Time to build off the momentum of a solid Meat Loaf special last night with the Devils scoring in the first two minutes and the last one minute of the game to secure a two-goal victory. In our other plays, the Sharks took advantage of two penalty shots en route to a five-goal outburst to help the over. Mike Smith continued his personal crusade against me with another solid performance that kept the MTL/TB easily under.
For those going out tonight to ring in the start of a new decade, stay safe and designate a driver. Nothing worse than starting off a new year with tragedy. Best wishes to all for a safe and prosperous New Year, especially those dealing with the miserable economy or any other hard times.
I was surprised to glance at the NHL schedule tonight and see 22 teams ringing in the New Year with a game tonight. But, it provides us plenty of betting opportunities, so here’s to hoping you can cover tonight’s inebriation costs with some wagering wins!
NSH (Ev) @ CBJ
Paying homage again to Jeff Tay’s piece yesterday on NHL grudge matches, we’ll jump on a very one-sided rivalry tonight with the Predators at Nationwide Arena to take on the Jackets. The Predators are a ridiculous 21-2-2 against Columbus since the ’06-’07 season, including 3-0 this year.
The Jackets have played much better defensively of late, but have done so by completely abandoning their offense. The Jackets are scoring just 1.2 goals-per-game over their last five.
The 21-2-2 record is aided by Nashville’s home dominance over the Jackets. The Jackets are .500 against Nashville at home over the last three seasons. But, still, this column is about value and NSH at even money is better than CBJ at -120 in a game that probably ends in extra time.
(Fantasy note: Steve Sullivan and Martin Erat own the Jackets.)
SJ @ PHX u5 (+110)
I make this play realizing that it is very likely that Thomas Greiss gets the nod tonight. Ilya Bryzgalov has won 10 straight home starts posting a 1.30 GAA in the process. He’s 2-0-1 against SJ this year with a GAA under 1.
Frankly, I don’t think it matters who plays for SJ in this game. Nabokov’s been phenomenal of late, but Greiss has played well in all but one of the games that he has started. His last start came in Phoenix and he was 35 of 37 in a 2-1 defeat. Greiss may have a little extra fuel in the tank after being named to the German Olympic Team.
I know you cannot take the penalty shots out of the equation, but the Capitals are not a very good defensive team and SJ scored three goals against them, with Michal Neuvirth in net. Bryzgalov has had a few nights to rest and he should be ready and raring to go tonight. Great value at +110 and a high likelihood of an under.
NJ (+165) @ CHI
I can’t believe I’m putting together an RLS without a -1.5 in the equation. But this play is tremendous value to a team who has shut down the best of the East all season long. The Devils have showed countless times this year that they can shut down highly talented offensive teams. The Blackhawks are very talented defensively also, but I think a defensive game heavily favors the Devils.
Some guy named Martin Brodeur pitched another shutout against the Penguins last night. Cristobal Huet is coming off a poor showing against the Dallas Stars. If anybody can go to the United Center and beat the Hawks, the Devils are that team. Remember, they’re 13-4 on the road.
While these aren’t the Blackhawks Martin Brodeur is used to facing, he’s still 8-2-4-1 (4 ties) against them for his career with a sub-2 GAA. He’s also 11-3-1 with a 1.89 GAA on the road this season.
Again, look for a 2-1 game, but I think that heavily favors the Devils. It plays right into their style.
To reiterate from above, make sure you get a DD tonight, everybody. There will be enough drunken morons drinking wine cellar on the roads to complicate things, don’t add another one to the mix. Stay safe everybody, good luck with your wagers tonight, and good luck in 2010!