Picks: Matchup of the League’s Worst Defenses

Updated: November 20, 2009 at 11:37 am by Matt Bennett

3-5: If the “intent to blow the whistle” rule wasn’t so ridiculous, the Wings would’ve tied that game up 2-2 and possibly changed its entire outcome.  Instead we got a sleeper of a game, unfortunately well under the game total.  There’s some premier teams in action tonight against some lesser-opponents so hopefully we can take advantage of the matchups.  Looking for a great sportsbook site to place your bets? I use and trust Bodog to place my hockey bets but if you are looking for a site where you can bet for free, try CentSports. You always have a minimum of 10 cents to start off and let you bet on the NHL and other sports. When you increase your balance, you are eligible to cash out! Remember that I post these picks for fun and I encourage you to do the same (i.e. don’t bet what you can’t afford to lose). All lines are provided by Bodog and are current at the time of posting.

Toronto Maple Leafs -115 at Carolina Hurricanes -105

Round 2.  The last time these guys met, the Canes almost took it with two early goals but the Leafs battled back to take the game 3-2.  That’s when Gustavsson was on top of his game, the Leafs were on a point streak, and Carolina was in the midst of a massive losing streak.  Things are a bit different tonight as Carolina is still without Cam Ward and the Leafs can’t get anything going their way anymore.  Toronto has scored 2 goals in each of their last 4 games, losses, and only notched powerplay tallies in 1 of those 4 games.  The Leafs have the 25th-ranked offense overall and matchup against the Canes’ 30th-ranked offense, 2.2 goals per game.  This is also a battle of the league’s two worst defenses, with the Leafs ranked 29th and Canes dead-last at 3.8 goals against per game.  Historically, these two teams shell each other, combining for a total of 29 goals in 3 overs out of 4 meetings last season and their lack of defense leans me towards the over again here.
Pick: Over 6.0 goals -110

Boston Bruins -105 at Atlanta Thrashers -115

Boston is struggling mightily right now, losing 3 straight, including two ugly ones to the Panthers and the Islanders.  I don’t doubt Boston’s ability to play defense but the Thrashers have the second-best home offense, good for 4.0 goals per game, and have scored 13 goals in their last 3 home games.  The Thrashers have won 4 straight due in large part to their offense but they’ve also received some excellent goaltending and defensive efforts, allowing only 1.75 goals per game over their that streak – 3 of those games were at home.  Boston might be fortunate enough to get Marc Savard back tonight but their poor offense of recent games is far outmatched by Atlanta’s surging home offense.  Tim Thomas will need to be on top of his game.  This line wasn’t published by the time I wrote the post and I’m out of town for the day so check Bodog for the updated line.
Pick: Thrashers -115

Pittsburgh Penguins -110 at Ottawa Senators -110

The Pens showed that even without 4 starting defensemen, they are still one of the most dominant teams in the league.  Their situation doesn’t appear to be changing as they roll into Ottawa but thankfully for them, the Senators are in a bit of a slump themselves.  Ottawa has dropped 2 of their last 5 games and currently holds the league’s 17th-ranked offense and defense, 3.1 goals for and 2.8 goals against.  The Pens match up with the 8th-ranked road offense, 3.1 goals for and 3.1 goals against.  Marc-Andre Fleury looks to have recovered from his stretch of poor starts after getting some rest and since Evgeni Malkin has returned from injury, Pittsburgh has scored 11 goals in their last 2 games (including 6 against defense-first Boston) – Ottawa has scored only 11 goals in their last 5 games.
Pick: Pens-110

New Jersey Devils -115 at Nashville Predators -105

Can the Predators play spoiler again?  Not likely.  After taking down the top team in the West on Tuesday night, the Predators host the 2nd-place team in the East tonight.  The Devils, after having their road winning streak snapped on Tuesday, are still a force on the road and roll in with a 9-1 record away from home.  They are deploying trap hockey to near perfection and when they score first they are 5-0.  Nashville can attribute a lot of their success to the solid play of Pekka Rinne but it’s possible we could see Dan Ellis in net.  Despite their win-streak, Nashville still has the second-worst offense in the league and will find a lot of trouble against the Devils’ top-ranked defense overall and on the road, 1.8 goals against per game.
Pick: Devils -115

Chicago Blackhawks -110 at Calgary Flames-110

Here’s a fun fact: Chicago is 0-3 on the season in their first game back after 4+ days rest (not including the season opener).  Chicago, winners of 4 straight, make their way up to Calgary to a 6-game road swing and it’s important they win early as they’ll face off against some pretty good teams.  Calgary dropped a game to Colorado in which they could only manage 2 goals on 36 shots but play like that will put them in another good chance to win tonight.  For most of the season, they’ve had solid defense as the boast the league’s 9th-best defense overall.  The Hawks are playing with a bit of the same defensive focus that the Flames are playing with but have been scoring much more goals while doing it – Chicago has scored at least 3 goals in each of their last 5 games.  In the same reasoning that I used against Colorado, Calgary just hasn’t shown they can beat top-ranked opponents over their last 10 games like the Hawks.  Chicago is coming off of big wins to San Jose and Colorado and I like them to kick off their road trip with a win.  This line wasn’t published by the time I wrote the post and I’m out of town for the day so check Bodog for the updated line.
Pick: Hawks -110

Fan Favourite Record: 4-5, -1.52

Betting results by category so far this season:

  • Money Line 45-43, -5.94
  • Puck Line 7-17, -6.1
  • Game Totals 40-28-1, +6.42
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Matt Bennett is an original DailyFaceoff.com co-Founder. Feel free to reach Bennett directly @bennettdf.
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