|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|01-18-19||Canadiens +1.5 v. Blue Jackets||Top||4-1||Win||100||12 h 5 m||Show|
6* Puck Line Montreal (7:05 ET): Please note that this is a play on the puck line only where I am taking the Canadiens +1.5. This is a matchup where both teams come in hot. The last time the Habs played on the road, they beat Boston by a score of 3-2. They've now won three straight after beating Florida 5-1 on Tuesday. This win streak has them in 4th in the Atlantic Division and, if the regular season ended today, they'd be the final Wild Card. Given how well they have looked recently, I think taking them w/ an additional goal and a half is warranted here.
Not to be outdone, the Blue Jackets have won four in a row and now actually lead the Metro. But the three teams that are close behind them are all better in my eyes. The last two games have seen C-bus roll over two bad teams (Devils, Rangers) here at Nationwide Arena. But we should tip our collective caps to them for also beating Nashville and Washington during this current run. Still, the club only ranks 20th in goals allowed and thus it's a little hard for me to see them winning this one by multiple goals, if they even win at all.
Montreal hasn't just won three straight, they are also 9-4 SU the L13 games (Columbus is 11-3 SU its last 14). But the Canadiens have the superior goaltending in this matchup, no matter who they turn to. Carey Price has been outstanding all year long, but his backup Antti Niemi has really come on of late as well, including a 52-save effort against the Panthers Tuesday. In what will likely end up being a pretty low-scoring game, I think the +1.5 is going to be very valuable. 6* Puck Line Montreal (+1.5)
|12-04-18||Senators +1.5 v. Canadiens||Top||2-5||Loss||-170||11 h 2 m||Show|
8* Puck Line Ottawa (7:35 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I'm taking the Senators at +1.5. Ottawa got off to a dreadful start to the year, but has somewhat turned things around recently w/ a three-game win streak. Meanwhile, Montreal's season has gone the opposite way. They started 4-1-1, but have begun to fade, losing six of their last seven games. The last three losses have all taken place here at home. So I certainly don't support the notion that they're likely to win here by more than one goal. These Canadian rivals share common opponents their last two games. Both beat the Rangers at home. But while Ottawa dominated San Jose on 12/1 (won 6-2), the Habs lost to the Sharks the following night by a score of 3-1. Again, take the +1.5.
Tonight's game marks the front end of a home and home between these teams. Ottawa has admittedly not been sharp on the road this year where it is just 3-8-1 SU overall and giving up a frightening average of 5.1 goals per game. The Sens' biggest problem is that they allow far too many shots on goal. They are allowing the most per game in the league right now (37.9) and as a result are giving up the most goals per game (4.04) as well. But lately, they've been a lot better, giving up just five goals total in the L3 games. Credit is due to goalie Craig Anderson, who has made 63 saves on 65 shots the L2 games, including a shutout of the Rangers. He has a .933 save percentage his L4 starts as well.
Montreal lost the first matchup w/ Ottawa this season, 4-3, twice blowing a two-goal advantage. That was on the road, but I'm not expecting any better from them at home. This is a team that's been held to two goals or fewer in five of its last six contests. Against San Jose on Sunday, they fell behind quickly and never recovered. Goaltending has been an issue for the Canadiens all season long w/ a collective save percentage of just .895. Not only have the Habs dropped 20 of their past 27 division games, but they have also lost four straight times when playing for a third time in a four-day span. That's the situation they find themselves in tonight. 8* Puck Line Ottawa (+1.5)
|11-23-18||Canucks +1.5 v. Sharks||Top||0-4||Loss||-125||11 h 11 m||Show|
8* Puck Line Vancouver (9:05 ET): The Canucks are in a pretty bad way right now as they've dropped seven in a row. But four of those seven losses have come by just one goal, opening up the opportunity to exploit the puck line tonight. Please note that this is a puck line play only where I am taking Vancouver +1.5. I actually think there's a pretty good chance they pull the upset tonight in San Jose, but just to be careful we'll go w/ the added insurance of the PL.
Six of the seven losses during Vancouver's current slide have come in regulation. But this was a team that also started the season a solid 10-6-1. They've had to play a lot on the road recently, many of the games coming out East. It's not like San Jose has been a favorite destination of theirs as they've lost five in a row here and are just 1-9 vs. the Sharks overall the L3 seasons. But San Jose has its own set of struggles going on right now. Coming out of the Thanksgiving holiday, I think this sets up as the perfect ambush spot for Vancouver. Remember, all we need is for them to be tied at the end of regulation.
San Jose lost here at home to Edmonton Wednesday, 4-3. The Sharks might be closer to the top of the Pacific Division than the Canucks are, but the gap between the two teams is just four points. San Jose has given up at least four goals in three of its last four games. So expecting them to win by more than one goal seems like putting the "cart before the horse." The Sharks have just one win by more than one goal this month. They are 3-4 SU against teams w/ a losing record this year. 8* Puck Line Vancouver (+1.5)
|11-17-18||Blues +1.5 v. Sharks||Top||0-4||Loss||-150||13 h 24 m||Show|
8* Puck Line St. Louis (10:35 ET): Please note that this is a Puck Line play only where I am backing St. Louis at +1.5. The Blues played last night and they're certainly hoping that what happens in Vegas does NOT have to stay in Vegas as they beat the Golden Knights 4-1. It was a dominant performance w/ a three-goal second period. It was their third time scoring 4 goals in the last five games and their only losses during that stretch both came by one goal each. Speaking of dominant performances, the Blues shutout the Sharks 4-0 back on November 9th.
The Sharks are looking to rebound from a 5-3 loss to Toronto that occurred here at home Thursday. There's no shame in losing to a team as good as the Maple Leafs, but San Jose has to feel like they let one slip away given they scored three times in the 1st period and had 45 shots on goal for the game. One positive sign for the Sharks tonight is that they're 4-0 SU this season when off a loss by two or more goals. But I don't see them winning by multiple goals tonight. In fact, five of San Jose's last six wins have been by exactly one goal. Three of their last five losses have also been by one goal. I'll take either result here (or another Blues' blowout, obviously!).
It would be easy to look at this matchup simply through the prism of the division standings. San Jose is in first place in the Pacific while St. Louis resides in the basement of the Central. However, the six point difference between the teams is a result of the Sharks having played three more games and they have three more wins. Also, I should point out that despite where they are in the standings, the Blues actually have the better season goal differential as they've outscored opponents while the Sharks have allowed the same exact number of goals (64) that they have scored. Since Jake Allen was in goal last night, that probably means Chad Johnson will start tonight and he was the one who authored the 4-0 shutout in the last meeting. Take the +1.5. 8* Puck Line St. Louis (+1.5)
|11-10-18||Red Wings +1.5 v. Hurricanes||Top||4-3||Win||100||9 h 13 m||Show|
8* Puck Line Detroit (7:05 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I am taking Detroit +1.5. It was a tough start to the season for this once proud franchise, but the Red Wings have started to turn things around with five wins in the last six games. Their only loss during that span came by a single goal. Here, they're matched up with a Carolina club that has been on an opposite trajectory in that they started the year strong, but have dropped five of six. They won Thursday night, 4-3 over Chicago, but have not won a game by more than one goal since 10/22 over ... Detroit. So this is a revenge game for the Red Wings to boot.
Detroit is a young team, but they're starting to come together. Their last two wins have both come beyond regulation, but remember that getting to overtime is all we'd need for a winning ticket here. I was impressed by the way they came from behind to defeat the Rangers last night, winning 3-2 in OT after going into the final period trailing 2-0. Nearly one-third of the Red Wings' games this season have gone past regulation. Over the last five, they're averaging 3.6 goals per game, which is way up from how the started the year offensively. Another good sign is that the scoring is coming from multiple players. Carolina goaltenders have a terrible .873 save percentage at home this season.
This will be the Hurricanes' first home game of November. It's a tough road trip that they are coming off of w/ games in Arizona, Vegas, St. Louis and Chicago. Ironically, the win over Chicago was the first time all season that the 'Canes had been outshot in a game all season. While Detroit may rank only 27th in the league in goals scored per game, Carolina isn't too far ahead at 26th. So this could very well be a low-scoring game, making the +1.5 all the more valuable. I just don't trust the Hurricanes' goaltending situation enough to think they'll be able to win this game by multiple goals. 8* Puck Line Detroit (+1.5)
|11-08-18||Canucks +1.5 v. Bruins||Top||8-5||Win||100||8 h 55 m||Show|
8* Puck Line Vancouver (7:05 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I am taking the Canucks +1.5. Despite losing in a shootout Tuesday night, Vancouver remains a pleasant surprise in this league. They are tied for 1st in the Pacific w/ 19 points and would be coming into this game on a four-game win streak had they not blown a 2-0 lead to Detroit. That's one more point than tonight's opponent, Boston, has and the Canucks also beat the Bruins back on October 20th, 2-1. I'll call for them to do no worse than a one-goal loss here.
Vancouver had been a bit of a scoring machine recently, totaling 16 goals in a three-game win streak over Minnesota, Chicago and Colorado. All those games were at home. They began what will be a 6-game swing out East, Tuesday in Detroit, and it looked as if the scoring barrage would continue as they led 2-0 midway through the second period. But it was not to be. They allowed the Red Wings to answer w/ two of their own and then lost in a shootout. It will be tough cracking a Bruins team that is 2nd in the league in goals allowed. But the Canucks were able to win a low-scoring game at home and there's still plenty to be excited about with this team, namely rookie Elias Petterson and his 10 goals.
Over its last four games, Boston has been shutout twice and won two games by a goal apiece. So the Puck Line seems like it could be a very useful tool tonight. Half of the Bruins' last eight contests have been decided by one goal, including the last one where they beat Dallas 2-1 in OT. They gave up a short-handed goal early in that contest, but were able to answer on a later power play w/ a goal of their own. Interesting that Boston is only 24th in goals per game despite having the 5th highest power play percentage in the league. That tells me that this is a team struggling to score when at even strength. I also don't think there's anyway that goalie Jaroslav Halak, who is likely to get the start tonight, can maintain his current hot streak (.962 save percentage L4 games). 8* Puck Line Vancouver (+1.5)
|10-18-18||Red Wings v. Lightning -1.5||Top||1-3||Win||100||10 h 50 m||Show|
10* Puck Line Tampa Bay (7:35 ET): Please note that this is a Puck Line play only where I am taking the Lightning at -1.5. Detroit remains the lone winless team in the league with four of the six losses coming in regulation. Their -16 goal differential is easily a league worst and unfortunately for them the task gets no easier tonight as they're in Tampa Bay. The Lightning have absolutely owned the Red Wings in recent years, taking all nine meetings since the start of the 2015-16 season. As you can tell from the money line, this is a total mismatch and thus I have no problem calling for Tampa Bay to win this one by multiple goals. They've also played only four games to Detroit's six.
Furthermore, the schedule has set up nicely for the Lightning in the early part of the season. Not only have they only played four times so far (tied for fewest number of games played), but they have yet to leave home ice! They did suffer a rather shocking 4-1 loss to Vancouver back on 10.11, but that came after a long layoff. Here, we find them two days removed from a 4-2 win over Carolina. That was led by a Tyler Johnson hat trick, one of his goals coming short-handed. The Lightning have quite the PK unit thus far, having killed off all 18 opposing power plays! What's really scary about this team is that it's off to fast start despite minimal contributions from both Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov. Just imagine when those two superstars get going.
Meanwhile, there are few positives to talk about w/ this Detroit club, which has been trending downward for a couple seasons. This season could very well be rock bottom as they've been outscored 30-14 in six games. Tonght will be their third consecutive road game after losses at Boston (8-2) and Montreal (7-3). As nice as the Lightning's early-season schedule has been, the Red Wings' has been equally as difficult. They've only gotten to play twice at home and this will be the 5th road game in 11 days. I have no idea how they're going to stop the high-scoring Lightning as goalies Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Bernier have combined for a woeful .850 save percentage. Tampa Bay's save percentage (.937) is at the top of the league w/ likely starter Andrei Vasilevskiy having stopped 96 of the 101 shots he's faced thus far. The Lightning win big here. 10* Puck Line Tampa Bay (-1.5)
|10-03-18||Canadiens +1.5 v. Maple Leafs||Top||2-3||Win||100||25 h 54 m||Show|
8* Puck Line Montreal (7:05 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I am backing the Canadiens +1.5. Of the four Opening Night games, this one looks to be the biggest mismatch on paper. But perception is not always reality. Toronto is a team I feel is overvalued coming into the 2018-19 season. Yes, they added John Tavares and should have a full season from Auston Matthews after posting 105 points last season. They still should be one of the league's premier offensive teams, but don't be surprised if they fail to top LY's point total. Meanwhile, the Habs may enter the season w/ low expectations, but I have them beating them due to the near certainty that Carey Price will appear between the pipes more than 48 times. Take the +1.5.
Obviously, the losses of Shea Weber (knee injury) and Max Pacioretty (traded to Vegas) are what has such a sense of pessimism surrounding Montreal. But I again point to a healthy Price as a reason they'll stay in, if not win, more games this season. Price remains one of the league's elite goaltenders and should perform a lot better on the PK this year. Keep in mind they played a large portion of last season w/o Pacioretty and Weber as well, so it's not as if this will be anything new. Following such a sharp decline last year, improvement this year is only natural. Remember that the Canadiens won the Atlantic Division two years ago. I believe they'll top the books' (very) low 80.5 point projection.
Toronto swept the season series w/ the Habs last year, winning all four meetings. That was after losing all four meetings in 2016-17. So Montreal won't be lacking for motivation in this one. Again, the Leafs look overvalued to me. Tavares has never hit 90 points in a season. Then, you have the defensive issues. It's very likely that they will rank in the bottom half of the league in goals allowed. Despite ranking 11th in goals against last season, they still gave up too many shots on a per game basis (33.9). I do not think goalie Frederik Andersen is going to be able to match LY's save percentage (.918) if he faces a similar workload. Maybe Montreal doesn't win this game, but they'll do no worse than a one-goal loss. 8* Puck Line Montreal (+1.5)
|04-20-18||Wild +1.5 v. Jets||Top||0-5||Loss||-150||12 h 14 m||Show|
8* Puck Line Minnesota (7:40 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I am taking the Wild +1.5. This is a pretty cheap price on a team as good as Minnesota, getting an additional 1.5 goals to work with. Yes, the overall outlook is looking rather bleak after a Game 4 loss (2-0) that puts them down 3-1 in the series and having to make a return trip to Winnipeg where the host Jets are an outstanding 34-7-2 SU for the year. But, as much as I leaned on the simple concept of home ice advantage for previous plays in this series, the anticipation of the Jets closing things out has led to a ridiculously inflated price for Game 5 and the PL now becomes a viable option. Maybe this is Minnesota's final game, but I see them doing no worse than a one-goal loss in this spot.
The last time a team wearing Winnipeg Jets' sweaters had a 3-1 series lead was 1992 (!) against the Vancouver Canucks. They failed to close out that series and have never advanced since. (To be fair, the franchise went away for some time, before resurfacing as the Atlanta Thrashers). So tonight is going to be a REALLY big deal in Manitoba. But, the pressure is on and the Jets will have to win w/o three of their top four blueliners. Already w/o Toby Enstrom and Dmitri Kulikov (both injured), the team will now have to deal with the suspension Josh Morrisey (for a cross-check in Game 3). Furthemore, a fourth defensemen (Tyler Myers) is also listed as questionable for this game. That's a lot of key personnel missing for a game aainst what will be a very desperate Wild team.
Minnesota has typically bounced back this year after a poor offensive effort as their record is 12-5 SU after being held to one goal or fewer in their previous game. Case in point, they scored six times in Game 3 (following a 4-1 loss in Game 2), chasing the previously red-hot Connor Hellebuyck. Despite being badly outshot in those first two games, the Wild remained competitive, which is a mark in their favor. Devan Dubnyk has actually outplayed Hellebuyck in this series (.930 save percentage to .899) and I just can't see Minnesota going down w/o a fight in this one. 8* Puck Line Minnesota (+1.5)
|03-30-18||Maple Leafs v. Islanders +1.5||Top||5-4||Win||100||12 h 52 m||Show|
6* Puck Line NY Islanders (7:05 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I am taking the Islanders +1.5. The Isles may be eliminated from playoff contention, but they still have some pride on the line as they look to avoid finishing last in the Metropolitan. They enter today one point behind the Rangers. Also, a win here would allow them to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Maple Leafs. While I can't guarantee the Brooklyn contingent gets the two points here, I do feel that they'll do no worse than a one-goal loss. Four of the Maple Leafs' last five games have been decided by one goal, including a 4-3 win over Florida Wednesday night that I was on. The Isles are also off a 4-3 win here as they beat Ottawa on the road Tuesday night.
The Leafs are going to finish third in the Atlantic. For most of the season, it appeared as if they were on a first round collision course w/ Boston. But the Bruins have just passed the Lightning for the division lead. Regardless, it is going to be a very tough 1st round draw as Toronto must face one of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference w/o the benefit of home ice advantage. I consider the Leafs the third best team in the entire East, but the big difference between them and Tampa Bay/Boston has been road play. The Leafs have a losing record away from home (19-15-5), another reason to fade here. Also, they've only had to play four "true" road games so far in March (had a neutral site game vs. Washington as well) and two of those came against league-worst Buffalo. Furthemore, 13 of their last 22 games overall have been decided by exactly one goal.
On paper, a matchup w/ the league's second highest scoring team does not sound promising for the Islanders as they give up the most goals per game in the entire league. But they are a top 10 scoring offense as well and I believe are capable of keeping up in a "shootout" style of game. Tuesday's 4-3 win in Ottawa was probably "well deserved" when you consider the Isles were 0-5 SU in one goal games in March previous to that result. Three of those losses came in extra time, all in a row. As rough as things have been this season, I do believe they can win this game or at least do no worse than a one-goal loss. Remember, all we need is this game to be tied at the end of regulation. 6* Puck Line NY Islanders (+1.5)
|03-14-18||Penguins v. Rangers +1.5||Top||3-4||Win||100||12 h 27 m||Show|
8* Puck Line NY Rangers (8:05 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I am taking the Rangers +1.5. Tremendous value here on the Rangers, who are at home and getting the goal and a half. Yes, it's largely been a disastrous second half of the season for the guys wearing the blue sweaters (they are just 6-12-2 L20 games), but they are off a 6-3 win here at MSG (over Carolina) the other night. It's become increasingly likely that NY will NOT be in the playoffs as they now face a nine-point deficit w/ just 12 games to play and they'd need to jump a lot of teams. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is looking to win the Metro. They enter Weds trailing rival Washington by just a single point. But they've been very inconsistent.
Take for instance the last eight games, which have seen the Pens go 4-4 SU. Two of the wins were by exactly one goal. They picked up a big win the other night, 3-1 over Dallas, but that was on home ice. Out on the road, this team is just 14-18-3 this season and they are giving up 3.3 goals per game. While the Pens have had the Rangers' number of late, especially here at MSG (7-1 L8 visits), it hasn't always been easy. This is the fourth head to head matchup this season and two of the previous three were one-goal games, including the lone one in the Big Apple. Overall, 32 of the Penguins' 70 games this year (nearly half) have been one goal games. For the Rangers, that number is 30. So there's a strong likelihood this will be a one-goal game and that's a win for us remember, regardless of the actual result.
Something else to note here is that when Pittsburgh's top ranked power play is struggling, the team typically suffers as a result. The Rangers are 8th in penalty killing, so that should serve them well tonight. The PK has gone 12 of 14 this month. Pittsburgh has been very inconsistent defensively as they've allowed 1 or 0 goals nine times over the last 30 games, but also allowed 4+ nine times in that same stretch. For the Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist has been better of late w/ an outstanding .933 save percentage his L4 starts. If he doesn't go, the emerging Alexandar Georgiev has been solid as well (.930 save percentage). Goaltending is a question mark for the Pens as Matt Murray has an .898 save percentage in road games while Tristan Jarry has been quite "leaky" of late (.899 save percentage L4 starts). 8* Puck Line NY Rangers (+1.5)
|03-12-18||Senators +1.5 v. Panthers||Top||5-3||Win||100||20 h 45 m||Show|
8* Puck Line Ottawa (7:35 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play where I am taking the Senators +1.5. For the Sens, this season is "all over but the shouting" as there is no chance they'll be making the playoffs. They've seemed resigned to this fate for some time now and have basically been the East's second worst team (them and Buffalo) much of the way. One has to wonder though if things would be a lot different had they turned some of those overtime/shootout losses into wins. The Sens are right near the top of the league w/ 11 "loser points" and a 2-7 record in shootouts is a league-worst. Though the opponent for tonight is red-hot, I believe Ottawa will do no worse than a one-goal defeat.
For much of this season, I've been making the case that the Atlantic Division would only be sending its top three (and it's a strong top three) to the playoffs. But Florida has made quite the late charge to get into Wild Card contention and be a possible fourth playoff team from the division. The Panthers are 15-3-1 the L19 games and enter today trailing Columbus by only two points for the final spot. They've won eight of the last nine games (only loss was to TB, in overtime), however, I will point out that six of those nine games have been decided by one goal. Such a result, either way, is all we are looking for here. Also, 32 of Florida's 66 games played (almost half) have been decided by one goal.
Oddsmakers have definitely taken notice of the Panthers as tonight marks the third straight game they'll be north of -200 on the money line. They won the previous two, including 4-3 over the Rangers in a shootout on Saturday. However, I still remain a bit skeptical. Florida has been outshot in three of its last four games and there really was nothing to suggest this run was forthcoming. Statistically, the Panthers are a pretty average team. Meanwhile, schedulemakers have done Ottawa no favors this year as this will be the first leg of their league-high 21 back to backs this season. They're in Tampa Bay tomorrow night, so if there's a game they're going to get points, it would be more than likely this one. Incredibly, the Sens have played six consecutive one-goal games (lost four) and have played 38 for the season, which is over half of their total games. 8* Puck Line Ottawa (+1.5).
|01-04-18||Lightning v. Canadiens +1.5||Top||1-2||Win||100||19 h 20 m||Show|
6* Puck Line Montreal (7:35 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I'm taking the Canadiens +1.5. Tampa Bay has clearly emerged as the "team to beat" in the NHL's Eastern Conference as their 60 points and +53 goal differential are both league bests (the latter easily so). But, that being said, I feel this could be a somewhat tricky road game against a division foe. Certainly, the Habs come in "wounded" as losers of five in a row. They've scored just four goals total during the losing streak, but to be fair, they are also coming off a hellacious road trip, one of that took them to Western Canada for three games and then to the Southeast U.S. for three more. Thus, I was NOT surprised to see them struggle in their return home Tuesday night, which ended up being a 4-1 loss to San Jose.
All five losses have been by 2+ goals while the Lightning are off B2B shutouts (both on the road). So, I get that this looks like a pretty severe mismatch. However, it is Tampa Bay's third road game in five nights and considering the two teams they just beat (Columbus, Toronto), it would only be natural to have somewhat of a "letdown" here. In fact, the Lightning are just 3-6 SU this season when coming off a division game. Their strong start to the season hasn't been w/o some good fortune as they've gone 11-5 SU in one-goal games. That's 16 out of 39 games decided by a one-goal margin. Either way, we'll take that result tonight.
Montreal would be well-served to try and get on the man advantage in this game as TB's one weakness is the penalty kill where they rank just 23rd. I also think it would be a mistake to start doubting Carey Price as he still owns a .940 save percentage against division foes this season (10 starts). He can keep the Habs in this one. It's not like the offense does a poor job of getting the puck on net, at least here at home where they average 33.6 shots per game. I look for the Habs to do no worse than a one-goal loss here, so take the +1.5. 6* Puck Line Montreal (+1.5)
|01-01-18||Sabres +1.5 v. Rangers||Top||2-3||Win||100||6 h 3 m||Show|
6* Puck Line Buffalo (1:00 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I'm taking the Sabres +1.5. For the Sabres, today's game might as well be the Stanley Cup Finals. By every objective measure, they are the worst team in the Eastern Conference, so a national platorm should definitely have them "hyped up" and ready to go come New Year's Day. Will that be enough, though? Not sure, but that's where the Puck Line comes in as I definitely don't see the Rangers winning this game by more than one goal. It should be noted that Buffalo is off a win here (4-3 at New Jersey) and a one-goal loss (to the Islanders) prior to that. Meanwhile, each of the Rangers last four games have been decided by one goal margins. Take the +1.5 here.
Not sure how much it would change things, but the Sabres are tied for the most losses in OT or a shootout in the league (8). The win over the Devils Friday did come in overtime. I was impressed, however, with them rallying back from a 3-1 deficit on the road. That improves them to 2-3-2 the L7 games, so they come into the New Year at least being competitive. Seven of their last 10 goals have been decided by one goals, a margin that would work for us either way here. Overall, 17 of their 38 games this season have been decided by one goal. They've also done a pretty good job recently at getting the puck on the net. Four times in the last six games, they've finished w/ 36 or more shots.
Remember that whatever home ice edge the Rangers would have otherwise enjoyed here is mitigated by playing outdoors at Citi Field. While they're 15-6-3 at MSG this season, they're just 5-7-2 on the road. I'm interested to see how this team performs once it starts playing more away from home. One thing we can expect is they will give up plenty of shots. So far this season, they are allowing an average of 38.5 shots per game on the road. That has to be the highest number in the entire league. They've also been allowing a high number of shots, period, of late and that's contributed to them losing three of four overall. Are the Rangers the better team here? Yes. But don't discount the fact that Buffalo has a relatively hot goaltender going today in Robin Lehner, who has a .935 save percentage his L4 starts. Just like the Sabres, 17 of the Rangers' 38 games this season have been decided by exactly one goal. 6* Puck Line Buffalo (+1.5)
|03-27-17||Avalanche +1.5 v. Flames||Top||2-4||Loss||-120||15 h 55 m||Show|
10* Puck Line Colorado (9:05 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I am taking the Avalanche +1.5. It's not often that you can get the +1.5 at this price. Then again, it's not often that there's a team as bad as Colorado has been this season. By every objective metric, the Avs are the worst team in the league. They have the fewest points (43), scored the fewest goals (145) and given up the most goals (249). Their goal differential of -104 is twice as bad as every other team in the league besides Arizona. But there have obviously been a number of one-goal losses along the way and it's somewhat unprecedented to find Calgary in this price range. I feel the Avs do no worse than a one-goal loss tonight.
The Flames have gotten hot down the stretch, winning 13 of their last 16 games. But despite that, they're still only fourth in the Pacific and have a goal differential of just +5 on the year. They are off an overtime win Saturday in St. Louis that strengthened their hold on the top Wild Card spot. With two big games looming against division foes San Jose and Los Angeles later in the week, it will be easy to overlook this game. This team has had the good fortune of going 13-4 SU in games that go past regulation this season. Remember just a tie at the end of regulation here and this play is a winner! Overall, the Flames are 20-8 SU in games decided by one goal this season. While that may not be an extraordinary percentage of games decided by that margin, it's still more than a third of their total games and their good fortune in them is due to eventually swing the other way. How about here?
The Avs have lost five straight and every loss has been by at least two goals. They've given up four or more in all five games. As bad as that all sounds, I still believe they have the proverbial "puncher's chance" tonight. Calgary is a pretty mediocre team to be in this price range and is only averaging 27.0 shots per game its last five contests. After just playing three road games in five days, might they be running on "empty" here? Again, this will be the Flames' final non-division game of the regular season and I smell "lookahead spot." 10* Puck Line Colorado (+1.5)
|03-17-17||Sabres +1.5 v. Ducks||Top||2-1||Win||100||22 h 36 m||Show|
8* Buffalo Puck Line (10:05 ET): Unfortunately, the Sabres wilted late last night in Los Angeles, dropping the game 2-0 to the Kings. The second goal allowed came w/ just 5:20 to play and it was a killer as I had them on the puck line. But we'll try the same thing again tonight in Anaheim. It was a scoreless tie going into the third period last night and here the Sabres won't have to deal w/ Jonathan Quick. Granted, they will have to face Anaheim's Jonathan Bernier, who has been hot in his own right (.952 save percentage L4 starts). But Bernier is likely to start coming "back down to Earth" sometime soon. This has arguably been his best stretch all season. Buffalo has scored only one goal in the last two games, but w/ the league's second best power play, I think they are due to break through tonight. They'll due no worse than a one-goal loss here.
Right now, Anaheim is in second place in the Pacific Division. That would mean home ice advantage in a first round playoff series, which would be huge because their opponent would likely be one of the two Alberta teams. The Ducks could still finish anywhere from second to fourth in the division, however, as only two points seperate them, Edmonton and Calgary. I was on them Wednesday here at home as they beat the Blues 2-1. That improved their home record to 23-8-3 this season, but they were actually outshot 27-22. Note that it was also a one-goal win, a result which would be just fine here. In fact, three of the Ducks' past four wins have come by a one goal margin. Five of their last six games overall have been decided by one goal.
Buffalo continues to give up way too many shots (36 or more in four straight games!), but the offense is due to get things going. Before last night, the team had not been shutout in a game since November 7th! Whomever starts in goal I believe will have an easier time than expected against a Ducks offense that ranks only 20th in goals scored. Again, the Sabres held the Kings w/o a goal for two periods last night and it was 1-0 game until only five minutes were left. 8* Puck Line Buffalo (+1.5)
|03-16-17||Sabres +1.5 v. Kings||Top||0-2||Loss||-150||11 h 14 m||Show|
8* Puck Line Buffalo (10:35 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I'm taking the Sabres +1.5. The Kings are fighting for their playoff lives currently, but not doing a very good job of it. They let me down Monday by dropping a key game to the Blues, 3-1, here at home. Even less forgiveable was the following night's 3-2 defeat at the hands of Arizona, also here on home ice. The team got a break last night w/ St. Louis losing, but they still trail them by four points for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Is the pressure getting to the Kings? Perhaps so. Therefore, I'll take Buffalo here w/ the added insurance that they can still lose by a goal. The Sabres are essentially playing w/ house money.
Buffalo is just 2-6-2 its last 10 games, but the schedule has been challenging. Also, five of those losses have come by the one goal margin. They took a 4-1 loss in San Jose two nights ago and were outshot by the Sharks, 41-23. That's not an ideal performance to base a play off of, but before that the team had scored at least three goals in its last four games. Something else certainly worth noting is that the Sabres have the top power play in the league! Earlier I mentioned the recent tough schedule that they've faced. This month alone, they've taken on Pittsburgh, Columbus (twice) and San Jose. The Kings will actually be a drop in class. The issues Buffalo has had in goal may not haunt them here as LA ranks just 25th in the league in goals scored.
Buffalo did take the season's first meeting with the Kings, 6-3. While there's somewhat of a significant discrepancy in terms of the number of shots both sides allow, I think Buffalo is going to get enough chances to do no worse than a one-goal loss here. Over the last five games, the Sabres have averaged 33.8 shots per game. 8* Puck Line Buffalo
|02-24-17||Oilers +1.5 v. Capitals||Top||1-2||Win||100||11 h 25 m||Show|
8* Puck Line Edmonton (9:05 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I am backing the Oilers at +1.5. Edmonton has improved a lot this year, so it's rare to be able to play them on the PL this way, at least at a reasonable price. Of course, the opponent has something to do with this as Washington comes in - pretty clearly - as the best team in the league. But while the Caps may be 7-1-1 this month and have only five regulation losses at home all year, there's been some good fortune along the way. Approximately half of their games (26 of 59) have been decided by one goal w/ most of those seeing them come out on the winning end. Such a result would be just fine were it to occur again tonight, but I also think the underdog Oilers could win here as well.
Edmonton has won four of five overall and now finds itself tied for second place in the Pacific Division. It has been an impressive leap up the standings this year for a team that finished w/ only 70 points last year. They've already surpassed that number in 2016-17 and we still have more than a month to go in the regular season. Key to their success has been one of the top road records in the league at 18-10-5. They just won at red hot Florida two nights ago, 4-3. They put 35 shots on goal in the win. This team also recently won at Chicago, so it's not as if they haven't proven they can beat the top teams on the road. Furthermore, the Oilers' record after scoring 4+ goals in their previous game is 11-5 this year. Very early in the season, they beat Washington 4-1 at home.
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby has actually struggled some of late w/ a poor .896 save percentage his L4 starts. The teams still won all four times, largely because of an offense which was able to tally 21 goals. I don't see that kind of production being matched tonight as the Oilers' Cam Talbot has been pretty hot of late w/ a .933 save percentage his L4 starts. The Oilers are a surprising 7th in goals allowed. The 4-3 win over Florida on Wednesday marked the 27th time this year that an Edmonton game was decided by just one goal. Their eight shootouts are tied for second most in the league. 8* Puck Line Edmonton (+1.5)
|02-07-17||Canucks +1.5 v. Predators||Top||2-4||Loss||-170||12 h 17 m||Show|
8* Puck Line Vancouver (8:05 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I'm taking the Canucks +1.5. I just played against Vancouver Saturday. It was an easy 6-3 win for me (and Minnesota). It was the Canucks' third straight loss, the last two coming since the All-Star Break. They've been outscored 13-4 during that time. As ugly as that sounds, getting an additional 1.5 from the oddsmakers here is a solid value against a mediocre outfit like Nashville. Sure enough, these two faced off twice in January and both times the game was decided by one goal. Only four goals total were scored in the two games combined. The Predators are off a shutout loss, 1-0 at home to Detroit on Saturday, which is hardly inspiring. Vancouver does no worse than a one-goal loss here.
While in third place in the Central Division, it's a distant third for the Preds. It's also a precarious one-point lead they have over the Blues, who won last night. I will concede that despite losing 1-0 to the Red Wings on Saturday, the Preds somewhat dominated. They finished w/ a 42-19 edge in shots. Recently, the team has done well in getting the puck on net. It was the third time in the last five games w/ at least 39 shots. But it also marked the first time in five games they didn't give up at least 30. The team has also played its fair share of one goal games recently. To be exact, they've been involved in 11 since the New Year. That's out of a possible 16 games. They've played 22 one-goal games overall this season.
Vancouver's road record, third worst in the league at 6-15-3, certainly won't inspire much confidence. But again, that's where the puck line comes in. Four of their last six road games have been decided by one goal. Overall, the Canucks have played even more one goal games than the Preds (25 total). Also note that Nashville has dropped three straight games to teams w/ losing records. Can a desperate Vancouver team at least end up tied at the end of regulation here? I think they can. Not only that, they could very well pull the outright upset. 8* Puck Line Vancouver (+1.5)
|01-12-17||Devils +1.5 v. Oilers||Top||2-3||Win||100||13 h 1 m||Show|
8* Puck Line New Jersey (9:05 ET): Please note that this is a Puck Line Play only where I'm taking the Devils +1.5. My how times have changed. It wasn't all that long ago (as in last year) where it would probably be next to impossible to get the +1.5 against the Oilers at a reasonably affordable price. But the team has somewhat taken off this year and is in playoff position. But they've also dropped two in a row and the reality of the matter is they've lost one more game than they've won this season. They've outscored opponents by only five goals over the course of the year and even on home ice, their record is just 9-8-2. New Jersey has lost three straight, all at home, including one to Edmonton. But it was a one goal difference out in East Rutherford (Oilers won 2-1 in OT). Again, I can see this one tied at the end of regulation or the Devils doing no worse than a one goal loss. They could also win!
The Oilers have given up five goals in B2B games, which makes laying the 1.5 problematic for them. For all the "improvement" this year, they are just 7-12 in games against the Eastern Conference. They did outshoot the Devils 43-20 last week, but I wouldn't look for a similar discrepancy tonight. Yes, they have 117 shots total the L3 games, but can they keep that up? Probably not at the pace the Devils like to play. Furthermore, goaltending has become a concern in Alberta w/ both Cam Talbot and Jonas Gustavsson posting sub-.900 save percentages thier last four starts each. Consider that the last time the Oilers won a game by more than one goal was 12.29 and seven of their last eight victories have come by the one goal margin. That streak stretched all the way back to December 3rd. Half (nine) of their L18 games have been tied at the end of regulation.
No team in the league has gotten stuck w/ the "loser's point" more than New Jersey has. They have lost eight times in either OT or a shootout. Over one-third of their games total (15 of 42) have gone past regulation. They were shutout Monday (by Florida), but do own a winning record against teams with losing records. Goaltender Corey Schneider owns a .933 save percentage his L4 starts. 8* Puck Line New Jersey (+1.5)
|12-15-16||Coyotes +1.5 v. Maple Leafs||Top||3-2||Win||100||11 h 9 m||Show|
8* Puck Line Arizona (7:35 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I am taking the Coyotes +1.5. Going against the Maple Leafs w/ an additional 1.5 goals "in our pocket" is not w/o precedent, but the chance to do so at this price has been fairly rare given the franchise's struggles the last several seasons. But with rookie Auston Matthews now in the fold, perception is that this team is improved. Maybe that's true, but the results say "not by much" as the Leafs' 28 points are more than only four other teams league-wide. Exactly half of the team's games this year (14 of 28) have been decided by one goal (lost 11 of those 14 games!), one of them coming here at home against San Jose (3-2 in a shootout) Tuesday. Considering the number of one-goal games and the fact the team is off a tough loss, I'd say they make for prime fade material tonight via the PL.
Now to get the PL at this price, our 'play on' team can hardly be a "world-beater." Sure enough, Arizona is one of those four teams w/ fewer points than the Leafs right now. But the difference (three) is somewhat negligible. The 'Yotes are 29th in my own power rankings (ahead of only the Avs), yet are off a 4-1 win over Detroit on Tuesday. Those were a much needed two points after suffering the embarrassment of falling 7-0 at Pittsburgh the previous night. But being on the wrong end of a rout such as that has been fairly uncommon for this team. Of their 19 losses this season, 11 have been by the one-goal margin. In fact, the 'Yotes have played more one-goal games (18) than Toronto has.
I think coming in w/ an added day of rest is going to be big for the visitors here. As mentioned above, Toronto had to go to a shootout vs. San Jose in their last game (blew 2-goal lead in third period) and lost. That can be deflating, especially to a young team like the Leafs that has now dropped five of its last six games overall. Furthermore, Arizona has swept the season series each of the last two years, including a pair of one-goal victories in 2015. 'Yotes goaltender Mike Smith has been sharp of late w/ a .943 save percentage his L4 starts. The team hasn't won B2B games since sweeping a home and home from Edmonton on Thanksgiving Weekend, but they'll do no worse here than a one goal loss. 8* Arizona +1.5
|11-29-16||Coyotes +1.5 v. Sharks||Top||1-2||Win||100||21 h 32 m||Show|
8* Puck Line Arizona (10:05 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only were I am taking the Coyotes +1.5. The 'Yotes have actually B2B games, both over Edmonton, by one goal. They also hold a recent one-goal victory over tonight's opponent, the Sharks, making it three one-goal wins in the last four games. Not to be outdone, six of San Jose's last seven games have been decided by one goal, including all four losses. They fell 3-2 at home to Anaheim on Saturday, following a 3-2 win over the Islanders on Friday. With all of these recent one-goal games, on both sides, playing the puck line here seems to be a logical move.
The last three meetings between these Pacific Division rivals have all stayed Under, including two surprising Coyotes wins so far in 2016. Both games were 3-2 finals, yet saw Arizona outshot significantly. They actually allowed 86 total shots to the Sharks, so it's somewhat miraculous that they managed to go 2-0. The last one went into overtime. Overall, four of the 'Yotes' last six games have gone into OT, which is all we need here. Also, 14 of their 20 games this season have been decided by a one goal margin! Again, a one-goal game either way works to our benefit tonight. In the same vein, 13 of the Sharks' 22 games this year have been decided by one goal.
