Picks: Ward Returns as Devils Host Canes

Updated: December 10, 2009 at 11:21 am by Brock Seguin

Welcome back, Cam Ward.  Now go play the Devils.  Think Carolina can upset another contender in back-to-back road games?  We’re breaking that game down and more! 

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Carolina Hurricanes +175 at New Jersey Devils -210

I’m reading into the Hurricanes road win over the Penguins as a collapse by the Pens, not a surge by the Canes.  However, to expect the Canes to upset two major defenses back-to-back on the road is a bit of a stretch.  The Devils are coming off of a a big 3-0 road win against the Sabres in a matchup of the league’s top defenses where they peppered Ryan Miller with 37 shots and restricting them to only 22 shots.  Carolina’s league-worst offense is going to have a lot of difficulty against the league-best defense but I’m also not counting out their ability to keep it close.
Pick: Devils -210

Edmonton Oilers +105 at Tampa Bay Lightning -125

The Oilers are riding a 3-game win streak for the second time on the season, this time all their wins are on the road.  They’re looking for 4-straight for the first time as they play their 5th road game of their 6-game road trip.  The Lightning, however, are a tough building to play in.  The Lightning have a tough, 7th-best home defense at 2.4 goals against per game.  Edmonton is only 1-4-1 on the road against Eest teams while the Bolts are 2-1-1 at home vs. the West.  Neither team really has the offensive edge here but overall, the Oilers are a poor road team, 5-8-2 on the season, and are still riding backup Jeff Deslauriers.  Plus, the Lightning have reunited their top line – let’s hope they can close it!
Pick: Bolts -125

New York Rangers +170 at Chicago Blackhawks -200

We’ve discussed the fact that New York is trying to adopt a more defensive system utilizing Chris Drury and Wade Redden’s defensive abilities (yes, really).  The Hawks have shown they won’t score unless they need to.  They’ve only won 2 games in their last 5 and each win was by a 1 goal margin.  They’ve had trouble mounting offense against poor defensive teams like the Ducks and the Kings and really struggled against good defensive teams like the Preds and Pens.  The Rangers haven’t exactly shown their offensive flair of late either, only getting more than 3 goals in a game once in their last 5, and that was in the 8-3 blowout by Pittsburgh.  The Rangers also only have 1 powerplay goal over their last 5 games and have a very poor 1-3 road record vs. the West.
Pick: Under 5.5 goals -115

Minnesota Wild +120 at Colorado Avalanche -140

Two hot teams are meeting tonight for the 4th time already this season.  The Wild have won 6 of their last 8, surprisingly 2 of 3 on the road during that stretch, and really improved their overall offense.  They hit 5 goals for in half of those 8 games and once against the Avs at home.  The Wild have beaten the Avs in all 3 prior meetings this season, twice by a 1 goal margin.  The Avs have won 3 of their last 5 including their last 2 and they finally return home after 5 games on the road for 5 straight at home.  The Avs also feature the 4th-best home scoring with 3.6 goals per game and the 5th-worst home defense, allowing 3.2 goals per game.  The Wild have a poor road offense, 2.3 goals per game, but scored 3 their last time in Colorado with Craig Anderson in net, and they allow an average of 3.1 goals per game.
Pick: Over 5.5 goals +105

Atlanta Thrashers +150 at Calgary Flames -170

The Flames are returning from playing 8 of their last 9 games on the road, winning 6.  With all of their road dominance, the Flames have been prone to the home upset and we’ve seen them do it a few times already this season.  The Thrashers claim they are a playoff contender this season and have shown some real bright spots but their offense has sputtered of late, like the Flames, scoring more than 2 goals only once in their last 5 games.  To respond to this, Atlanta has juggled their lines, trying to wake up Slava Kozlov and Nik Antropov.  Maybe it was their return to Toronto, but Antropov and Kubina were invisible for a combined -5 against their former team in a 5-2 loss.  Atlanta has the 5th-best road offense, 3.3 goals per game, and a very good road defense, 2.8 goals per game.  The Flames have just been average at home, averaging 3.2 goals per game at home and allowing an average of 3.1.  Atlanta is 2-0 on the road against West teams and Calgary is 2-0 against East teams.  It’s a lot closer than the lines would suggest!
Pick: Thrashers +150

Los Angeles Kings +175 at San Jose Sharks -210

Ersberg in net = Sharks all day.  The Kings are just an average road team, 2.6 goals for and 2.9 goals against.  The Sharks average a solid 3.2 goals per game at home and an 8th-best defense of 2.4 goals against – including the league’s best home penalty kill, 94%.  These teams have split their previous two meetings already on the season with the Kings taking the first matchup in a high scoring home game and the Sharks taking the second in a low scoring home game.  No word yet on who’s going for the Sharks, but Ersberg is 1-1 with a 4.18 GAA on the season, with all his appearances being on the road.
Pick: Sharks -1.5 +145

Fan Favourite Record: 14-15, -4.25

Betting results by category so far this season:

  • Money Line 67-71, -13.76
  • Puck Line 14-19, +1.2
  • Game Totals 52-42-1, +3.33