Red Light Specials: 12/19 Edition

Updated: December 20, 2009 at 11:18 am by Adam Burke

It’s the night of the backup goaltender in the NHL and that creates some very tough predicaments for bettors. Without question, teams seem to try and step up their play to compensate, but sometimes they fail. When they fail, the backups tend to have poor nights and the game can get out of hand in a hurry. Sometimes, the backup is used as a motivating tool to get the team to play better. An example of this was a couple weeks ago when the Rangers sent Stephen Valiquette out against the Penguins. The Rangers got pummeled and Valiquette found himself on a flight bound for Hartford.

A mediocre night of results last night as Antti Niemi put together a real s-show (use your imagination on what the “s” stands for) and the ‘Canes -‘Cats game was easily on the over side.

Nearly every game on the docket today features a 1b or a backup scenario. Again, unpredictability reigns supreme in these games. Why? Well, to the first point, the team may or may not play well in front of the backup. Also, some backups have extremely small sample sizes that can alter your opinion one way or another while analyzing the matchups. With the Olympic break and the shortage of off days this season, maximizing value on backup goaltenders will be paramount to having a winning betting season.


FLA @ CAR o5.5 (-115)

We’ll go back to this well for the second straight night and play this over again. Instead of Vokoun tonight, the Panthers turn to Scott Clemmensen who has a road GAA of 3.59. Cam Ward struggled last night before being replaced by Manny Legace, who put together a solid 1/2 in shots faced.

Everything from Matt Bennett’s column yesterday and the small blurb from last night’s RLS is in play again tonight. For a refresher on Matt’s article, here’s the link:

Another offensive showcase with two teams who are downright offensive on defense.

PIT -1.5 (+250) @ BUF

I normally don’t advocate the road team on the puck line unless there’s a decided mismatch, but tonight, this is some huge value for PIT. In watching the Sabres game last night, they looked very disinterested until Vesa Toskala’s latest embarrassing goal, and by that point, the rout was on.

In all honesty, the Sabres won big last night because Toskala deflated the balloon. In terms of outworking Toronto, Buffalo did not. It’ll be interesting to see how they respond with Lalime in net, but I fully anticipate a pretty lackluster game from Buffalo.

Lalime shut down the Blackhawks in his last start, but he’s still Patrick Lalime. He has a marginal 7-5-2 lifetime record against the Penguins, but hasn’t faced them since January 22, 2004. A few things have changed there since then.

Again, it’s tough to expect PIT to win by 2 on the road, so if you can find a safer game to cover yourself with before betting this one, I suggest it. But, the +250 is huge value and definitely possible in a Lalime-Fleury matchup. Keep an eye on today’s starting goaltender post here on DailyFaceoff for Fleury’s confirmation. If he gets the green light, take the green light for yourself and give this play a shot.

BOS (-105) @ TOR

Interesting that there is not much discrepancy on the moneylines tonight in most of the games. Also interesting is that Toronto is favored tonight against Boston. It likely has to do with Boston having a late night flight to Toronto, losing an hour on the time change, and having played the high-flying Blackhawks last night.

But, Tuukka Rask gets the nod tonight and he’s 3-0 with a 2 GAA against Toronto. In Rask’s last two starts against Toronto, the team has won 7-2 and 5-2. Rask is also a road warrior going 4-0-1 with a 1.80 GAA away from home.

If the Bruins can withstand the first 10-minute barrage from the Leafs, they’ll be in the drivers seat to take home two points in this one.

Good luck tonight, players!