Picks: Sharks’ Defense Standing Out

Updated: November 6, 2009 at 1:15 am by Brock Seguin

All 6 games on the card last night turned an under in another rare feat.  Those Sharks looked mighty good last night and if not for Steve Mason, they might have run away with that game.  A look at the Sharks vs. Wings and more after the jump!  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.

Montreal Canadiens +135 at Boston Bruins -155

A little rematch of the first round of the playoffs for these two teams last year but that should have little to do with this matchup.  This Canadiens team is radically different than the one that barely made it into the playoffs last season and was subsequently eliminated in 4 games by the Bruins.  The Bruins are currently sitting in a scoring slump after dealing with injuries to major producers David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Marc Savard.  They’ve only managed to score 3 goals in their last 4 games and have been shutout in 2 straight.  Fortunately, their defense has been superb, only allowing 5 goals in the same 4 games, contributing to their 9th-ranked defense.  Both teams’ offenses rank in the lower half of the league and have some of the worst powerplays – Boston is dead-last and Montreal is 5th-worst at 14.3%.  Montreal has had a bit of trouble keeping the puck out of the net, with the 25th-ranked defense allowing 3.33 goals per game, but if Boston’s scoring struggles continue, Montreal goalies shouldn’t have a problem.  Fortunately, Montreal gets the edge with the healthier lineup.
Pick: Habs +135 and Under 5.5 goals -125 and Over 5.5 goals +110 Update: Halak is NOT getting the start like the previews had originally suggested when I wrote this post.  Price leans me to the Over as per his less-than-quality start last night against the Thrashers.  3.63 GAA on the season but still 6-2 vs. Boston.

San Jose Sharks +120 at Detroit Red Wings -140

The Sharks roll into Detroit on back-to-back nights after playing a frustrating game against the Blue Jackets last night.  Unfortunately for the Sharks, the Wings appear (but appearances aren’t everything) to have things back in check after a bit of a turmoil start to the season.  They’ve won 2 straight against fairly good opponents but the Sharks will prove to be their toughest test of the year.  Coach Mike Babcock appears to have the Wings reverting to a defensive / puck possession style of play over their typical run-and-gun offense.  To help matters, Detroit is getting some important D-men back in the lineup in Ericsson and Rafalski.  This could spell trouble for the Sharks who have historically not scored much at the Joe.  In their last 5 meetings in Detroit, the Sharks have only managed 6 goals and only won once.  However, the Sharks have allowed only 6 goals in their last 5 games and provided Nabokov gets the start, Detroit will have a tough time finding the net.  San Jose has won back-to-back games already on their winning streak and to expect them to do it again against a Detroit team that is clamping down on opponents might be a little too much to expect but they do offer very good value for a team that has won 6-straight.  Keep in mind another goaltending collapse could break this game wide open but provided both teams continue to play as they’ve been playing, this should be a low scoring affair.  The home team won all 4 of their meetings last season.
Pick: Under 5.5 goals +105

Note: If Greiss ends up starting, the Wings straight-up look like a much more favourable pick than the Under.

Vancouver Canucks -110 at Minnesota Wild -110

Take out the Ducks game and Andrew Raycroft has been surprisingly sensational in place of the injured Roberto Luongo.  To think that the Canucks’ 8th-overall defense won’t hold down the Wild’s 28th-ranked offense is a reach.  The Wild are riding a 2-game winning streak with two big upset wins against the Rangers and Penguins (their first road victory of the year).  The Canucks still fail to generate much offense on the road, only averaging 2.0 goals per game, and the Wild have kept games relatively close at home with the 12th-ranked home defense.  On Oct 17, the Canucks skated to a 2-1 home victory against the Wild and we should see more of the same low-scoring tonight.  In 3 meetings in Minnesota last season, all 3 totaled 5 goals or less and Vancouver won all three.  The line was +105 on Vancouver last night and already moved to -110 this morning.  Vancouver is getting a lot of play here and deservedly so.
Pick: Canucks -110 and Under 5.5 goals -145

Chicago Blackhawks -135 at Phoenix Coyotes +115

The Hawks have a quick two-game road trip before returning back home for 4-straight and will have a tough time against the league’s best defense.  Ilya Bryzgalov is standing on his head this season and the Hawks could have a tough time cracking him like they have in the past.  The Coyotes haven’t beaten the Hawks in six straight games dating back to 2007-2008 but the Coyotes are playing like a different team right now.  Fortunately for the Hawks, they’re bringing in the league’s best road defense, 1.5 goals allowed per game, and should see an added boost with the probable return of Jonathan Toews.  Phoenix is coming off of a frustrating effort last night vs. the Avalanche and Chicago will benefit from 4 days of rest.
Pick: Hawks -135

New York Rangers -125 at Edmonton Oilers +105

These two teams are falling fast.  If not for an inept Bruins offense, the Rangers would be winless in 4, after only scoring 5 goals over that stretch.  The Oilers, on the other hand, outside of that Detroit game, Edmonton only has 3 goals in 5 losses and has been shutout 3 times.  What was once a high scoring offense has shown signs of fatigue after the flu and injury bug has run rampant throughout the team.  Steve Staios is back for the Oilers but they’ll be without recently-promoted-to-the-top-line Shawn Horcoff.  Mike Comrie and Ladislav Smid are also questionable leaving the Oilers starting potential last-minute call-ups tonight as well.  The main difference between these teams is that the Rangers are healthy and are starting to show more grit in their game.  The Rangers had 11 penalties Tuesday vs. the Canucks and are obviously showing signs of frustration in how they’ve been playing lately.  I’m sure Edmonton will score a goal but they haven’t learned to cope with their injuries as well as other teams in their division.
Pick: Rangers -125

Betting results by category so far this season:

  • Money Line 26-30, -20.4
  • Puck Line 6-11, -4.0
  • Totals 27-16-1, +4.6

Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks