Picks: Havlat Back in the Windy City

Updated: October 27, 2009 at 2:38 pm by Brock Seguin

40-37-1: Both games were stinkers last night.  I expected more from the Flyers and much less from the Canucks but what can you do?  There’s some good goalie matchups tonight and some more brutal offensive matchups.

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Phoenix Coyotes +135 at New York Rangers -155

Is Phoenix for real?  Their four game winning streak was snapped by the Kings on Saturday.  The only team they’ve faced with a losing record right now is the Red Wings, who they beat 3-2.  Ilya Bryzgalov has started all but one of Phoenix’s games and has a phenominal 1.60 GAA and .933 SV%.  The Rangers appear to have fallen back to Earth after a 7-1 start to the season, and have lost 3 straight.  Two of their wins have come against the winless Leafs and another against the struggling Ducks.  In fact, against teams they’ve faced that have notable defence and goaltenders (i.e. Pittsburgh, New Jersey, San Jose), they have not been able to score more than 3 goals.  I’d say it is tough to discount the Coyotes as a solid defensive team as they lead the league in goals against with 1.89 per game.  They also have the second-lowest shots against at 26 per game.  The total has gone under in 7 of 9 games for Phoenix this season while the total has gone over in three straight for New York.  The Rangers’ lack of scoring against top-tier defensive squads has me looking at the under here.  This pick is contingent on a Bryzgalov start and I wouldn’t make it until confirmation that he is starting.
Pick: Under 5.5 goals -120

Minnesota Wild +165 at Chicago Blackhawks -185

While the Hawks might look like the clear favourite here, it’s important to note that the Wild seem to have found some resurgency, winning 2 of 3, after naming Mikko Koivu captain of the team.  However, it’s also important to note that the Wild cannot win on the road.  Their 3 wins on the season have all come at home and 2 of 3 were against opponents who have only 7 points at this stage in the season.  On the road, the Wild have been shut down, only averaging a putrid 1.7 goals for in 7 road games.  Add that to an apparently resurged Huet who got the shutout on Saturday vs. Nashville (another very poor scoring team) and it could spell trouble for the Wild.  Huet could again be the key to how this matchup unfolds.  Martin Havlat will face off against his former club that he was very outspoken against in the offseason.  In 3 games since returning from injury, Havlat has been kept off the scoresheet – he only has 2 points in 5 road games played this year.  The Hawks look to have things back on track and shouldn’t have a problem at home, despite Minnesota taking 6 of the last 7 games played in Chicago.
Pick: Hawks -185 and Under 5.5 goals -115

Toronto Maple Leafs +160 at Anaheim Ducks -180

This game is certainly driving a lot of chatter out of Toronto as it provides Toronto’s best chance for a win so far in this early season – despite what the lines say.  Jonas Gustavsson is expected to get the start for the Leafs, returning from a groin injury, and hopefully brings more of his 2 GA start vs. the Senators on Oct 6.  Since Giguere is out with another groin injury, it appears as if Hiller will get the nod tonight.  Neither team has an offense that is clicking right now, with Toronto averaging a second-lowest 1.88 goals per game and the Ducks not faring much better at 2.44 goals per game.  The Leafs D-men also hang their goalies out to dry, surrendering a league worst 4.4 goals per game (5.3 per game on the road), the worst penalty kill at 63%, and the most powerplay goals at 1.6 per game.  Fortunately for the Leafs, the Ducks have allowed an average of 4.2 goals per home game and overall, they only get 3.4 powerplay chances per game and are right behind them on powerplay goals allowed with 1.2 per game.  I’m going to give the Leafs the benefit of having Gustavsson back in the lineup, even though we’ve only seen one start of his, and rely on the fact that both teams are in scoring slumps and go with the under.
Pick: Under 6.0 goals -115

That’s 3 unders right there.  The grand salami is 23.5 and the under on that pays out at -125 on bet365.  That looks like a solid bet tonight!

Betting results by category so far this season:

  • Money Line 17-21, -15.86
  • Puck Line 5-7, -1.5
  • Totals 18-9-1, +5.04

Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, Phoenix Coyotes, Toronto Maple Leafs