1-3: The Hawks choked up that lead to give the Leafs glimmering hope and more fan pick frustration. Other than that, it was a solid night last night, going 3-1 with the Islanders and Thrashers coming a bit too close for comfort but the matchups still ended up where we wanted them to. On a side note, game total picks this week are 8-2 starting with Monday’s games. There’s some incredible lines tonight so let’s get to the picks!
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Calgary Flames -115 at Toronto Maple Leafs -105
Calgary’s 4-game win streak was halted last night in a low-scoring tilt with the Sabres, as predicted. Fortunately for the Flames, the Leafs also played last night in a grinder with the Hawks. The Leafs’ offense has come out flat after their last two games, only getting 2 goals in each. The Flames have actually been worse on this Eastern Conference road trip, only scoring 1 goal in each of their last 2 in Buffalo and Montreal. Their defense has been stellar, however, only allowing 2 goals twice over their last 5 games. We saw the Hawks and Wild, two Western Conference teams, shut down the Leafs defensively (except for Phil Kessel, I guess) and I like Calgary’s chances to do the same. Toronto is now 2-4-1 against Western Conference teams while Calgary is 3-0-1 against teams from the East. The Leafs beat Detroit 5-1 a week ago after back-to-back nights but they were riding a lot of momentum from the Monster’s tough play. Jonas Gustavsson will go tonight against Miikka Kiprusoff who played last night as well. Earlier in the year, Kiprusoff lost back-to-back away games to Chicago and Columbus. Regardless, the Flames match up better against the inconsistent Leafs who are going to be without big D-man Mike Komisarek. If Gustavsson is over his performance against the Wild, and plays like he did last Saturday against Detroit, we should see a good goalie matchup, well under the 6.0 goal game total.
Pick: Flames -115 and Under 6.0 goals -115
Boston Bruins +125 at Pittsburgh Penguins -145
It’s no secret the Bruins have had trouble scoring without Milan Lucic and Marc Savard and Thursday’s shutout means they’ve been shutout in 3 of their last 6 games. One thing the Bruins are doing, though, is getting solid goaltending from Tim Thomas, who has a two game shutout streak and hasn’t allowed more than 2 goals in 6 straight starts. Pittsburgh is experiencing much of the same scoring troubles as of late without Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar, Kris Letang, Maxime Talbot and Tyler Kennedy, only scoring 4 goals in their last 4 games. Boston features the 4th-best road defense at 2.3 goals allowed per game and Pittsburgh features the 4th-best home defense at 2.2 goals allowed per game – not leaving a lot of room for these struggling offenses to get going. The home team has taken each of the last 3 matchups between these two teams and I like the Pens to snap their 4-game losing streak tonight – especially if Malkin suits up.
Pick: Pens -145 and Under 5.5 goals -140
Washington Capitals +120 at New Jersey Devils -140
The Devils are the hottest team in the league right now, winning 7 straight games after a solid outing against Pittsburgh to remain unbeaten on the road. Washington has won 3-straight but you can argue that their opponents have been less-than-stellar over that stretch. The Devils beat Washington at home on Nov 4 and catch Washington on a back-to-back night. In an incredible feat, the Devils have won every game on their streak holding opponents to 1 goal in 5 games and 2 goals in 2 of the games (Washington was one of them). The Caps have the league’s best offense, 3.9 goals per game, but their defense is sub-par at 3.1 goals against per game. The Devils have the far superior defense, allowing 2.1 goals per game while scraping by with 2.7 goals per game yet averaging 3+ goals in their last 3 games. It’s difficult to think the Caps can keep this up without Alexander Ovechkin but they will still get a lot of play.
Pick: Devils -140
Los Angeles Kings +100 at Tampa Bay Lightning -120
The Kings were supposed to use this trip to the Southeast Division as a way to regain confidence and maintain their play early on in the season. It’s very clear that the Kings have goalie issues after Jonathan Quick got yanked in favour of Erik Ersberg who played even poorer. Tonight’s tilt vs. the Bolts is the Kings’ 3rd game in 4 nights on the East coast and they looked very deflated last night. They’ll face a Tampa team who is on a 2-game win streak, 4-0-3 at home, and 2-0-0 at home (and overall) against Western Conference opponents. The Lightning defense is about as sporadic as the Thrashers, allowing an average of 3.1 goals per game but they can definitely score goals, 3.5 goals for at home. The Kings’ road scoring has taken a dive, to 2.5 goals per game but they still have the 8th-ranked defense overall. Last night’s game didn’t help them as their road defense now allows an average of 3.1 goals per game. I like the Bolts, coming off 2 days rest, to catch the Kings after an off-night. This is reassuring: “He’s not on top of it right now. He’s doing things that are uncharacteristic of him, and he’s got to get back to basics and really get his focus back.” That’s Assistant-GM Ron Hextall’s response after a meeting with Quick, who will start tonight’s game.
Pick: Bolts -120
San Jose Sharks -135 at St. Louis Blues +115
The Sharks have burned me on two straight bets and you can probably directly correlate their struggles with my decision to pick them. Too bad. They are visiting a St. Louis team that has lost 6 of 7 and spiraling further down the Western Conference standings. The Sharks have the 6th-ranked road offense, 3.4 goals per game, the top ranked road powerplay, 32%, the 5th-ranked defense 2.4 goals per game. The best thing the Blues have going for them is a 9th-ranked defense overall (13th at home) and 90% penalty kill at home. Joe Pavelski and Devin Setoguchi have only supercharged the Sharks’ offensive potential and pose a very difficult matchup for the Blues. Awesome odds on the Sharks.
Pick: Sharks -135
Vancouver Canucks -110 at Colorado Avalanche -110
I wonder if there’s a correlation with the Canucks getting their Captain back and their recent struggles. After putting together a string of 3-wins, the Canucks have since lost 3-straight, only getting 1 goal in each game. In his return, Luongo actually played well, holding the Wings to 2 goals. One alarming statistic with Luongo is the fact that he has struggled considerably on the road, 1-5 with a 3.18 GAA and .877 SV%. Colorado doesn’t look like the best team to reverse those fortunes against as the Avs boast the 4th-best home scoring, 3.9 goals per game, and the 6th-best home defense, 2.3 goals allowed per game. The home team has won each of their two matchups this season and these teams have gone under in each of their last 5 meetings dating back to last season. With Craig Anderson’s play so far this season, and Colorado’s 6-1 record at home, it’s hard not to like those odds. More awesome odds on the Avs.
Picks: Avs -110 and Under 5.5 goals -135
Fan Favourite Record: 1-3, -2.941
Betting results by category so far this season:
- Money Line 36-36, -19.49
- Puck Line 7-16, -7.3
- Game Totals 37-21-1, +7.51