G’afternoon, everybody! A mediocre night last night popping the highest value play with the help of Miikka Kiprusoff on the bounceback, but the Kings’ goaltending failed them and Montreal gave up four unanswered tallies to make for a 1-2 night. Apparently, Jaroslav Halak needs to face over 35 shots for the Habs to win.
In any event, back at it today with a six pack of games. It’s an extremely tough night to find value as the highest moneyline is at +125. On nights like these, looking for small matchup advantages can be the difference between a terrible night and a great night. Also, keep in mind that three of the six games feature one team playing a back-to-back. Two of them feature said team’s backup goaltender.
On to tonight’s selections.
VAN -1.5 (+210) @ PHX
The Yotes travel back home tonight the host the Canucks who have been waiting in the desert for them. Phoenix played San Jose to a 3-2 shootout loss last night and Ilya Bryzgalov was strong making 36 of 38 saves before the shootout.
Tonight, the Canucks are a great play for three reasons. One, San Jose is a difficult team to play against. They’re speedy and are tremendous at home. Phoenix in a back-to-back following SJ is a tough scenario. Two, Jason LaBarbera gets the nod. LaBarbera has only beaten the Jackets this year, both on the road. He has a 4 GAA at home in two games. Three, the Sedin twins have combined for 42 points in the month of December.
Vancouver is just four points behind Colorado in the Northwest Division and are looking to build off their current three-game winning streak.
Give the fresh Canucks a shot tonight and lay the lumber on them beating up LaBarbera.
CBJ +110 @ NYI
After the Blue Jackets have taken a beating in this column for the better part of a month, they got the monkey off their back last night thanks to Steve Mason returning to last season’s form.
Tonight, they get a boost of a different kind as newly-acquired Milan Jurcina and Chris Clark get into the lineup. The Blue Jackets have another monkey to get off their back because they have not won a road game since November 19. I’m a big believer in momentum. The Jackets finally have some.
The Islanders, meanwhile, do not. The Men of Long Island have scored 25 goals in 15 games this month. They’ve lost five of eight and have not scored more than three goals in a game since December 3.
It’s a tough back-to-back for Columbus, but I’m sure there was a better atmosphere on the plane than there has been for a while, so look for Columbus to ride that wave to their first winning streak since mid-November.
Just two picks tonight, players. The value is just hard to come with so many even matchups. You can’t go wrong taking either Pittsburgh or Buffalo at -115 and -105 respectively. I like Nashville a little more at +105, but that also looks to be a tight game. A good value game total play is MIN/ANA o5.5. Harding goes for the Wild while Hiller is likely for the Ducks. Jump on this immediately if Giguere gets the nod.
Best of luck tonight, players!