Tonight’s Picks: Wild Limp Into Oil Country

Updated: October 17, 2009 at 11:39 am by Matt Bennett

24-22: Another night of perfection!  I would like to thank an inept Blues offense and a very favourable matchup for the Hawks for the 2-0 night.  A parlay would’ve netted you +202 odds.  Let’s follow a solid 5 pick win streak over two days with some more good ones tonight! 

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New York Islanders +165 at Buffalo Sabres -185

After the Sabres’ recent 6-2 performance against the Red Wings, this home game against the Islanders should seem like a lock.  I just can’t be swayed to lean that way.  The Islanders have lost (in OT or regulation) every game by only 1 goal and kept pace with the likes of LA, Pittsburgh, Ottawa, and Boston.  The unfortunate fact for the Islanders is their 27th ranked 2.3 goals per game will be facing the top ranked D in the league (1.3 goals against per game).  The Sabres offense still isn’t anymore than 2.5 goals per game even after their latest offensive outburst.  While the Sabres are heavy favourites, you can certainly expect Tavares and the gang to take it all the way to a fiery finish.  In Roloson’s two starts so far this year, the Isles have pushed it to a shootout.  The real money here looks like it’s in the under.  Buffalo’s only over came last game and after watching that game, it’s safe to say Detroit simply caved and left Osgood hanging.  Don’t look too much into their 6 goals scored and look for a grinder tonight with the Ryan Miller and Dwayne Roloson taking the main stage.  Buffalo is without scorer Thomas Vanek.
Pick: Under 5.5 goals -115

Philadelphia Flyers -150 at Florida Panthers +130

Scott Clemmenson gets his first start of the season for the 1-4 Florida Panthers in their hopes to turn around their dismal 4-game losing streak.  Since scoring 4 on Huet in Helsinki, the Panthers haven’t scored more than 2 goals in a game.  The Flyers on the other hand should be out for vengeance after losing a last-second heartbreaker to the Ducks.  The Flyers are in the midst of a two-game losing streak and will need to regain form in order to be considered a top contender in the East.  Ray Emery gets the nod again for the Flyers and is 7-2 lifetime vs. the Panthers.  Philly is 2-0 so far on the road this season, beating both Carolina and New Jersey in their home rinks.  Don’t read too much into Florida being 4-2 in their last 6 at home against Philly, Clemmenson is seeing his first action of the season (he missed the preseason as well).  Florida needs to find their powerplay game, going a lousy 9.5% so far and will likely find difficulty against the Flyers, 89% on the penalty kill.  The Panthers will also have trouble matching up their 70% penalty kill against the 29% Flyers’ powerplay.  In addition, the Panthers allow the most shots against per game in the league at 38.6 while Philly musters the 7th most shots per game at 32.8.  Everything points to a Flyers rout of the Cats tonight and the puck line looks very tempting.
Pick: Flyers -1.5 goals +200 (or Flyers -150 if you are feeling less adventurous)

Minnesota Wild +120 at Edmonton Oilers -140

The poor Wild have even more injury woes to add to their troubles, adding Havlat to the list (groin, day-to-day) with Sykora, Clutterbuck and Bouchard.  Minny is in their 4th game of a 5 game road trip and is winless so far, traveling back to the division after 3 games against Pacific Division opponents.  That amount of time on the road still takes its toll on the team.  Edmonton, on the other hand, returns home after splitting games in Nashville and Chicago.  The Wild are 1-4 in their last 5 games in Edmonton and their poor offensive showing (2.4 goals per game) will hurt their chances.   What’s surprising is that the Wild are third best in the league in powerplay goals with 1.4 per game, yet only muster up 1 more goal per game on average.  If the Oilers can manage to stay in the box less than their 14.8 mins per game, it would help restrain the Wild’s scoring chances (especially against a 78% Oilers’ penalty kill).  The Wild D has also been sub-par, allowing an average of 3.60 goals per game which matches up nicely next to Edmonton’s 3.83 goal per game offensive attack.  Edmonton should be able to see a lot of chances even with Hemsky and Souray out of the lineup.  Early expectations are that Harding will get the start in this game, hoping to rebound after allowing 6 goals to the Kings, against Khabibulin.  Pat Quinn knows that hosting struggling division rivals at home are games his team needs to win and they will be ready for it.  It’d be silly to lay any money on the Wild with their injuries and poor goaltending up to this point.
Pick: Oilers -140

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Matt Bennett is an original DailyFaceoff.com co-Founder. Feel free to reach Bennett directly @bennettdf.
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