I don’t know what more you could ask for in a game getting +200 on the spread. The Blackhawks outshot San Jose 47-14 yet still managed to find a way to lose. Thanks to a pathetic, comparatively, performance by Cristobal Ewwww-uet, the RLS took a hit last night going 0-2 on the NHL’s light schedule. Also, memo to the Colorado Avalanche. Hockey games generally last longer than 52 minutes.
Lately, I can’t seem to figure out what’s going on with the Blackhawks when I advocate them in the RLS. The only two games that they have failed to cover in over the last six, they highlighted my RLS column. Keeping that in mind, it may be a while before I mention them. This does not mean that I’m abandoning them. Just means that, like every other gambler, I’m superstitious.
During the Cleveland Indians 2007 playoff run, I only shaved after a loss starting from August 1st to the end of the regular season. They went 36-20 over their final 56 games to finish in a tie for the best record. Put your favorite superstition to the test, here are tonight’s picks!
BUF +140 @ WSH
Make no mistake about it, Washington is good at home. They’re 10-2-3 in their barn, and the Sabres are 10-5 on the road. The difference here is in the net. Ryan Miller faces Michal Neuvirth. Miller is 10-4 lifetime against Washington with a 2.42. He’s also 10-3 with a 1.82 and a .942 on the road this year.
The Sabres will likely be without Thomas Vanek and Patrick Kaleta tonight, as they were Monday in their OTW in Toronto, but that may actually be beneficial tonight. Vanek, to be kind, is about as responsible defensively as a stripper’s daughter home alone with her boyfriend at 16. Without a doubt, the key to stopping Washington is to play good team defense and shut down the top line.
Bruce Boudreau went all Herb Brooks on Alex Ovechkin last game and Ovechkin responded with a huge 3rd period. After questioning OV’s effort, the Russian superstar responded with a three point period.
It’s a statement game for Ryan Miller and the Sabres. Beating Washington on the road gives them a lot more legitimacy in a conference that is looked at as being PIT, WSH, NJ and then everyone else. They’ll be fired up and the defensive tactician Lindy Ruff will have a gameplan in store. Look for the upset in the nation’s capital.
FLA @ NYR u5.5 (-120)
Henrik Lundqvist has been phenomenal over his last four games with a save percentage of nearly 96%. Tomas Vokoun has a save percentage just above 93% over his last four games. That leads to an under.
The Rangers have been desperately seeking someone not named Marian to score goals for them. Florida, on the other hand, is scoring almost five per game over their last five. But, in this case, expect Henrik Lundqvist to play The Cooler and slow down the Panthers.
The last four games between these two have ended with scores of 2-1, 3-2, 2-1, 2-1 and that trend should continue. Three of those games featured a Lundqvist v. Vokoun matchup.
It should be a goaltending clinic tonight at MSG between the possible starter for the Czechs and the definite starter for the Swedes.
BOS -1.5 (+190) v. ATL
Ondrej Pavelec is what to remember in this game. In Pavelec’s five December starts, he’s allowed 22 goals. Boston’s having trouble scoring goals lately and Pavelec and the irresponsible Thrashers might be just the cure.
Boston’s scoring just 1.8 goals over their last five, while the Thrashers are allowing four per game. The Bruins 0-for their last-13 powerplay matches up well with the Thrashers who have allowed 40% of powerplays to cash in over their last five games.
Consider Pavelec a slump buster here. You know, you’re in a rut and you see a group of girls at the bar. You pick the least attractive one out and take her home as a confidence builder just to get yourself back on the righteous path of manhood. You might have a morning moment of “What the hell did I do last night?” (similar to the moment I hope Ewww-uet had this morning) but, that will pass and you will go on about your day. Pavelec is that girl. The Bruins are that guy. Climb aboard and enjoy the ride.
And with that rosy image to close out today’s RLS, I’d like to wish everybody out there a Merry Christmas. With no need for my column for the next two days, I’ll be on hiatus until Saturday. Tidings of comfort and joy to all of your families and thanks for reading. Best of luck tonight, players, and I hope you all enjoy your gifts!