In their last six road games, Arizona has suffered just one regulation loss. Goaltender Mike Smith is having a pretty good season and has been red hot of late w/ a .935 save percentage his L4 starts. He's also played well in the past against San Jose, turning in a 2.09 goals against average, .946 save percentage and two shutouts. It was a season-high 43 saves that he made the last time these teams met and he made 41 more saves Sunday vs. Edmonton. The Sharks have not won a game by more than one goal in three weeks! 8* Puck Line Arizona +1.5
|10-21-16||Coyotes +1.5 v. Islanders||Top||2-3||Win||100||8 h 15 m||Show|
8* Puck Line Arizona (7:05 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I am taking the Coyotes +1.5. The Yotes opened their season w/ a 4-3 win on home ice over Philadelphia. But since embarking on what will be a six-game East Coast swing, things have not gone so well. They've dropped the first two games on the trip, at Ottawa and Montreal, giving up 12 goals in the process. Now they return Stateside to take on an Islanders club that has had its own set of issues out of the box. You may have noticed that it took awhile for the oddsmakers to act here as there was no line until this morning. That's because it took awhile for Arizona to decide who would be starting between the pipes. Turns out that honor falls to Luis Domingue.
It has not been a good start to the season for Domingue as he was pulled early last night in Montreal after giving up four goals on just 19 shots. That came on the heels of a poor relief effort in the Ottawa game where he allowed three goals on just 11 shots in less than 12 minutes of ice time. A woeful .767 save percentage won't keep you in this league for long, but I expect the young goaltender to bounce back tonight. In last year's rookie season, he looked good at time, especially in January where he posted six wins, including a shutout, and a 2.20 GAA. That played a major role in the club signing him to a two-year deal. Domingue's first career shutout, ironically, came at the Islanders' expense. It was a 1-0 win in the desert last December.
You may think that the Coyotes are at a big disadvantage here playing w/o rest, but take note of the fact that NY's last opponent (San Jose) also came to Brooklyn w/o rest and wound up pulling out a 3-2 victory. That was after the Sharks had given up seven goals the previous night. It was the Isles that looked flat in that one as they managed only four shots on goal in the first period and 23 total. This is a team that has scored only nine goals in four games, so getting an additional 1.5 to go against them seems like a nice luxury to have. 8* Puck Line Arizona (+1.5)
|10-20-16||Maple Leafs +1.5 v. Wild||Top||2-3||Win||100||19 h 57 m||Show|
6* Puck Line Toronto (8:05 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I am taking the Maple Leafs +1.5. As you probably know, the Leafs have been down in the proverbial dumps the L2 seasons. Last year's 69-point finish had them last in the league. But that gave them the opportunity to select Auston Matthews and already we're starting to see signs of improvement. Much of that is attributable to Matthews himself as the rookie scored four goals on Opening Night. (Granted, the team still lost 5-4 in OT). It was another overtime loss last night, this one in Winnipeg, a game where I easily cashed the Over. The final score there was also 5-4. Given the Leafs have scored exactly four goals in every game and have yet to be beaten in regulation, I feel the PL is a solid choice here.
Minnesota opened its year by losing 3-2 at St. Louis. They've since posted B2B wins here at home, the most recent coming by a 6-3 margin over the Quick-less Kings Tuesday night. The other win was of the one-goal variety (4-3) against Winnipeg on Saturday. That was the only game of the three that the Wild have had the edge in shots as they actually gave up 30 to the Kings two nights ago. While the penalty kill is a perfect 13 for 13 so far, the power play is just 2 for 13. Though Wild fans will point to a five-game winning streak over the Leafs as some sort of sign of dominance, note that four of those games were decided by a one-goal margin! Goaltender Devan Dubnyk hasn't been that impressive yet, allowing six goals on 48 shots for an .875 save percentage. He allowed four goals on just 17 shots in his last start.
Toronto actually led Winnipeg 4-0 last night. So while it would be easy to write them off in this second game of a back to back, I feel this young team will be quite hungry to take the ice tonight. Matthews may have only one point (an assist last night) in the L2 games, but given the brilliance that we saw in that opening game, I wouldn't expect him to be down for long. Again, both losses this season have come in OT and such a scenario would be fine here. The Leafs are doing a great job at getting the puck on net (34 shots/game). In goal, we're likely to see Jhonas Enroth for the first time this season. I see the Leafs doing no worse than a one-goal loss here. 6* Puck Line Toronto (+1.5).
|05-13-16||Lightning +1.5 v. Penguins||Top||3-1||Win||100||20 h 20 m||Show|
6* Puck Line Tampa Bay (8:05 ET): Please note that this is a selection on the Puck Line where I am taking the Lightning +1.5. I haven't made too many PL selections thus far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but given the fact that TB beat Pittsburgh all three times in the regular season, such a move is warranted here. Not only did they beat the Pens all three times, but they really dominated the season series, outscoring them 15-9 even though Pittsburgh actually had the edge in shots in all three games. For all the talk about the Penguins being the hottest team in the league right now (and I admit that is justified), the Lightning have the better playoff record and are giving up just 1.9 goals per game.
I was on Tampa Bay in three of their four wins in the series vs. the Islanders, only laying off in the series clincher. Goaltender Ben Bishop, who is going to be the key to this series for them, posted a .948 save percentage in the four wins and is now up to .937 in the playoffs. I realize that we've all been somewhat underestimating rookie Matt Murray in this postseason run for the Penguins, but the Lightning should have the clear edge between the pipes in this series. Bishop has allowed more than two goals in only three of his past 12 playoff starts. He stopped 64 of 69 shots in two regular season meetings vs. Pittsburgh. Given the fact that both teams rank in the top six in goals allowed and top seven on the penalty kill, this should be a low-scoring series. I know we can count on Bishop, so the +1.5 is a nice luxury to have.
This is, by far, the longest odds we've seen on Tampa Bay for any game in the playoffs. In fact, it's the first time they've been listed at plus money. So there is some substantial value here and that opens up the opportunity for the PL to come into play. Note that all four of Pittsburgh's wins in the Washington series came by exactly one goal and five of the six games in that series were decided by that very margin. When taking the ice w/ three or more days rest this year, the Lightning are a strong 7-1. Half of their playoff games have been decided by exactly one goal, with them winning all five. They will do no worse than a one-goal loss here. 6* Puck Line Tampa Bay (+1.5)