After a long buildup the NHL season has finally arrived! The NHL kicks off its 2009-10 season tonight with four games, two on the East and two on the West. Fortunately for bettors, the West coast games provide far better options for betting than the East coast games tonight. Washington and Boston look evenly matched and I have no idea what to expect from the Leafs this year so I’m going to pass on them.
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San Jose Sharks -170 at Colorado Avalanche +150
The Avs have made a few small moves that will help them this season, bringing in Kyle Quincey and Craig Anderson and letting third overall draft pick Matt Duchene stay with the big club. However, the Sharks are just far too powerful and Dany Heatley playing with Thornton and Setoguchi is just scary while the Avs lack any true scorers. Nabokov is a Vezina-quality goalie and has a 2.53 GAA and .915 SV% with 5 shutouts in 25 career starts against the Avs while Anderson has never played the Sharks. I’m taking the Sharks on the puck line here to rout the rebuilding Avs in Presidents’ Trophy-winning fasion.
Pick: Sharks -1.5 +170 (take the Sharks at -170 on the money line if you aren’t feeling as adventurous)
Vancouver Canucks +105 at Calgary Flames -125
While Curtis Glencross and Olli Jokinen had a great preseasons (4G and 3A each in 5GP), Roberto Luongo had a better one (1.30 GAA with a .947 SV% in 4GP). The Canucks have retooled with some important secondary scoring and bolstered their defense while also improving the powerplay. After acquiring D Jay Bouwmeester, the Flames were stripped of high scoring winger Mike Cammalleri and D-men Adrian Aucoin, Jordan Leopold, and Rhett Warrener. Calgary will be a competitive team this season but Vancouver should be better and they’ll prove it tonight. The Canucks are 15-8-2 in their last 25 when playing in Calgary and to top it off, Vancouver went 2-0 in their home-and-home openers against the Flames last season, outscoring them 11-4. Vancouver is also coming off a stellar preseason (7-0-2 and 3-0-1 on the road) while the Flames found themselves in the middle of the pack going 3-2-2. This will be a close one but Vancouver absolutely has the tools to win it so take advantage of the favourable odds.
Pick: Canucks +105