’s rest in between games, 21-11 (+5.5) in that situation the past couple of seasons. During that time, the Jackets are 13-17 (-2.4) when playing with two day’s rest in between games, 7-9 (-2) this year.
In basically a must win game, I expect the cream to rise to the top, Crosby leading by example and the Pens earning the important victory. 8* personal favorite
|04-23-14||St. Louis Blues v. Chicago Blackhawks -145||3-4||Win||100||13 h 14 m||Show|
I’m playing on CHICAGO. The champs showed they weren’t going to go down without a fight last time out. I like their chances of evening up the series this evening.
Here’s an excerpt from my writeup in Game 3. Most of it still applies, so I’m including it here: "...After a pair of heart-breaking OT losses in St. Louis, the Hawks are in a hole. Coming back against this talented St. Louis team will not be easy. I don’t expect the defending champs to go down without a fight though. While the Seabrook suspension admittedly hurts, the Hawks remain one of the most talented teams in the league. Coach Quenneville - a longtime former St. Louis coach - is a proven winner. They could easily be up 2-0 in this series. Needless to say, this is a must win situation for them. While the Blues have been solid on the road, the Hawks have been dominant (27-7-7) at home all season. They were also 11-2 in the playoffs last year, outscoring the opposition by a combined score of 41-23. I’m not counting them out quite yet ..."
Throw in the fact that the Hawks now have a goalie full of confidence from coming off a shutout and I feel the price could easily be higher. 9* personal favorite
|04-21-14||St. Louis Blues v. Chicago Blackhawks -156||0-2||Win||100||12 h 55 m||Show|
I’m playing on CHICAGO. After a pair of heart-breaking OT losses in St. Louis, the Hawks are in a hole. Coming back against this talented St. Louis team will not be easy. I don’t expect the defending champs to go down without a fight though. While the Seabrook suspension admittedly hurts, the Hawks remain one of the most talented teams in the league. Coach Quenneville - a longtime former St. Louis coach - is a proven winner. They could easily be up 2-0 in this series. Needless to say, this is a must win situation for them. While the Blues have been solid on the road, the Hawks have been dominant (27-7-7) at home all season. They were also 11-2 in the playoffs last year, outscoring the opposition by a combined score of 41-23. I’m not counting them out quite yet. 9* personal favorite
|04-20-14||DETROIT GM2 v. BOSTON GM2 -221||1-4||Win||100||29 h 33 m||Show|
6* Bruins. Analysis before 9am PST Sunday.
|04-17-14||LOS ANGELES GM1 v. SAN JOSE GM1 -139||3-6||Win||100||70 h 33 m||Show|
I’m playing on SAN JOSE. While home ice isn’t always a big deal in the NHL playoffs, I expect it to provide the Sharks with an advantage here. You may recall that these teams met in the Western Semi Finals of last year’s playoffs, the Kings advancing. This should be another good series. The Sharks have the higher seed for good reason though.
A quick glance at the records finds the Sharks with a 29-12 (29-7-5) record at home and finds the Kings with a 23-18 (23-14-4) mark on the road. While LA’s road record is certainly respectable, the Sharks’ home record is outstanding.
These teams last met here a couple of weeks ago. The Sharks won 2-1. Including that victory, the Sharks are 10-1 the last 11 times that they were a host in this series. They held the Kings to three goals or less in all 11 of those games and two or less in each of the last seven, a total of just nine in those seven games.
Ultimately, I believe the Sharks bring a little more to the table and I look for them to step up and grab the opener. 9* personal favorite
|04-16-14||Columbus Blue Jackets v. Pittsburgh Penguins -175||3-4||Win||100||9 h 9 m||Show|
I’m playing on PITTSBURGH. While I normally wouldn’t jump on the biggest favorite on the board on opening night, I believe this price could easily be higher.
The Pens have been getting healthier. They’re loaded with talent - much more so than Columbus. Unlike the Blue Jackets, they’ve also got plenty of playoff experience. They’ve been upset before and they know how critical it is to take care of business here in Game 1.
The Jackets get outscored by a 2.7 to 2.5 mark on the road. The Pens outscore teams by a 3.3 to 2.3 margin here at Pittsburgh.
The Pens have dominated Columbus and I see this as the biggest mismatch, at least on opening night. 7* Annihilator
|04-13-14||Dallas Stars v. Phoenix Coyotes -115||Top||1-2||Win||100||20 h 34 m||Show|
I’m playing on PHOENIX. I could point to the fact that the Coyotes have a better home record than the Stars do on the road. However, I feel this one will come down to “shoe wants it more.”
With the Stars about to enter the playoffs and the Coyotes about to go golfing, it might be easy to assume that the Stars would be the more motivated team this evening. I don’t believe that will be the case though.
The Stars have already clinched a playoff spot. Its very possible that they'll rest some key players here. (Off three straight home games, note that the Stars are only 3-7 (-4.2) after playing their previous three at Dallas. )
Dallas coach Lindy Ruff noted: "We've had several guys taking days off for maintenance, we'll evaluate who is the worst of all those guys and give them some time off … “
On the other hand, even though they won’t make the playoffs, the Coyotes badly want to snap their losing streak, rewarding the home faithful with a last victory.
Phoenix’s Shane Doan noted: "We want to beat everybody and just end this stupid streak.”
While Dallas may have gotten the better of Phoenix on the hardwood last night, I expect the opposite to be true on the ice tonight, Doan and co. rising to the occasion with their best effort and a much needed “W.” 10* Motivational Mismatch
|04-13-14||Detroit Red Wings v. St. Louis Blues -170||3-0||Loss||-170||2 h 2 m||Show|
I’m playing on ST. LOUIS. I believe that this is a very big game for the Blues. For starters, on an extended losing streak, they badly need a victory to stop the bleeding. Additionally, they’re tied with the Avalanche (who hold the tiebreaker advantage should the teams finish tied) in the standings. Finishing ahead of the Avs would mean that they’d get to face Minnesota or Dallas in the first round. The alternative? Facing the Hawks in the first round. Considering that Chicago is the defending champ - well-coached and loaded with talent - that’s significant.
On the other hand, the Wings are already locked into the 8th seed in the East and already know that they’ll face Boston in the first round.
While the Wings are 22-23 (-5.2) against non-conference opponents the past couple of seasons, the Blues are a dominating 37-12 (+20) against non-conference opponents, during the same stretch. I expect their best effort here en route to a much-needed “W.” 6* Annihilator
|04-12-14||Philadelphia Flyers v. Pittsburgh Penguins -136||4-3||Loss||-136||8 h 46 m||Show|
I’m playing on PITTSBURGH. While the Penguins are already locked into the #2 seed, I believe they’re going to want this game pretty badly. That’s because the Flyers, an instate rival and the team which knocked them out of the playoffs in 2012, have beaten them three straight times this season.
Note that the Flyers are already in the playoffs and can no longer get home ice in the first round (thanks to the Rangers’ win on Thursday and the Flyers’ loss) so they don’t have all that much to play for. The last thing the Pens want is to enter the playoffs with the Flyers “inside their heads.”
Even factoring in the losses in this series, the Pens are still a dominating 20-9 (+4.9) vs. teams from their own division. They’re also 20-9 (+7.6) when playing with two day’s rest in between games. With a 14-5 record their last 19 in the revenge role, I believe its time for some payback. 9* personal favorite
|04-11-14||Winnipeg Jets v. Calgary Flames -137||5-3||Loss||-137||11 h 53 m||Show|
I’m playing on CALGARY. This one sets up nicely for the home team. While the Flames had yesterday off, the Jets are off a win against Boston last night. That’s noteworthy as they’re a dismal 3-19 (-14.4) the last 22 times that they played the second of back-to-back games.
I believe that the Jets left it all on the ice last night, in winning their home finale. They went all out to win one for the home fans but may have more trouble getting up for a road game against a non-playoff team. It should be noted that the Jets are expected to be without two of their top players here, as Andrew Ladd (their captain) and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will both be out.
The Flames are playing their best hockey of the season right now, having won four straight. Coach Bob Hartley noted: "We're very optimistic. I’m unbelievably proud of my group …” This is their home finale and I expect them to be motivated to reward the faithful with one final victory.
While the Jets beat them here in January, the Flames have still beaten the Jets/Thrashers six of seven meetings here this millennium. I look for them to resume that dominance this evening. 9* personal favorite