8-8: Solid 3-1 night last night! Weird that the one pick I thought would be a lock turned out to be a dud. Oh well, I’m adding Nabokov to the list of goalies who can’t save a beach ball in October. Only two games tonight.
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Phoenix Coyotes +175 at Pittsburgh Penguins -210
There is no possible way you could convince me to go with Phoenix here unless Malkin, Crosby, and Fleury are all injured (and even then, maybe). Phoenix won their season opener in LA, 6-3, but Pittsburgh has kicked off their season 2-0, despite having difficulties against the Islanders. The only issue I have with this game is the difficulty Pittsburgh has on the puck line, 0-2 so far this season. It seems they cannot muster up enough offense to really hammer a team (even the New York teams). However, I do like Pittsburgh at home and I do like Phoenix’s lousy penalty kill (killed 1/4 penalties in LA) and I think that will be the decider in this one. I’m sure Dave Tippett’s team is ready to go here but the Pens’ intensity will be too hard to match.
Pick: Pens -1.5 +145 (or -210 straight up if you are feeling less gutsy) Update: Pens are starting Brent Johnson in place of Fleury. Not trusting the puck line on this one anymore. Pens -210
Montreal Canadiens +165 at Vancouver Canucks -185
It’s no secret that I have a beef with Luongo so far this season, who embarassed himself again at the home opener for Vancouver, surrendering a soft 4 goals on 12 shots before being yanked for Raycroft. Sure enough, goaltending is the wild card here and as strange as it is to say, Price has been very difficult to beat this season, going 2-0 with a 1.89 GAA against Toronto and Buffalo. Until Luongo proves to me he is over his struggles, I have to go with the solid goaltending play. Try not to let the convincing stats sway you in this one. Vancouver is 5-0 in their last 5 against Montreal at home and is 5-1 in their last 6 against Montreal. However, they have only played 4 games in the last 4 years, including two last season which the teams split (winning home games) and did not play each other in 2007-2008. The Vancouver team that is 5-0 at home against Montreal is a very different Canucks team than the one that is struggling mightily right now. Montreal (starting Halak) just played Calgary hard, losing 4-3 in a close one and looked very good offensively against Miikka Kiprusoff. I’m going with Montreal to play the spoiler here.
Pick: Habs +165 (or +1.5 at -180 if you are feeling less gutsy)