After another brief hiatus filled with the irritation of day-long car trouble and wishing I was still in college after visiting a friend, I’m back with tonight’s edition of the RLS. You know, I think I needed a couple days off. It’s been tough sledding so far in the second and third weeks of 2010. Refreshed and re-energized, it’s time to make money, money, make money, money, money. (bonus points to you if you can name the 2000s comedy that featured that song)
A 12-pack tonight, aka, six during the early games and six during the late games, for us this evening. For those of you who think that the beer references are a sign that I’m some sort of alcoholic, I hate to disappoint you. As a player myself, it’s just easy to equate beer and hockey. It’s like Bonnie and Clyde, hot dogs and baseball, catchy songs and wanting to pound your head against a rock. You know, they just go hand in hand. Besides, I’m more of a smooth, expensive liquor on a Bud Ice budget kind of person.
Here are today’s picks.
PHI -1.5 (+200) @ TOR
Make no mistake about it, Toronto’s one of those teams that is very hard to pinpoint. They are one of the most inconsistent teams in the NHL since November. But tonight looks good for bettors. The reborn Flyers will take on Vesa Toskala tonight in ACC.
Leighton is 4-0 ATS over his last four games and has really played surprisingly well for a team with obvious question marks in net since the preseason. The Flyers are averaging a sick 5.4 goals per game over their last five and they face arguably the worst defensive team in the league tonight.
Take in to account that the Leafs have allowed 3.5 goals per game this season. Now take in to account that Vesa Toskala is going tonight. He has an .852 sv% over his last four games. The Leafs have lost four straight, the Flyers have won four straight. One team is clicking, the other isn’t.
Flyers keep on ticking in this one.
LA -1.5 (+210) v. ANA
In the polar opposite of my first pick, I’m going to take the team that is struggling a bit against the team that is red hot. I know that it probably defies a lot of logic to bet against the Anaheim Ducks who have won five straight and are averaging double their opponents in the goal department (3.6-1.8) over that span.
But, one stat really sticking out tonight in this game. Anaheim is 3-11 ATS against Pacific Division foes. The Kings are 10-4 ATS. Anaheim has played poorly in its division all year. The recent games among these two teams were one-goal nail biters, but the Ducks have to hit the wall at some point.
Anaheim has put their run together without powerplay success, scoring just two powerplay goals in their last five. The Kings powerplay is just above 28% in interdivision games.
It’s a stretch, and maybe a bit of a gut feeling, but the Kings will be fired up for this game and want to be the team that ends that winning streak.
CBJ @ CHI o5.5 (-110)
There’s a panic in Chicago. The Blackhawks have lost back-to-back games. As a result, Patrick Kane has promised that the Hawks will “empty the tanks” tonight. If the tank empties on Columbus, we could be talking about the next great flood.
Columbus has played better defensively of late, but this is the Chicago Blackhawks. Mathieu Garon gets the nod again after being pulled against St. Louis the other night, and Cristobal Huet has been really mediocre of late with an .889 over his last five. If the Jackets find a way to get two past Huet, this total will not be in doubt.
Just to toot my own horn for a second, those of you who are familiar with Eastside Hockey Manager and the online simulation leagues, there are five openings in the league I run with a couple of buddies. Those teams are STL, CGY, DAL, FLA, and CAR. Come check us out and fill out an application athttp://ehechockey.com/application.html. I appreciate it. Our league sims the exact NHL schedule in real-time. So tonight’s games are the 12 on the real schedule, simming one EHM day on the real calendar day. Please check us out.