Picks: Laviolette, Meet the Washington Capitals

Updated: December 6, 2009 at 11:14 am by Brock Seguin

Not quite an ideal team to face a day after you take over the Philadelphia Flyers’ coaching job.  We’re looking at if the Flyers are ready to rebound in a big way against the Capitals and many other games tonight.  Vote again to keep the fan pick winning streak alive! 

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Vancouver Canucks -145 at Carolina Hurricanes +125

I’m not discounting the Hurrcanes’ chances to upset Andrew Raycroft in this one.  They’re in the midst of another 5-game losing streak but all of their 5 wins on the season have come at home.  However, I’m focusing on the game total here.  The Canes have allowed an average of 4.25 goals per game over their last 4 and only scored an average of 2.25.  The Canucks, however, have averaged 4 goals per game on the Eastern road trip.  Andrew Raycroft hasn’t seen any action since Roberto Luongo returned in early November but he has is on-days and his off-days.  Raycroft started 6 games while Luongo was out and recorded 2 goals against or less in 4 of them (including 1 SO) but blew up for 4+ goals in the other two.  The road is where he plays his worst hockey, 2-2 3.23 GAA, so hopefully we can jump on a nice over here – especially if the Canes come out swinging.
Pick: Over 5.5 goals -110

Detroit Red Wings +115 at New Jersey Devils -135

Well once more I’ll attempt to figure out these Red Wings.  After what Mike Babcock admitted was an embarrassing loss at home to a backup goalie, the Wings will likely face the Devils’ backup Yann Danis tonight.  We do know that the Wings have matched the 5-goal game total in their last two and gone over it in their game prior.  The Wings do put up some of their best offensive efforts on the road, 6th-best 3.3 goals per game, but still struggle with their road defense, 3.4 goals against.  The Devils have also matched on gone over the game total in their last 3 – with Martin Brodeur in net.  The last game Danis started with a game total of 5, it was against a Western Conference team and was a 5-3 loss.  Look out for a Brodeur start but hopefully we can take advantage of another game total here tonight – and that the Wings don’t do something stupid.
Pick: Over 5.0 goals -140

Toronto Maple Leafs +140 at Boston Bruins -160

You are getting 6 goals here.  Six.  Take the fact that the Bruins have the 6th-best home defense, 2.4 goals per game, and Tuukka Rask, assuming he starts against his former team, is 3-2-1 with a 2.11 GAA at home on the year and 7-2-2 with a 1.96 GAA overall.  Phil Kessel, also playing against his former Bruins teammates, enters this game with 4 goals (6 points) in his last 3 road games.  The Bruins have gone over the game total of 6 just once in their last 7 games and the Leafs either go way over, or way under it.  However, in games against better-than-average defensive teams, the Leafs haven’t gone over since losing 5-2 to Calgary on Nov 14.  Joey MacDonald goes again for Montreal and has played well in his more recent stint with the team but likely not well enough for a win; especially after the Bruins were embarrassed by the Canadiens last night.
Pick: Bruins -160 and Under 6.0 goals -120

Washington Capitals +155 at Philadelphia Flyers -175

Lost 6 of 7 games?  Check.  Veteran defenseman calling out young captain?  Check.  Coach fired yesterday?  Check.  Goalie slumping?  Check.  Yet the Flyers are still a massive favourite at home against the Caps (who will be without Alexander Ovechkin again).  That shouldn’t phase the Caps though who destroyed Florida 6-2 on Thursday with a thunderous return of Alexander Semin.  Seeing a team with locker room troubles is often a great sign of their performance and the Flyers have obviously shown they are in disarray with their poor performances of late.  When you look at many of the characters on the team, notably Emery and Pronger, you can believe that these guys are in each others’ heads.  Peter Laviolette is making his first start and has really only had a day with his players.  It’s unlikely that they’ll have anything coordinated and the Caps are not your ideal first opponent.  However, it’s also likely that the Flyers could respond immensely to the change and blow out the Caps, your call.
Pick: Caps +155

New York Rangers +145 at Buffalo Sabres -165

The Rangers have had a nice week off to retool and figure out their goalie situation which has nearly given up on them lately – 18 goals against in their last 3 games.  However, the Sabres are riding a 4-game win streak, outscoring opponents 18-4 over that stretch and can really owe it to the stellar play of Ryan Miller.  The Sabres feature the league’s third-best home defense, 2.3 goals per game, and a decent home offense of 3.1 goals per game. The Rangers are middle-to-low in the pack in offense, 2.4 goals per game, and defense, 3.1 goals per game.  Surely, Torts gave these guys a lashing over the past week for their poor play but the Sabres don’t offer the best matchup for a struggling team looking to turn it around.
Pick: Sabres -165

Chicago Blackhawks +125 at Pittsburgh Penguins -145

Who are these Blackhawks?  They’ve lost 3 of 4 and been outscored 9-2 in their losses.  It’s a bad time to face the Penguins as they’ve won 3 straight in very convincing fashion and 6 of their last 7.  Tonight, we’ll see the Penguins’ third-best home defense, 2.3 goals against, face off against the league’s best road defense, 1.9 goals per game.  The Penguins, however, have the distinct offensive advantage with the third-best home offense, 3.6 goals per game.  However, there’s good news for the Hawks tonight as Sidney Crosby appears to be out with a nagging groin injury.  Crosby has 7 goals and 11 points in his last 3 games and will be a huge blow to the Pens’ offense.  The Penguins didn’t respond well to injury earlier in the season and I’m interested to see if they can cope without Sid and pick up the scoring slack.  Not sure if Marian Hossa will “show up” tonight but he’s likely to be met by a loud chorus of boos from the Penguins fans.  This one could go either way but based on how integral Crosby has been to the Penguins lately, I like the Hawks upset.
Pick: Hawks +125

A few upsets in there tonight so I don’t expect to get them all.  Pick what you like.

Fan Favourite Record: 14-11, -0.25

Betting results by category so far this season:

  • Money Line 61-65, -15.60
  • Puck Line 14-18, +2.2
  • Game Totals 49-41-1, +1.56