Although there are a number of 3-2 predictions posted here today, it is actually worth mentioning that they are not necessarily all created equally. The numbers in these boxes are rounded to the nearest whole numbers, and therefore, projected scores of 2.50 to 1.50 or 3.49 to 2.49 would both be similarly displayed as “3-2″. The white box to the right of the “Over/Under 5.5″ box, however, will tell you the sum of the two projected scores to the nearest tenth.
As an overview for Monday though, there does actually appear to be a lot of ‘close-call’ type games with regards to both the sides and the totals. Let’s see if we can find any soft spots on this 5-game board:
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Carolina Hurricanes vs. Atlanta Thrashers
It seems as though everytime Atlanta finds themselves on the cusp of vaulting into the top 8, they begin to sputter. The Thrashers are actually clicking on special teams right now as far as recent form goes, but Carolina has also laid a beating on them here so far this season in two visits to Philips Arena. Meanwhile, the visiting team has also won all 5 head-to-head meetings, and Carolina will be looking to avenge a 4-0 home loss to the Thrashers on Saturday.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Boston Bruins
There has actually been a significant change in the way that the Sabres have been playing recently. Instead of depending on Ryan Miller to make 30+ saves a night, they have become the aggressors lately, and have outshot 8 of their last 10 opponents. Boston has also improved vastly as well lately, but perhaps, Buffalo is thinking about their 1-3 record against the Bruins this season, and how this would be a great time to avenge 2 earlier home losses.
Nashville Predators vs. Florida Panthers
It ought to be pretty difficult to get a Florida-based team that is 9 points out of the playoffs motivated for a hockey game at this time of the year. The Panthers may be having a hard time not thinking about the beautiful weather both outside and on the golf courses. Nashville, meanwhile, finds their division rival Detroit hot on their heels for 5th in the West, and I think that should fire them up at least a little bit, especially after their shutout shootout loss to the Wings on Saturday.
Los Angeles Kings vs. Minnesota Wild
It appears that the LA Kings have almost completely lost it. While LA continues to maintain an extremely efficient PP, they have barely been scoring at all 5-on-5. The Wild, meanwhile, have been easy to outplay ever since the Olympic break, but they haven’t necessarily been easy to beat. Minnesota always seems to find a way to make their 20 or so shots on goal a game count. This looks to be a bit of a tough call.
Dallas Stars vs. Anaheim Ducks
Dallas’ W-L-W-L-W-L pattern recently actually coincides with their starting goalie rotation. Their last 3 wins have all belonged to Kari Lehtonen, and their last 3 losses have belonged to Marty Turco. This pattern though, may also have something to do with the team’s work ethic, as their offensive numbers have also fluctuated dramatically from game to game. Coming off a win here, Dallas may not fare as well here against the Ducks, who still continue to play with passion despite being way out of the playoff picture.