Happy Boxing Day to our friends from the North! A day of World Juniors and Labatt. We don’t have a day like that in the States. I hope everybody had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy Boxing Day. As for me, I just put the Wii controller down and finished watching The Hangover. Highly recommend both the Wii and one of the best comedies I’ve ever seen.
Two out of three ain’t bad and that’s what Wednesday night’s column did. The Sabres decided to start the Christmas break a little early and take the night off against the Caps, but the Bruins won by 2 and the Henrik Lundqvist show took over on Broadway.
I’ll be DVR’ing the WJC USA game and heading to watch some really terrible minor league hockey with the Lake Erie Monsters tonight, but here’s the picks that y’all can watch out for!
DET -1.5 (+180) v. CBJ
The Blue Jackets have had a couple days to mull over a horrible December. The Detroit Red Wings have had a couple days to get healthier and re-focus. They get Valtteri Filppula back tonight in their barn with a game against Mathieu Garon and the Blue Jackets.
The Wings have suffered to score goals as injuries to key components have derailed their season. They pretty much have not been healthy all year and tonight’s game is no different as they play without Henrik Zetterberg, Jonathan Ericsson, Dan Cleary, Nik Kronwall, etc., etc.
Really, the overall reason for this play is that Columbus has been so bad. During their eight game losing streak, Columbus has had a lead for 10:34 total. That’s remarkably bad. Garon is 3-4 with a 3.29 against Detroit and 0-2 with a 7.57 in the Joe.
It’s a game that the Blue Jackets should be amped up and ready for, but they have not looked amped up at all to break their long losing streak. A refreshed Red Wings bunch may jump on them early and often. Take the Winged Wheel and ride it to some cash.
NJ +110 @ WSH
The Michal Neuvirth show continues for the Capitals tonight as they take on Marty Brodeur and the Devils. At time of press, Brodeur is not confirmed, but, take my word for it, he’ll play after two days off.
Think about this. New Jersey is 3-0 against Washington this year, holding them to two goals in each game. They’re also 3-0 against Pittsburgh. In other words, the Devils know how to shut down highly explosive offensive teams. Taking into account that the Devils are 13-2-1 away from home, this looks like a great play tonight. With Brodeur having the shutout record behind him now, it’s possible he may play even better.
The Capitals are explosive, for sure, but the Devils have allowed the second-fewest goals (with a game in hand on Chicago). If the game comes down to goaltending, huge advantage New Jersey.
Take the Devils and bank on Brodeur.
ATL @ TB o6 (-125)
I want to be afraid of this game because the last time I besmirched Mike Smith, the Lightning put someone else in his jersey and he put on a show. The last time I bet against Ondrej Pavelec, he gave up six goals. I’ll assume that I fall somewhere in between and take the easy money here.
Pavelec managed to raise his awful December GAA to 5.22 with his poor showing against the sometimes-offensively-challenged Bruins. Lately, the only way the Lightning win games is to score goals. Pavelec is 2-0-1 against TB, but it comes at the expense of a 3.55 GAA and an .889 save percentage.
In the other net, he of the overly-common name has a 2.84 GAA and an .897 save percentage against the Thrashers. He’s 1-3 with a 3.53 and an .872 in Phillips Arena.
In other words, this has potential to be close to double the total line. It has the potential to outscore a Falcons-Buccaneers matchup. Take the easy money here.
Again, hope everyone had a great Christmas! Good luck players!