Picks: Avs Look to Stop Slide, Upset Flames

Updated: November 18, 2009 at 11:35 am by Brock Seguin

3-4: Awesome job recognizing that the Pens game would go over, althought admittedly, I had thought the scoring would be going the other way.  Nevertheless, a solid 3-1 night including a big road upset prediction with the Islanders demolishing the Bruins. 

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Washington Capitals -110 at New York Rangers -110

Alexander Ovechkin returns to spark an already surging Washington offense ranked 2nd-overall in road scoring, 3.4 goals per game, and a 5th-ranked 25% road powerplay.  The Rangers have put up solid scoring efforts at home as well contributing to a 3.7 average goals for and 30.6% powerplay at home but that offense hasn’t shown up lately.  The Rangers have only scored 3 or more goals twice over their last 8 games but only 1 of those games was at home.  The Rangers are a far cry away from their torrid start to the season and are now facing off against a Caps team that rallied without their superstar, and will now look to build upon winning 4 of their last 5 games.  Washington has the hotter hand lately and will get the added boost from having Ovechkin back in the lineup.  Based on the Rangers’ recent play, an over might also get some play but I’m unconvinced with their ability to put the puck in the net.
Pick: Caps -110

Carolina Hurricanes +155 at Montreal Canadiens -175

Here’s the next test for Carolina: how do they respond after breaking their 14-game losing streak at home to Minnesota?  Looking at the road games over their losing streak, not well.  In each road game Carolina played against an Eastern conference opponent this season (0-5-1), they’ve lost by 1 goal only once, and that was the overtime loss to the Islanders.  In the other games, the Canes were outscored 23-5 – that’s in just FIVE games.  This team has been dominated on the road within their conference and Michael Leighton didn’t play all that great for them in their win – Niklas Backstrom just simply let in more soft goals.  Montreal hasn’t been overly dominant at home, 5-5, but they should be able to handle Carolina’s league-worst road scoring at 1.8 goals per game and second-worst road defense at 4.2 goals allowed per game.  Carey Price is getting the nod for the Habs and has played well in 3 of his last 4 starts but only escaping with wins in 2 of them.  Leighton allowed 6 goals in his only road start on the year so we’re looking at Montreal’s 20th-ranked home offense to step it up here.  Scary stat for trend buffs: Carolina is 10-1 straight-up in their last 11 road games against Montreal, dating back to 2003.  I think it’s safe to say those Carolina teams were a bit better than this one.
Pick: Habs -1.5 +170

Toronto Maple Leafs +130 at Ottawa Senators -150

Battle of Ontario #2 of the season and the Leafs turn to their suddenly-not-so-bad Vesa Toskala, who has only allowed 5 goals in his last two games against two very considerable scoring threats in Chicago and Calgary.  The Sens, however, average 3.1 goals per game while the Leafs average the 4th-best shots per game, 33.3, and 3.0 goals for on the road – their road powerplay still ranks 2nd overall at 29.7%.  Neither team can keep pucks out of the net well as the Leafs average 4.0 goals against on the road and the Sens allow 2.9 at home – but I’m leaning towards the under here.  6.0 goals is a lot of goals to score and Ottawa has managed to keep opponents in check at home, going under in 4 of their last 5 home games.  The Leafs, and Toskala, showed positive signs in their last road start against Chicago, only holding them to 3 goals.  Not to mention Vesa Toskala was 2-0-1 with a 1.30 GAA, .956 SV% last season against Ottawa.  These teams skated to a 2-1 game at the beginning of the season and went under in 2 of 3 games played in Ottawa last season.  It’s a close one, though.
Pick: Under 6.0 goals -110

San Jose Sharks -135 at Nashville Predators +115

The Nashville Predators might be the quietest team in the NHL making a lot of noise as their goaltenders are actually starting to steal games for them.  Pekka Rinne is getting the nod tonight after shutting out the Canadiens on Saturday at home and holding the Blues to 1 goal in the game before.  Since allowing 5 goals to Chicago on October 15, Rinne has posted a 6-1 record with a 1.69 GAA – not bad.  San Jose is countering with Greiss, who has been decent in 2 starts on the season, leading to a 2-1 record with 2.04 GAA.  What I’m looking at here is the Sharks’ inability to really get anything done in their last 3 games, losing 2 of them to Dallas and Chicago, and also struggling at home to Nashville on Nov 10 – a game Dan Ellis started.  The Predators have the 3rd-best home defense, 2.0 goals per game, but the 2nd-worst home offense at 1.9 goals per game.  The Sharks, quite the opposite, average 3.4 goals per game on the road, led by their best-overall 32.2% road powerplay and 2.8 road goals allowed.  The Sharks have Nashville’s number, going 4-1, in the last 5 meetings in Nashville and the game total has gone under in 4 of those 5 games.  Nashville has gone under the game total in 4 of their 6 home games on the season.
Pick: Sharks -135 and Under 5.5 goals -150

Colorado Avalanche +165 at Calgary Flames -185

The poor Avs, third in points overall in the West, drop 3 straight and get labeled an enormous underdog to the Flames.  Calgary has been going through a gift in the scheduling with their only real challenge in their last 5 games was the game against Buffalo, which they dropped 2-1.  Outside of the Leafs game, the Flames had only scored 3 goals twice in their 6 games prior.  Their last home game, a 3-1 victory against a Rangers team that was on their last game of a 3-game road trip and starting their backup Stephen Valiquette.  Prior to that, the Flames dropped home games to Detroit (coming off of a brutal loss in Edmonton) and Colorado (2nd game of a 4-game road trip).  Colorado has dropped 5 of their last 7 and really appears to be struggling after losing 8-2 at home in a “must-win” game.  The Avs, however, will put up a real test for the Flames and this game is closer than it appears to be.  Colorado has already upset the Flames at home this season and have another great opportunity to rebound tonight and stop the tailspin.
Pick: Avs +165

Fan Favourite Record: 3-4, -2.45

Betting results by category so far this season:

  • Money Line 42-40, -18.68
  • Puck Line 7-16, -7.3
  • Game Totals 39-25-1, +3.97

Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs