|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|03-10-20||Penguins -174 v. Devils||Top||5-2||Win||100||12 h 54 m||Show|
7* Pittsburgh (7:08 ET): Thanks to the Capitals losing last night, the Penguins stayed within six points of the division lead. But the news isn’t all good in the Steel City. Passed by the in-state rival Flyers, the Pens are now in third in the Metro and have dropped B2B games. Both losses came at home over the weekend, 5-2 to the Caps and 6-2 to the Hurricanes. While they have to hit the road tonight, at least they’ll be facing the last place Devils, who don’t present the same kind of challenges compared to the L2 opponents.
The Penguins’ only two wins in their last 10 games came against Ottawa and Buffalo, two teams that are out of contention just like New Jersey is. While Devils do come into Tuesday having scored a total of 10 goals in B2B wins, they still have their fair share of issues. They are just 5-9 SU this season following a win by 2+ goals. They beat the Rangers Saturday by a score of 6-4. They are 12-19 SU after giving up 4+ goals in their previous game.
Despite being division rivals, these teams haven’t met since November. The Penguins took the last meeting by a score of 4-1. Despite the money line being somewhat inflated here, I still think it’s a good price on the favorite, given the situation. New Jersey has simply not demonstrated an ability to play consistently well over any sustained period of time. 7* Pittsburgh
|03-09-20||Avalanche -133 v. Kings||Top||1-3||Loss||-133||11 h 30 m||Show|
8* Colorado (10:35 ET): Going by goal differential, which I believe is a far better predictor of future outcomes than a team’s actual won-loss record, the Avalanche are “head and shoulders” the best team in the Western Conference this season. They’ve outscored their opposition by 47 goals this season. The only other team in the conference with a differential higher than +15 is the one the Avs are chasing in the Central Division (St. Louis), who is at +31. Keep this in mind when it comes time to handicap the playoffs.
Los Angeles has picked a curious time to play its best hockey of the season. They’ve won a season-high five straight including a shocking 7-3 win over Minnesota on Saturday. But the Kings are still a last place club and shouldn’t be taken all that seriously. They are certainly not in Colorado’s class and I’m expecting the home team to get a serious “reality check” tonight.
The Avs just won here in LA a few weeks ago (2-1), avenging a 3-1 loss they suffered in Denver the week prior. Will it really be a season sweep by the road team? Yes. The Avalanche have dominated sub-.500 foes, going 11-2 SU in such games in the second half of the season. They just won in San Jose last night and have 30 more points than the Kings on the year. 8* Colorado
|03-09-20||Golden Knights v. Oilers -114||Top||3-2||Loss||-114||13 h 22 m||Show|
10* Edmonton (9:05 ET): It’s been a topsy-turvy race all season in the NHL’s Pacific Division, which Vegas now leads on the strength of a 10-2 run in their L12 games. But the lead is still only two points over Edmonton, which is where the Golden Knights will be tonight. They won in Calgary last night, 5-3, a nice rebound from their 4-0 loss in Winnipeg two days prior. But pulling off an “Alberta sweep” should prove to be too difficult as the Knights have won here only one time in franchise history. This is their first visit of the season.
The Oilers come into tonight’s showdown having won four of five. They easily defeated Columbus here at home Friday by a score of 4-1. This is a team that’s had to play six of its last eight games on the road. Tonight is the first time they’ve gotten to play two in a row at home since 2/19-2/21. It’s also a revenge spot as they lost 3-0 out in Vegas on 2/26. Early in the season, Edmonton did go out to Sin City and record a 4-2 victory.
While you’ve got to tip your cap to the way Vegas has played lately, the Oilers have been every bit as hot recently. Connor McDavid has 15 points in the eight games since he returned from injury. Goaltender Mikko Koskinen made 45 saves in the win over Columbus. If there was a time where the Golden Knights were likely to “slip up,” it would be here as they’re in the second night of a back to back and facing a revenge-minded team. It’s been over a month since Vegas last won B2B road games. 10* Edmonton
|03-08-20||Lightning v. Red Wings UNDER 6||Top||4-5||Loss||-120||10 h 36 m||Show|
10* Under Lightning/Red Wings (5:05 ET): A franchise-record 11-game win streak took the Lightning nearly to the top of the Atlantic Division. But they quickly regressed after that, losing five of their next seven games. Even a 5-3 win over the first place Bruins yesterday leaves TB seven points back of the division lead. But they have a golden opportunity to further trim that deficit as they face the worst team in the league today. They have beaten the Red Wings 16 straight times in the regular season.
I can’t think of a single metric that doesn’t consider Detroit the worst team in the league. They have the fewest points (37), worst goal differential (-120), scored the fewest goals (138) and given up the most (258). In most cases, they aren’t even close to the second worst team. While they did beat Chicago 2-1 on Friday, the Wings had lost six in a row prior to that as well as 10 of their previous 11 games. Obviously, oddsmakers are keenly aware of the mismatch that exists here and the money line is basically “unplayable.”
But I think the total offers tremendous value this afternoon. I already mentioned that Detroit is by far the league’s lowest scoring team. In 9 of their last 11 games, they’ve been held to two goals or less. The Lightning see their goals per game average drop on the road, so I wouldn’t look for a repeat of yesterday when they put five on the board. Note that one of those came on an empty net. The Under is also 7-1 the L8 times the Lightning have played in the second game of a back to back. 10* Under Lightning/Red Wings
|03-07-20||Sabres +1.5 v. Flyers||Top||1-3||Loss||-130||9 h 45 m||Show|
8* Puck Line Buffalo (7:05 ET): Please note that this is a Puck Line play where I am backing the Sabres at +1.5. There is obviously an inherent danger in playing against the hottest team in the league. The Flyers have won eight in a row to tie the Capitals at the top of the Metro. You have to hand it to them. All but one of those eight victories have come in regulation and by multiple goals. Losers of five straight, Buffalo hardly seems like the team that would end Philly’s win streak. But I see them doing no worse than a one-goal loss tonight.
While the Flyers are at the apex of their season, the Sabres are at their nadir. This is the longest stretch they’ve gone w/o gathering at least one point in four years. Star Jack Eichel has zero points in his last six games, the longest stretch of his five-year career w/o a point. While things appear to be one-sided here, I like the insurance of the added 1.5 goals. 8* Puck Line Buffalo (+1.5)
|03-07-20||Predators v. Stars -143||Top||1-0||Loss||-143||21 h 59 m||Show|
10* Dallas (2:05 ET): The Stars appeared poised to make it a three-horse race (w/ St. Louis & Colorado) in the Central Division, but a four-game losing streak has not only knocked them off the pace but also slimmed their lead for third place. This afternoon sees them welcoming in Nashville for a critical game as the Predators are just trying to break into the playoff field as they are currently two points back of the Wild Card. These teams just met in Music City Thursday with the Preds turning in a 2-0 shutout.
One thing the Stars do very well is not give up many goals. In fact, only one other team (Boston) has given up fewer on the season. The problem has been scoring goals as the Stars actually rank very close to the bottom of the league (26th) in that regard. That issue certainly reared its ugly head Thursday in Nashville where they were blanked for the fifth time this season. But three of the previous four games saw them score at least three times.
Both goals allowed on Thursday came via the power play. Penalty killing has been an issue of late for the Stars as they’ve allowed NINE PP goals in their L9 games. However, they’re still doing an excellent job 5 on 5 and should be particularly stingy here as they give up just 2.2 goals per game on home ice. Nashville had dropped three in a row itself before the win Thursday and it’s been almost a month since they won on the road. I think this is where the Stars circle the proverbial wagon. 10* Dallas
|03-06-20||Avalanche v. Canucks +1.5||Top||3-6||Win||100||15 h 51 m||Show|
6* Puck Line Vancouver (10:05 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I am backing Vancouver +1.5 goals. The Canucks are desperate right now, having lost four straight. Despite this, the playoffs very much remain in reach as they are still tied for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. They’ve generally been pretty consistent at home (where they’re 20-8-4 SU) and I don’t see them doing any worse than a one-goal loss tonight.
Colorado is a team I’ll likely be high on come playoff time. They have the best goal differential in the Western Conference (+49) and recently put together a seven-game win streak. But they’re off a loss here and a rather stunning one at that as they fell as -410 home favorites to Anaheim on Wednesday. That was an overtime game, so the Avs still got a point, extending their point spread to nine games.
While the Canucks have been strong at home, the Avs have admittedly been just as strong on the road (23-9-2). Colorado brings a franchise record 9-game road win streak to Vancouver tonight, so something will have to give. Interesting is that six of the Avs’ last seven wins have been by one goal. They are dealing with many injuries right now and eventually that will catch up with them. I give the Canucks a great shot at taking this game. 6* Puck Line Vancouver (+1.5)
|03-05-20||Capitals -131 v. Rangers||Top||5-6||Loss||-131||10 h 47 m||Show|
9* Washington (7:05 ET): The division leading Capitals figured they’d be getting a tough challenge from the Penguins at this point of the season. Sure enough, the Pens are only four points back of them in the Metro standings. But Philadelphia is even closer, now just one point back after winning seven in a row. So for Washington, tonight’s game is hugely important as they look to maintain first place. They face a Rangers team that has cooled off all of a sudden w/ three straight losses, the last two coming at home.
New York is still stuck in 7th place in the Metro, which is where they’ve been most of the season. They are three points out of the Wild Card, but would also need to jump Carolina. They’d won 9 of 10, but then ran into the aforementioned Flyers, who swept them in a home and home. Then came a 3-1 loss to St. Louis on Tuesday. Making matters worse is the fact the Rangers lost Chris Krieder for 4-6 weeks over the weekend.
Despite being division rivals, these teams haven’t played since November. That’s good for the Rangers because they’ve lost 8 of the last 10 head to head meetings. They did win the last one, but Washington figures to be a lot more desperate here after they too fell victim to the Flyers last night. Luckily, the Caps are 6-3 SU in the second night of a back to back and 16-5 SU after allowing 4+ goals in the previous game (it was a 5-2 loss last night). 9* Washington
|03-05-20||Canadiens v. Lightning -180||Top||0-4||Win||100||10 h 47 m||Show|
7* Tampa Bay (7:05 ET): For much of the 1st half of the season, I told you Tampa Bay was a “sleeping giant.” Their YTD goal differential has always been one of the league’s best this year, plus let us not forget this team had the best regular season in the history of the league a year ago. Sure enough, right after the All-Star Break, the Lightning ripped off a franchise-best 11-game win streak that propelled them near the top of the league standings. Unfortunately though, they’ve since dropped five of six and have fallen nine points back of the first place Bruins, who beat them 2-1 on Tuesday.
Tonight seems like a safe bet for the Lightning to bounce back though as they host Montreal. While the Canadiens are flirting with playoff contention, they remain seven points back of where they need to be. Back to back wins over teams that they are chasing (Carolina, Islanders) have definitely helped the Habs’ cause, but they look to be overmatched here against a team that has beaten them 9 of the last 11 meetings.
The Lightning are 3 for 3 in head to head meetings w/ the Habs this season and two of those wins came in Montreal. The Habs have lost five straight times here in TB where the Lightning are 21-10-2 SU and averaging nearly 4.0 goals per game. It’s not just Montreal, but the entire Atlantic Division that the Lightning have dominated this year. They are 16-4 SU in division games, winning by a solid 1.3 gpg average. They are also 5-1 SU this season following a game in which they scored 1 goal or less. 7* Tampa Bay
|03-03-20||Ducks +1.5 v. Blackhawks||Top||2-6||Loss||-157||13 h 20 m||Show|
8* Puck Line Anaheim (8:38 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only where I am taking the +1.5. The Ducks failed to show up Sunday in a 3-0 loss to New Jersey. That was their second time being shutout at home in the L5 games. What made Sunday’s loss all the more disconcerting is that the Devils had just played the night before and lost in overtime. Also, NJ isn’t very good. The Ducks didn’t bounce back from their last shutout loss to win. But they did only lose by one goal. I’m willing to say they can at least do that again this time and I’ll be taking the puck line (+1.5).
Chicago has won two straight. But the last win (in Florida) did require a shootout. I’ll give them credit for upsetting Tampa Bay as a +195 ML dog the game prior. But before that, they’d lost 8 of 10 w/ one of the wins coming by a single goal. So that means in 10 of the last 12 games they have not won by more than one goal. Hardly inspiring. Keep in mind that this is a last place team as well. Furthermore, the Blackhawks have posted just one win streak of three games or longer in the new year. They are just 1-5 SU after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game. (They won 3-2 at Florida). 8* Puck Line Anaheim
|03-02-20||Oilers v. Predators -127||Top||8-3||Loss||-127||13 h 60 m||Show|
10* Nashville (8:05 ET): From here on out, almost every game pitting Western Conference teams against one another will have some sort of bearing on the playoff picture. Take this one, for example. Edmonton is in second place in the Pacific Division, but only four points ahead of the ninth place team in the Conference. Nashville is one of three teams tied for the final Wild Card spot. I think the sense of desperation is going to be greater here for the Predators, who are at home.
The Preds did just drop a game on home ice Saturday, but that was to a very good Colorado club that I consider to be the best team in all of the Western Conference. Before losing that game, Nashville had won three straight here at Bridgestone Arena. Their overall home record this season is a little disappointing, but they’ve played some of their best hockey all season recently in a 10-5-1 SU stretch. Also, take this for what it’s worth - the Preds are 40-12 SU their L52 Monday games. They seem to know how to start the week off right!
Edmonton comes in off a 3-2 win over Winnipeg Sat night, but that was at home and prior to it, they’d dropped 4 of 5 including road losses to Anaheim and Vegas. This team is just 7-15 SU off its L22 wins. Prior to losing a couple head to head matchups earlier this season, Nashville definitely had the Oilers number, winning 14 of the previous 15 meetings. 10* Nashville
|03-01-20||Devils v. Ducks -140||Top||3-0||Loss||-140||13 h 36 m||Show|
8* Anaheim (8:05 ET): This is not a good time to be backing New Jersey as the last place team from the Metro will be playing its third road game in four nights as well as the second game of a back to back. Tonight marks the end of the dreaded “Southern California swing” as the Devils have previously lost in San Jose and Los Angeles and now head to Anaheim. The Ducks await where they’ll be fresh off two consecutive wins, the last one coming against Pittsburgh. I haven’t backed Anaheim much this season, but this is a great spot to do so.
The Ducks, like the Devils, won’t be making the playoffs this season. They are tied with the Sharks for 6th in the Pacific at 60 points. But it’s important to note that the team we’re getting on the ice tonight doesn’t necessarily resemble the one we’ve seen for the balance of the season. This was an active team at the trade deadline with seven trades made in total, six of them on Monday. The newcomers are paying dividends so far as they led the way in Friday’s upset of Pittsburgh.
Making the situation even worse for New Jersey is the fact last night’s game went into overtime. It was their second straight OT loss, so you have to wonder how much they have left in the tank for this one. Despite beating Anaheim (at home) back in December, the Devils have lost 9 of the last 12 head to head meetings. The new-look Ducks get their revenge here as they take care of a NJ club that is just 1-5 SU if they went to OT the previous day. 8* Anaheim
|03-01-20||Capitals -125 v. Wild||Top||4-3||Win||100||13 h 36 m||Show|
10* Washington (8:05 ET): The Capitals have gotten a huge break w/ their chief rival (Pittsburgh) losing six in a row. Their next closest competition is now actually the Flyers, who are three points behind. That’s obviously still a really tight margin and Thursday’s 3-0 loss in Winnipeg did the Caps no favors. But in the previous two games, they scored a total of nine goals. While those were both at home, there’s actually zero dropoff in terms of goals scored at home vs. on the road for this club.
Minnesota is also off a shutout in its last game, though theirs was a dominant 5-0 win over Columbus. It was the Wild’s third straight victory as they are trying just to get into the playoffs over in the Western Conference. The way things stand now, they are one point back of a three-way tie for the final Wild Card. The current stretch is among the very best we’ve seen all season from them, but I’m not convinced it can be sustained. They’ve recently beaten a Columbus team that is really struggling - twice - and Detroit who is the worst team in the league. 10* Washington
|02-29-20||Blackhawks v. Panthers -153||Top||3-2||Loss||-153||11 h 16 m||Show|
10* Florida (6:05 ET): This is an incredibly important game for the Panthers. They just lost to Toronto on Thursday (5-3 here at home), leaving them four points back of third place in the Atlantic. Of course, the other way the Panthers can make the playoffs is the Wild Card. But in that race, they are competing with a litany of teams from the Metro. While also four points back of the WC, Florida would need to jump THREE teams to get that final spot. Needless to say, getting the two points tonight is a virtual “must.”
Florida’s opponent Saturday is in last place in its division. That would be Chicago, over in the Central. The Blackhawks did pull off a “real stunner” the other night when they went to Tampa Bay and prevailed 5-2 as a +195 ML underdog. But don’t let that one win confuse you. The Blackhawks have still won just 3 of their previous 12 games and it’s been over a month since they last posted B2B victories.
In that loss to Toronto on Thursday, the Panthers blew a 2-goal lead. Given the stakes that were involved, that has to be terribly disappointing. While there’s been little in the way of home ice advantage here in Sunrise, the Panthers do average a healthy 3.6 goals per game here. The fact Florida has lost all five home games since the All-Star Break will have them supremely motivated here. 10* Florida
|02-28-20||Rangers v. Flyers -159||Top||2-5||Win||100||12 h 51 m||Show|
10* Philadelphia (7:05 ET): If you presume that both Washington and Pittsburgh are “locks” to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs (probably true), then that means only one other team from the Metro is guaranteed a postseason spot. Now at least two more are likely to make it, but this is a crowded field with five teams currently separated by five points. Philadelphia currently sits in the coveted third place position in the division (behind Wash & Pit) and is actually just one point out of second place. They host the 7th place Rangers in an all-important matchup Friday.
The Flyers have won four straight to vault into third. But they are actually NOT the hottest team in the division right now, the Rangers are. NY has won five straight (and 9 of 10), but as you can see it hasn’t done them much good as they haven’t moved up in the standings at all. That tells you that they really hadn’t been a great team prior. The Flyers have definitely been more consistent this year.
Several key advantages exist for Philly tonight. One is that the Rangers played in Montreal last night. This will be NY’s third road game in four nights. The Flyers have been one of the league’s best home teams this year, going 22-5-4. That’s the fewest number of home losses in the league. They are also 7-2 SU the L9 head to head meetings w/ the Rangers including 5-1 win in the only previous meeting this season. 10* Philadelphia
|02-27-20||Stars v. Bruins OVER 5||Top||3-4||Win||100||13 h 46 m||Show|
10* Over Stars/Bruins (7:35 ET): I’ve been having a lot of success betting NHL totals recently as Tuesday’s Over pick (CHI-STL) saw a combined 11 goals scored while last night’s 10* Total of the Week (and Under) ended up as a 3-0 shutout (Vegas over Edmonton). Of course, there was also last Friday’s 10* Total of the Month on Under Nashville-Chicago, which saw the teams enter overtime tied at 1-1. Tonight there looks to be a high-scoring game on the horizon between Dallas and Boston. Take the Over in this one.
Boston has led the Atlantic Division basically the entire season. But with Tampa Bay catching fire over the last month or so, the race for 1st place (and probably the President’s Trophy as well) has gotten a lot tighter. The Bruins’ lead is down to five points and was even tighter recently. They’ve lost B2B games, but have been fortunate that the Lightning have lost three straight. The Bruins are very impressive at home w/ just three regulation losses here all season. They average 3.4 goals per game on home ice.
Note how low the total is here. That’s because these are the two top teams in terms of fewest goals allowed in the league. Still, that doesn’t mean the # should be this low. For instance, Boston has given up 14 goals in just the last two games including a stunning NINE in a loss to Vancouver last Saturday. Dallas just scored four goals by itself in its last game (at Carolina) but also gave up five in a recent loss to St. Louis. Both sides are capable of “going off” offensively and it’s not often you get an O/U line of 5.0 anymore. 10* Over Stars/Bruins
|02-26-20||Oilers v. Golden Knights UNDER 6.5||Top||0-3||Win||100||27 h 9 m||Show|
10* Under Oilers/Golden Knights (10:38 ET): It's a really tight race at the top of the Pacific Division right now. Vegas, who has won six in a row, currently leads with 76 points. But both Vancouver and Edmonton are only two points behind. Tonight, the Golden Knights host one of those teams (Edmonton) in a very important matchup. But who wins here is of little importance to me as I see a total that’s been set too high for such a high-stakes battle.
The offense has come alive for Vegas during this six-game win streak as they’ve scored at least 5 times in four of the six games. That includes each of the last three with a 6-5 win over Anaheim on Sunday (in OT) being the most recent decision. Tonight is the start of what looks to be a very favorable homestand for the Golden Knights. But we don’t see the recent level of goal scoring continuing. Also, the team is 5-1 Under the previous six times they’ve been off a game where they allowed 5+ goals.
Edmonton lost 4-3 last night in Anaheim, also an overtime game, which would seemingly put them at a disadvantage tonight. But note the Oilers are a perfect 6-0 this season playing in the second night of a back to back. However, over a longer term, they are just 4-10 SU after going to OT the previous day. Last night’s game was 3-2 late in the 3rd period (Edmonton trailed) so it easily could have stayed Under. This one will as that’s how four of the five all-time meetings in Vegas have gone. 10* Under Oilers/Golden Knights
|02-25-20||Blackhawks v. Blues OVER 6||Top||5-6||Win||100||12 h 26 m||Show|
10* Over Blackhawks/Blues (8:05 ET): The last place and first place teams in the Central meet in an old Norris Division rivalry matchup. St. Louis, after losing five in a row, has circled the wagons to win its last four games while conceding just two goals! Chicago, as you’d expect from a last place club, has dropped three of four and scored just eight goals in the process. But I believe this game will be higher scoring than expected.
|02-25-20||Jets v. Capitals -190||Top||3-4||Win||100||11 h 26 m||Show|
7* Washington (7:05 ET): After briefly falling out of first place in the Metro, the Capitals have climbed their way back to the top, thanks to a three-game losing streak by Pittsburgh. But it’s still only a two-point edge over the Pens, meaning tonight’s home game vs. Winnipeg is quite critical. Maybe not as critical as Sunday’s 5-3 win here over Pittsburgh, but the Caps do need this one. Fortunately for them, this will be the Jets’ third road game in four nights.
Winnipeg is just trying to get into the postseason field. Right now they find themselves one point behind the two Wild Card teams, Calgary and Arizona, who are in the other division. The Jets’ chances of finishing third in their own division are rather small at this point. So it’s going to have to be the Wild Card, if they are to make it into the playoffs. But losses at Philadelphia and Buffalo over the weekend certainly didn’t help. The Jets managed only three goals in the two losses, a far cry from the number they scored (11) in the previous two contests.
While Washington did lose four in a row before beating Pittsburgh Sunday, I’m quite confident they get the job done here. They remain one of the elite teams in the league and this just isn’t a great spot for Winnipeg to pull an upset. Not only are the Jets just 1-10 SU in the third game of a “3 (games) in 4 nights situation,” but they are also 2-9 SU their L11 times as a ML dog. 7* Washington
|02-23-20||Blackhawks v. Stars OVER 5.5||Top||1-2||Loss||-100||7 h 42 m||Show|
10* Over Blackhawks/Stars (3:00 ET): On Friday, I won by *10* Total of the Month as the Blackhawks’ game vs. the Predators easily stayed Under the number. It was a 1-1 game entering OT (total was 6.5), which Chicago would go onto win. I followed that up by cashing the Preds (in another OT game) last night. Now we go back to the Blackhawks, who are in Dallas Sunday afternoon. Look for this to be a higher scoring game than their last one.
Yes, I say that knowing full well that the Stars are among the stingiest teams in the league, particularly on home ice. But they just got tagged for five goals by St. Louis in a loss Friday. The Over is 3-0-1 in Dallas’ previous four games w/ them also allowing 4 goals in a loss at Ottawa during that stretch.
For Chicago, the Over is 13-3 the L16 times they’ve been off a game where they scored two goals or less. While they haven’t done a ton of scoring recently, the Blackhawks did have a game at Calgary on 2.15 where they found the back of the net EIGHT times. They also gave up six goals in a loss to the Rangers earlier this week. 10* Over Blackhawks/Stars
|02-22-20||Blue Jackets v. Predators -144||Top||3-4||Win||100||14 h 35 m||Show|
8* Nashville (8:05 ET): Columbus might still technically have a hold on the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, but it’s a tenuous one at best and they are sinking fast with a seven-game losing streak. Now four of those Blue Jackets’ losses have taken place after regulation has ended, the most recent being Thursday’s OT loss at home vs. Philly, which was really crucial as it allowed the Flyers to move two points up on them in the standings. My view is that you simply can’t back this club right now.
Nashville is also fighting for its playoff life. They are two points back of the Wild Card over in the Western Conference, but competing against quite a number of teams (same as C-bus in the East). The Predators, like the Blue Jackets, aren’t exactly in top form coming into Saturday. They’ve lost two straight, scoring just one goal against both Carolina and Chicago. Last night’s 2-1 loss in the Windy City was my 10* Total of the Month (Under). That had more to do w/ the Blackhawks’ recent scoring slump though. It did surprise me that the Preds were able to score only one goal in an OT loss.
At home, the Preds’ gpg average actually declines greatly. But there are three things working in their favor for this game. One is that they also allow a far fewer number of goals per game at home. Two is that the Bridgestone Arena has been Columbus’ least favorite place to visit through the years as their all-time record here is a pathetic 9-35 SU! Lastly, over the L5 games, the Blue Jackets have allowed a total of 20 goals. 8* Nashville
|02-21-20||Predators v. Blackhawks UNDER 6.5||Top||1-2||Win||100||23 h 15 m||Show|
10* Under Predators/Blackhawks (8:35 ET): Chicago has just one win in its last eight games and it saw them score 8 times (at Calgary). Other than that though, they haven’t topped 3 goals in any game since before the All-Star Break. As a result of their recent losing ways, the Blackhawks currently reside in the basement of the Central Division w/ just 60 points. While that’s actually just nine points back of the Wild Card, it would likely take something miraculous for the ‘Hawks to make the playoffs given the number of teams they’d need to jump.
Nashville is in a slightly better position right now w/ 65 points. They’d won three in a row, including a home & home sweep of St. Louis, before dropping a 4-1 decision to Carolina on Tuesday. That was at home. For the most part, Predators’ road games have been pretty high scoring with the Over going 20-10 and them averaging 3.5 gpg while conceding 3.4. But because of those numbers, we’re getting a high total to work with here.
Seven of the Preds’ last nine games have stayed Under including three of five on the road. The key is that both games that had totals of 6.5 stayed Under. Chicago probably isn’t going to score many goals tonight given its recent form. It then becomes a question of holding Nashville’s offense in check. The Rangers scored six times on the Blackhawks Wednesday night. It was the 4th time this season Chicago allowed 6+ goals in a game. After the previous three, they’ve responded by allowing just eight total. Nashville also gets key defenseman Ryan Ellis back for this game. 10* Under Predators/Blackhawks
|02-20-20||Canadiens +1.5 v. Capitals||Top||4-3||Win||100||20 h 34 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. The Habs are off a bone-crushing 4-3 loss (to the Red Wings) where they blew a 3-1 lead. That result gives them the ignominy of losing to the worst team in the league four times this season. It was also their fifth loss in a row overall. The bottom line is getting swept in the season series with the Red Wings likely has huge repercussions, specifically when it comes to making the playoffs.
But it’s not as if the Habs aren’t competitive. As mentioned above, they did lead their last game 3-1 going into the third period. Of the five straight losses, three have come by one-goal margins. So that’s where the puck line comes in handy. In fact, seven of Montreal’s last nine games have been decided by one goal. I don’t believe the Canadiens are going to do any worse than a one goal loss tonight.
The task is tall tonight facing Washington, but the Capitals have had their own struggles of late, namely dropping four of their last five games. They’ve scored only 11 goals and none of them have come from Alex Ovechkin. The lone win in that stretch came by a single goal. After spending the last week out West, the Caps return home NOT in 1st place in the Metro for the 1st time in a long time (Pittsburgh has surpassed them). Montreal already won here in D.C. (back in November), so we know they have “what it takes.” 8* Puck Line Montreal (+1.5)
|02-19-20||Islanders v. Avalanche -163||Top||1-3||Win||100||15 h 60 m||Show|
10* Colorado (10:05 ET): The Avalanche have by far and away the best goal differential in the Western Conference at +42. The next closest team is St. Louis (+18) and only two teams in the East (Boston, TB) can claim better YTD goal differentials. Scoring differential is a metric I value across all sports as it tends to be a far better predictor of future outcomes than a team’s actual won-loss record. So keep an eye on the Avs’ goal differential when you handicap the Western Conference playoff picture moving forward.
That the Avs are so far in front of the field in goal differential, yet only in third place in their own division is perplexing to say the least. Note it’s a very tight race in the Central right now w/ St. Louis, Dallas & Colorado all separated by just three points. But make no mistake about it, after losing three in a row - all at home - the Avalanche desperately need to win tonight’s game.
The Islanders have not had a successful road trip. They’ve scored a grand total of one goal so far, losing all three games. I successfully faded them Monday afternoon in Arizona. While there’s been no losing streak of longer than three games this year for the Isles, facing a team that averages 3.7 gpg at home hardly seems like an ideal matchup for them. NY’s scoring average on the road is now down to 2.4 gpg. Colorado is 11-5 SU this year after allowing 4+ goals in its previous game (lost 4-3 to Tampa Bay Monday). 10* Colorado
|02-18-20||Canadiens -195 v. Red Wings||Top||3-4||Loss||-195||11 h 53 m||Show|
6* Montreal (7:35 ET): Both of these teams come into Tuesday on four-game losing streaks. So recent form offers little in the way of advantages either way. But looking at the totality of the season, it’s clear who you want to fade here and that’s Detroit, the consensus worst team in the league. The Red Wings have just 32 points and a -106 goal differential, both easily league’s worsts. To put those numbers in perspective, the next lowest point total in the league is 47 (Kings) while the 2nd worst goal differential is -44 (Ottawa).
However, there is at least one curious element to this terrible season from the Red Wings. They are 3-0 against Montreal! The Habs might be a slightly below average team, but no one should be losing three times to Detroit. Consider that the Red Wings’ record vs. everyone else is 11-43-4 SU.
Looking at the respective four-game losing streaks, Montreal was able to pick up a point its last time out as it fell in overtime vs. Dallas. They blew a three-goal lead in that game. It’s been a long time since Detroit has been in that kind of position as they have scored only three times total the L3 games and been outscored by 10 goals. They lost 5-1 at Pittsburgh Sunday, troubling because they are a horrifying 4-31 SU this season after allowing 4+ goals in their previous game. I just can’t see the Canadiens losing to the Wings again. They’ve actually performed better on the road this season. 6* Montreal
|02-17-20||Islanders v. Coyotes -128||Top||1-2||Win||100||9 h 54 m||Show|
9* Arizona (4:05 ET): Needless to say, the Islanders have not had a strong start to this road trip. They’ve yet to even score a single goal! Shutout losses to Nashville and Vegas leave the Isles in a third place tie in the Metro and a tenuous two points ahead of sixth place Carolina. It’s a very thin line between “in” and “out” of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
The same could be said out West where Arizona is trying to make the playoffs. The Coyotes would currently be a Wild Card, but are tied w/ Calgary and depending what Winnipeg does Sunday night at home vs. Chicago, one of the two Pacific Division teams would be on the outside looking in. Unlike the Islanders, the ‘Yotes do bring a bit of positive momentum in this one as they defeated Washington 3-1 on Saturday. Now they try to win B2B games for the 1st time in over a month.
While goal scoring has been a problem for NY recently, they are still #6 in the league in goals allowed. But Arizona isn’t too far behind, ranking #9. So the edge the Isles have over most opponents won’t be present here. Plus the Coyotes have the goal scoring advantage here at home, averaging 3.1 gpg here compared to 2.4 for NY on the road. The Islanders are just 1-6 SU their L7 games as a ML dog, all but one of those games taking place on the road. 9* Arizona
|02-16-20||Blackhawks v. Jets -140||Top||2-3||Win||100||13 h 38 m||Show|
10* Winnipeg (8:35 ET): Chicago is coming off an 8-goal effort last night in Calgary. That sounds all “fine and dandy,” but let’s consider for a moment that the Blackhawks had lost five in a row going into last night and had scored a grand total of eight goals in those five losses. They remain buried in last place of the Central Division with 60 points and while they are still viable for a Wild Card spot, I wouldn’t expect to see this club still playing hockey when the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin in April.
Winnipeg also needs to make up some ground in order to make the playoffs. They are only three points ahead of Chicago in the standings, but are in fourth place in the division and only three points back of the Wild Card. The top three teams in the Central (St. Louis, Dallas, Colorado) have really solidified themselves, so the only way another Central team is getting into the postseason is through the Wild Card. This game is quite important for both sides.
The Jets recently defeated the Blackhawks, 5-2 here in Winnipeg, which at the time gave them their fourth three-game win streak of the season. Unfortunately, they haven’t won since, dropping two straight at home. Look for this to be the proverbial bounce back spot though. Losing three in a row, all at home, is something that hasn’t happened since October. 10* Winnipeg
|02-16-20||Bruins -139 v. Rangers||Top||3-1||Win||100||8 h 33 m||Show|
8* Boston (3:35 ET): For the balance of the season, Boston has been out in front in the Atlantic Division. They still lead the league with 84 points but Tampa Bay (83 pts) is now hot on the Bruins’ heels, making them probably rue the fact they are a league-worst 0-7 in shootouts. Still the Bruins keep on winning as yday’s 4-1 triumph over league worst Detroit was their eighth win in the last nine contests and avenged the only loss during that time (last Sunday in Detroit). Today they head to MSG where they’ve won three straight times..
New York is having an okay season as they are over .500 and have a positive goal differential. They’ve won four straight coming into Sunday. However, they remain in a tough spot as they’re still only in seventh place in the Metro and would need to jump at least three teams in order to get into playoff position. The gap between them and the second Wild Card is currently seven points. The Rangers did not play yesterday.
This is NY’s longest win streak of the season. While they did just beat Columbus (despite facing 37 shots), most of the wins have come against the inferior Western Conference. The Bruins simply have too much offense here as they’ve scored 4+ goals nine times in a 12-3-1 stretch that goes back to early January. I already mentioned the success they’ve had playing in this venue (3-0 L3) and they are 17-8 L25 times taking the ice as a road favorite. The Rangers are 7-18 SU vs. opponents with a .600 or better win percentage. 8* Boston
|02-15-20||Sharks v. Wild -175||Top||2-0||Loss||-175||19 h 17 m||Show|
7* Minnesota (5:05 ET): With San Jose on the second night of a back to back (won 3-2 last night), this seems like an opportune time to fade them. The fact that they won last night in Winnipeg makes the decision to fade somewhat easier. Overall, the Sharks are not having a good season as they’ve been outscored by 39 goals and remain near the bottom of the Western Conference. They’ve somehow managed to win three straight, but that’s a streak I don’t see continuing.
Over in Minnesota, the Wild are dealing with some unexpected turmoil right now due to the shocking firing of HC Bruce Boudreau. The move came on the heels of the team blowing a 3-1 lead to the Rangers and losing 4-3 in a shootout. But despite shaky goaltending, the Wild are still 7-3-1 their L11 games and very much viable in the playoff race as they are only three points back of the Wild Card. That’s a lot better than San Jose.
Taking Boudreau’s spot behind the bench is interim Dean Evason. He inherits a club that’s 17-8-5 SU at home. Teams typically respond well to a coaching change and that’s what I expect from the Wild tonight. Another motivating factor is that they have lost four in a row to the Sharks. It helps San Jose is being outscored by more than a full goal per game on the road this season. The Sharks’ 2.4 gpg average away from home ranks 26th. They are 2-6 SU playing on back to back days. 7* Minnesota
|02-14-20||Sharks v. Jets OVER 6||Top||3-2||Loss||-125||11 h 42 m||Show|
10* Over Sharks/Jets (7:05 ET): It’s been four days since the Sharks last took the ice and suffered a disastrous 6-2 loss to Calgary, a team they’d recently beaten on the road. That was only one of two home games they’ll play in the first 25 days of the month. Prior to that loss, they’d scored six goals of their own in a win at Edmonton as they made it an “Alberta sweep” over the Flames and Oilers. Tonight it’s back to Canada with a visit to Winnipeg, who just had a three game win streak snapped here at home Tuesday as the Rangers came in and beat them 4-1.
In that three-game win streak, the Jets piled up 14 goals and appeared to be ascendant in the Central Division standings. But with an eight-point gap now existing between the top three and the rest of the field in the Central, it would appear as if the Wild Card is the only point of entry for the Jets when it comes to the playoffs. Even though they were held to just one goal by the Rangers, Winnipeg did get 44 shots on goal. So don’t be surprised if the kind of goal scoring we saw in the prior three games resumes here.
San Jose is a terrible defensive team as they are giving up 3.5 goals per game on the road. Poor play at the defensive end is what caused them to fall into an early 3-0 hole. Tonight marks the 5th time this year that the Sharks have played with at least three days rest. The Over is 3-1 the previous four times. Winnipeg took both head to head meetings in November and those were in San Jose. The Sharks were playing much better at that time. The Jets scored eight goals in those games. I see this being a high-scoring contest. 10* Over Sharks/Jets
|02-12-20||Flames -123 v. Kings||Top||3-5||Loss||-123||12 h 16 m||Show|
10* Calgary (10:05 ET): The Flames obviously aren’t as good as they were a season ago, but this looks to be a game where they pick up an easy two points. You may recall Calgary finished first in the entire Western Conference last year. Regression was all but inevitable and right now they are third in the division (Pacific), tied w/ two other teams (Vegas, Arizona). But they are only three points out of first and that’s a lot better than where tonight’s opponent is, that being dead last in both the division and conference!
The Kings have just 43 points, which is 21 fewer than the Flames. The only team in the league with fewer points in the whole league is Detroit. Los Angeles also has a -47 goal differential, again 2nd worst in the entire league w/ only Detroit worse. It’s one thing to be bad and another to also be in bad form and the Kings happen to be both. They’ve lost five in a row, getting outscored 19-7 in the process.
Meanwhile, Calgary is coming off B2B 6-2 wins out on the road. They won at Vancouver (1st place team in the Pacific) as well as San Jose. Avenging two early season losses (both in October), the Flames beat the Kings back on 12.7 by a score of 4-3. To me, this line should be north of -200. The Kings are just that bad and I won’t hesitate to fade them at the current price. Overall, LA has lost 13 of 15. They just got back from a winless East Coast trip, so fatigue could be a factor. 10* Calgary
|02-11-20||Red Wings v. Sabres OVER 5.5||Top||2-3||Loss||-102||8 h 21 m||Show|
10* Over Red Wings/Sabres (7:05 ET): These teams just met five days ago and the Red Wings skated away w/ 4-3 victory as +190 ML dogs. They are off an even more impressive win, as a +290 ML dog, at home vs. Boston. But those are the only two wins for the Wings going back to Jan 10. This is a team that has had MANY long losing skids this season (FOUR of six or more). As a result, they are clearly the worst team in the league (32 points, -95 goal differential) and not worth backing on any kind of semi-regular basis.
Buffalo isn’t exactly having a great year either. It started well, just as last year did, but the Sabres are just 15-22-7 SU their L44 games. I already mentioned the loss to Detroit five weeks ago. Well, they took another loss at home on Sunday, this one coming by a 3-2 score against Anaheim. They’ve lost six of eight overall with the only win in regulation coming at MSG vs. the Rangers. As a result, the club is barely visible in the playoff chase. They’re currently 13 points back of the Wild Card.
A big reason why Detroit has such an atrocious YTD goal differential is that they have given up the most goals in the league (213). That works out to an average of 3.7 allowed per game. As you might imagine, it only gets worse on the road where the average jumps to 4.1 gpg allowed. That game five days ago went Over and so should this one. Buffalo hung five goals on Detroit when they met in January. They are 6-1 Over on Tuesday nights. 10* Over Red Wings/Sabres
|02-10-20||Panthers v. Flyers -127||Top||1-4||Win||100||27 h 38 m||Show|
10* Philadelphia (7:05 ET): For a Monday in February, this shapes up to be a pretty critical game. Both Florida and Philadelphia currently find themselves on the “outside looking in” when it comes to the playoffs. The Flyers are technically tied (w/ Carolina) for the second Wild Card at 67 points. The Panthers are three points back, not to mention two points back of Toronto, who is third in their own division. The problem for Florida here is their recent form. They come in as losers of three in a row and have been outscored 11-4.
Meanwhile, the Flyers are feeling pretty good about themselves following an impressive 7-2 win at Washington on Saturday. It was their fifth win in the past seven games, all five coming by 3+ goals. One of the two losses was in OT, but it’s the other that should have them quite motivated tonight. Last time playing at home, the Flyers turned in a horrendous effort in getting shutout 5-0 by last place New Jersey. That seems like an anomaly, however, as for the season they’ve gone 18-5-4 SU on home ice. I expect a much better showing tonight obviously.
Florida has been shutout in two of its last three road games plus they were outscored 10-4 in the last two games at home. This downturn follows what had been the hottest stretch of the season for the Panthers as they’d won six in a row. Perhaps the All-Star Break came at the wrong time for them, but whatever the reason for the downturn, I expect it to continue tonight as there’s a big difference in the # of shots these teams have allowed recently (which works in Philly’s favor). 10* Philadelphia
|02-09-20||Kings v. Rangers -160||Top||1-4||Win||100||23 h 44 m||Show|
7* NY Rangers (6:05 ET): The Rangers took a tough loss Friday, losing here at home to Buffalo by a score of 3-2. While 11 pts off the playoff pace in the Eastern Conference, it’s not like NY is a bad team. They’re in the black when it comes to goal differential. This will be their 4th straight game where I’m playing on or against. Sadly, I’ve been on the wrong end of the last two. I took them against Buffalo and faded when they beat Toronto. Ironically, the one time I was right, they lost here at MSG to Dallas.
However, I was “spot on” playing against the Kings last night as they were blanked 3-0 in New Jersey. That shutout loss kept LA firmly in the basement of the Pacific Division as their 43 points are second fewest in the sport. They also have a -43 goal differential, which is second worst in the sport. This is clearly a very bad team and it only makes sense to fade them in this second night of a back to back. They are 7-15 SU off a loss by 2+ goals.
As mentioned in yday’s analysis, the Kings have been a dreadful road team this season. They’ve lost 24 of their 32 road games and been outscored by 1.2 goals per game. The Rangers can put goals on the board as they average 3.5 here at home. The Kings simply won’t be able to “keep up” considering they haven’t scored more than three times in any of their last 10 games (1-8-1 SU) and will be facing rookie sensation Igor Shesterkin in goal. He has a .922 save percentage in five starts w/ the team going 4-1. I see this as a total mismatch. 7* NY Rangers
|02-08-20||Kings v. Devils -119||Top||0-3||Win||100||11 h 21 m||Show|
10* New Jersey (7:05 ET): Two struggling teams facing off in East Rutherford, so why the strong opinion? Well, for starters, the Kings are just in a terrible way right now as they’ve dropped 11 of 13 w/ all but one of those losses coming in regulation. Here they find themselves in the midst of a four-game road trip out East and the first two games (against Washington and the Islanders) did not go well. New Jersey hasn’t been much better since the All-Star Break, but is coming off a shutout win at Philadelphia (5-0!) on Thursday.
Poor play in the third period has plagued both clubs. The Kings were bit by that more recently, blowing leads of 2-0 and 3-1 to the Islanders Thursday. They gave up three goals in the third to fall to 8-19-4 SU on the road this season. There are only two teams in the league (Ottawa and Detroit) who have fewer road wins this season. Los Angeles really struggles at both ends of the ice (-1.1 gpg on the road), but giving up 4+ goals EIGHT times in the 2-10-1 stretch has really hurt. There’s nothing here to indicate a turnaround. The Kings are even 7-13 SU when facing fellow teams w/ losing records.
The Devils were outshot severely in that 5-0 win at Philadelphia two nights ago. But they’ll take the two points after losing three straight here at home - all by one goal. The last time New Jersey won a home game was January 12th against a Tampa Bay team that came in red hot. If they can beat the Lightning, they can certainly beat the Kings. Furthermore, the length of time that has elapsed between home victories should have them highly motivated tonight. 10* New Jersey
|02-08-20||Predators v. Oilers UNDER 6.5||Top||2-3||Win||100||11 h 21 m||Show|
10* Under Predators/Oilers (7:05 ET): The St. Louis Blues lead the Western Conference with 72 points. Behind the Stanley Cup Champs, 11 teams (7 of whom will make the playoffs) are separated by just eight points. These are two of them. Nashville has been pretty good on the road this year (15-9-3) and that has them fourth in the Central Division and one point back of the last Wild Card spot. Edmonton is safer (for now) as they are 3rd in the Pacific, but a 6-3 loss here at home to San Jose Thursday was not a “good look.”
Most Edmonton games of late have been pretty high-scoring. The exception would be a shutout loss to Arizona (3-0) that took place earlier in the week. Other than that, every game the team has been involved in since Jan 6th has seen at least six total goals scored. Oddsmakers have taken notice by posting a high total for tonight’s game. When the Oilers hosted Nashville last month, it was a 4-2 final in their favor. That was an Under (O/U line was 6.5), the 5th time in the last 6 meetings these two have gone Under.
The Predators have gone Under in three straight, none of those games seeing more than five total goals scored. So something will have to give Saturday. Over its L10 games, Nashville has scored three or fewer goals seven times. So that, combined with the history vs. Edmonton, leads me to the Under. The last three visits to Edmonton have all gone Under. The Oilers are 16-10 Under this year vs. teams that have losing records. 10* Under Predators/Oilers
|02-07-20||Sabres v. Rangers -170||Top||3-2||Loss||-170||24 h 31 m||Show|
7* NY Rangers (7:05 ET): After playing against the Rangers in their last two games (won one, lost one), I’ll back them here against a team that is really struggling and playing on no rest. Buffalo just lost for the fifth time in the last six games last night. It was against Detroit, the worst team in the league. While the Sabres did pick up a point by forcing overtime, they initially trailed 3-0 at home. That’s not good. The Rangers may be second to last in a tough Metropolitan Division, but they have a positive goal differential on the year.
The Rangers are averaging a healthy 3.5 goals per game here at MSG and shouldn’t have much difficulty scoring tonight against a Sabres team that has given up 10 goals in the last two games. The Blueshirts just hung five goals on a good Toronto team Wednesday night. They’ve won three straight against sub.-500 foes and have really had Buffalo’s number the last few years, going 6-1 SU in seven head to head matchups. That includes 4-0 here at MSG including a 6-2 win back in October.
The Sabres have a .333 win percentage over the last 28 games, so their struggles aren’t confined to just recent times. They have gone just 8-14-4 SU on the road this season. Only two teams (Ottawa, Detroit) have fewer road victories (ironically both division rivals!). Even worse is the fact Buffalo is 0-4 SU this season after playing three straight game at home. This being the second game of a back to back obviously doesn’t help matters. 7* NY Rangers
|02-06-20||Sharks v. Oilers -163||Top||6-3||Loss||-163||13 h 23 m||Show|
8* Edmonton (9:05 ET): The Oilers have only managed to split a quartet of games since the All-Star Break, but remain in second place in the Pacific with 62 points. They are only three points back of first place Vancouver, but only two ahead of fifth place Calgary, who they recently defeated 8-3 on the road. The last game didn’t go nearly as well though as the Oilers were blanked 3-0 at Arizona. They’ll look to rebound tonight vs. a San Jose team that has the worst overall goal differential (-39) in the Western Conference.
Like the Oilers, the Sharks have managed to split four games since the All-Star Break. They too just won at Calgary, 3-1 on Tuesday, but an Alberta sweep seems unlikely based on the fact this club hasn’t won B2B road games since Jan 2-4. Since a decent 15-12-1 start to the season, the Sharks are just 8-15-3 SU. There have been only two occasions total where they’ve won B2B games during that time.
Early in the season, these division rivals split a pair of games in San Jose. The road has generally been unkind to San Jose where they are 9-14-3. It’s not just a bad record either. They’re getting outscored by 1.2 goals per game on the road. That’s the fourth worst differential in the league right now, ahead of only Ottawa, New Jersey and Detroit. Edmonton is 8-2-2 its last 12 games and has gone 11-4 this year when off a loss by 2+ goals. 8* Edmonton
|02-06-20||Canucks v. Wild -120||Top||2-4||Win||100||12 h 53 m||Show|
10* Minnesota (8:05 ET): The Wild are in last place in the Central Division with only 54 points. But keep the following in mind. That’s easily the most points any of the four last place teams in the league have. The Wild are also just six points back of the Wild Card in the Western Conference. If they are to make a move, it has to be now when they are in the midst of a long stretch of games at home. The last six games have all been played here in the Twin Cities and after tomorrow’s game at Dallas, the next four will be as well.
Tonight is a game vs. Vancouver. What should immediately jump out to you here is the last place team in the Central is a slight favorite over the first place team in the Pacific. Obviously, home ice advantage needs to be factored in, but who’s favored here should be a real “eye-opener.” Of course, the Wild are a much better team at home than they are on the road. They have a 15-7-4 record here at the XCel Center as opposed to 9-15-2 SU on the road. In addition to beating Chicago Tuesday night, Minnesota owns victories over Tampa Bay and Dallas (7-0!) on this current homestand.
Now the Canucks did come here on January 12th and pick up a 4-1 victory. But I don’t like their chances of winning twice here in Minnesota. This is the end of a five-game road trip for the Canucks and the last two haven’t gone well as they’ve lost to Carolina and Boston, the latter coming in shutout fashion Tuesday (4-0). The situation here totally favors a Wild team that had to play short-handed EIGHT different times in the last meeting w/ Vancouver. 10* Minnesota
|02-05-20||Maple Leafs -133 v. Rangers||Top||3-5||Loss||-133||11 h 32 m||Show|
10* Toronto (7:35 ET): I was surprised to see the Maple Leafs lose their last game, Monday to Florida (5-3), as they were at home and by all reports the recipient of the “sharper” wagering. The Leafs came into that game on a three-game win streak, but now sit one point back of the Panthers, who lost an overtime game in Columbus last night. It’s not like the Leafs weren’t in position to win Monday’s game. They led 2-1 going into the third period. It also didn’t help that goalie Frederik Andersen had to exit the game with a concussion.
Meanwhile, I was certainly NOT surprised to see the Rangers lose 5-3 on Monday. After all, I played their opponent. That was the Dallas Stars, a team that has given up the fewest goals in the league this season. Toronto isn’t exactly as sharp in that department, but maybe they don’t have to be considering the Rangers have averaged just 2.2 goals over their L5 games. The only two wins NY has during that time have come at the expense of the league’s worst team, Detroit.
Both teams come into this game w/ issues between the pipes. Andersen’s status remains uncertain after leaving the game vs. Florida. For the Rangers, it’s a murkier situation as they are juggling netminders even though it’s pretty clear Henrik Lundqvist is an inferior option when compared to Alexandar Georgiev. Andersen’s backup, Michael Hutchinson, has won his L4 starts. Georgiev, while better than Lundqvist, still only has an .890 save percentage at home. So Toronto, who averages a league-best 3.8 gpg on the road, should “steal” one here. 10* Toronto
|02-04-20||Golden Knights v. Lightning -170||Top||2-4||Win||100||19 h 4 m||Show|
7* Tampa Bay (7:05 ET): Even when they were languishing as low as fifth place in the Atlantic Division, my outlook the Lightning remained pretty optimistic due to a goal differential that was among the league’s best. Sure enough, they’ve quickly risen up the standings and are now second in the division, behind only Boston. Their YTD goal differential of +43 is the league’s best right now and LY’s Presidents Trophy winners have gone 15-2-1 SU the L18 games overall.
Since returning from the All-Star Break, the Lightning have gone 3-0-1, the lone loss in OT @ Dallas. All four games were on the road, the latest resulting in a 3-0 shutout of San Jose. Tonight marks the 1st game in TB since January 14th and only the third game here since Jan 9th. This fact is a big deal as the Lightning are a dominant home team, averaging 4.1 goals per game here and outscoring opponents by 1.2 gpg. Both figures are league bests. I’m a little stunned that we are able to grab them at this kind of price.
Vegas is also off a 3-0 win, theirs coming at Nashville on Sunday. That put the Golden Knights into third place in the relatively wide-open Pacific Division. But a big key here is that this will be their SEVENTH consecutive road game and third since the Break. The Knights don’t score enough on the road (2.9 gpg) so it’s difficult for me to envision them keeping pace with the Lightning, who are 8-0 vs. the Pacific Division this year and 7-0-1 SU L8 home games. 7* Tampa Bay
|02-03-20||Stars -135 v. Rangers||Top||5-3||Win||100||11 h 10 m||Show|
9* Dallas (7:05 ET): More and more, I’m liking the Stars’ chances of finishing at least third in the Central Division, which would of course guarantee them a spot in the playoffs. Right now, they’re tied with Colorado for second, six points back of defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis. The key with the Stars is that they have given up the fewest number of goals in the league (129). Every other team in the Western Conference has allowed at least 19 more goals. I look for another strong effort in goal tonight.
The Rangers are the opposition tonight and they are coming off a home and home sweep of Detroit to start their second half. Really, the Rangers couldn’t have asked for a more favorable way to come out of the All-Star Break then with two games against the worst team in hockey. Saturday in the Motor City, they shut the Red Wings out 1-0. It was just the third shutout win of the year for NY and the bad news is they are 0-2 SU off the prior two. Despite the two straight wins, the Rangers remain well off the playoff pace in the Eastern Conference.
Dallas went to New Jersey on Saturday and won 3-2. It was the third consecutive game scoring exactly three goals, a good sign given what a good job they do at preventing the opposing team from scoring. The Stars have also beaten Tampa Bay since coming back from the All-Star Break. All nine goals scored by the team since the Break have come at even strength as they’ve gone 0 for 14 on the power play. Considering the Rangers are just 22nd in penalty killing, don’t be surprised if the Stars break out of their recent PP slump and score once or twice w/ the man advantage here. 9* Dallas
|02-02-20||Blue Jackets v. Canadiens OVER 5.5||Top||4-3||Win||100||5 h 29 m||Show|
10* Over Blue Jackets/Canadiens (2:05 ET): Columbus had been surging as they went into the All-Star Break on a six-game win streak that included THREE shutouts. But in their first game since the Break, they lost 2-1 to Buffalo yesterday. The game went to overtime and obviously didn’t feature much offense as the two teams combined for just 47 shots. With all the shutouts, Columbus games have generally been low-scoring of late as yesterday marked their seventh Under in the last eight games.
Montreal has also been going Under with regularity of late. Their 4-0 shutout of Florida on Saturday made it a 7-1-1 Under run as they’ve allowed 1 or 0 goals five different times during that stretch. Yesterday’s blanking of the Panthers was quite impressive considering Florida came in on a six-game win streak where they’d tallied 4+ goals in every win. But it was also the third time in the last five games in which the Habs scored 4 or more times. They are averaging 3.6 goals per game during that stretch.
Something worth monitoring here is the goalie situation seeing as this is the second game of a back to back for both times. Columbus has indicated they are again going with Elvis Merzlikins, but note he has a losing record in road starts as his save percentage dips to .907. For Montreal, Carey Price has given up seven goals in the two previous meetings with the Blue Jackets this season. The Canadiens’ PK was able to go 6 for 6 yday, which seems a little fortunate. 10* Over Blue Jackets/Canadiens
|02-02-20||Canucks v. Hurricanes -170||Top||3-4||Win||100||5 h 29 m||Show|
10* Carolina (2:05 ET): For the benefit of those who may not be paying attention, I’ll let you in on the fact that the NHL’s Eastern Conference is much stronger (and deeper) than the Western Conference this season. Out West, there are only seven clubs sporting positive goal differentials. In the East, there are 12, including seven alone from the Metropolitan Division where Carolina hails and is currently in sixth place. The Hurricanes have a +26 goal differential YTD, which is sixth best in the entire league, yet would NOT be a playoff team as of the current standings.
Vancouver comes into Sunday leading the Pacific Division with 64 points. That’s only three more points than Carolina has. The Canucks have a +17 goal differential and are on a five-game win streak after beating the Islanders yday 4-3. That game went into OT, making this a tougher than usual back to back plus it’s an afternoon game. The Canucks were outshot by the Isles 37-24 (17-5 in third period), so they should consider themselves fortunate to have won.
Carolina is not only more rested than Vancouver here, but likely more motivated based on where they are in the standings. ‘Canes HC Rod Brind’Amour ripped the effort of his team in a 4-3 home loss to Vegas on Friday, the only game that they have played since the All-Star Break. The Canucks will be playing their 4th game since the Break today. Carolina has revenge for a 1-0 loss in OT at Vancouver back in December. But they are 17-9-1 SU at home, averaging 3.4 goals per game (allowing only 2.5). The Canucks are only 13-13-1 SU on the road and giving up 3.4 gpg. 10* Carolina
|01-31-20||Bruins v. Jets +1.5||Top||2-1||Win||100||12 h 23 m||Show|
6* Puck Line Winnipeg (8:05 ET): Please note this is a puck line play only where I am backing the Jets at +1.5. Heading into the All-Star Break, the Jets were not playing well. They’d lost six of seven while being outscored 26-15. However, three of the six losses were by only one goal. With all the time off to recoup, I am looking for an inspired effort out of Winnipeg tonight as Boston comes calling. As impressive as the Bruins are at home (only two regulation losses!), they are just 12-8-3 SU on the road.
This is also Boston’s first game since the All-Star Break. The Atlantic Division leaders have 70 points and have been in first place virtually the entire season. That said, they have lost three of the last five games and all three of those losses were on the road. The Bruins are just .500 in January and while one of their five wins came at the Jets expense, that was a) at home and b) by a one-goal margin. Again, I’ll gladly take another one goal game here.
In fact, the last three times these teams have met, every game has been decided by one goal. Winnipeg won both last year. This is the Jets’ longest losing streak of the season, so they should obviously be highly motivated coming out of the Break. 6* Puck Line Winnipeg (+1.5)
|01-30-20||Canadiens v. Sabres -102||Top||3-1||Loss||-102||10 h 41 m||Show|
10* Buffalo (7:05 ET): The Sabres wasted what I thought was a golden opportunity to pick up two points Tuesday. In their first game after the All-Star Break, they lost 5-2 (at home) to an Ottawa team that was coming off a disheartening loss in a shootout the night prior. Despite them wasting that opportunity, I look for the Sabres to bounce back tonight. Again they are at home and facing a division foe beneath them in the standings. This time it’s Montreal, who they beat here on home ice back in October.
Technically, these teams are tied with 51 points. But Buffalo has more one more non-shootout victory, despite having played one fewer game. It has not been a good last month or so for the Canadiens, who have dropped 10 of their last 14 games including one on Monday at home vs. Washington. The Habs were beaten 4-2 in their first game after the Break and gave up 40 shots on goal. It should be pointed out they have just two wins in regulation since X-Mas and have suffered TWO eight-game losing streaks since mid-November.
As I discussed when they hosted Ottawa, Buffalo is capable of scoring plenty of goals. They average 3.4 goals per game at home, which is top 10 in the league. Top goalie Linus Ullmark is out after injuring his leg vs. Ottawa, but you can look past that as the Sabres have won four of five against the Habs, regardless of who is in goal. Montreal has plenty of issues between the pipes themselves and is 7-15 SU this season after giving up 4+ goals the previous game. 10* Buffalo
|01-29-20||Flames +1.5 v. Oilers||Top||4-3||Win||100||13 h 24 m||Show|
6* Puck Line Calgary (10:05 ET): Please note that this a Puck Line play only where I am backing the Flames +1.5. This renewal of the “Battle of Alberta” comes at a time where both Calgary and Edmonton are in playoff position. Despite losing last night, the Flames picked up a point (shootout) and thus moved into second place in the Pacific by their lonesome, ahead of the Oilers and two other teams. Calgary is already 2-0 vs. their provincial rival this season and I see them doing no worse than a 1-goal loss here.
The Oilers have not played since the All-Star Break. They headed into the Break having won five of six, scoring plenty of goals in the process. But the lone defeat suffered during that stretch came in Calgary w/ a power play goal being the difference in a 4-3 final. I realize the situation seems favorable towards Edmonton here as they are rested (while Calgary played last night) and have revenge. But all that time off may have the Oilers rusty tonight and thus prone to a slow start.
Last night was Calgary’s 1st loss in a SO this season (were previously 5-0). Ironically, the Blues had been winless in shootouts. The Flames lost despite three PP goals, which is tough when you’re at home. But in the end, the Oilers give up 3.6 goals per game at home, which is too many to believe they can win this game by multiple goals. It’s the most goals per game given up by any team in the league at home. 6* Puck Line Calgary (+1.5)
|01-28-20||Senators v. Sabres -184||Top||5-2||Loss||-184||12 h 34 m||Show|
6* Buffalo (7:05 ET): The Sabres have a lot of work to do if they are to make the postseason for the first time in nine years. They currently are 10 points back from where they need to be, that being the Wild Card or third place in the Atlantic. If they are to make a move, the time is probably now as tonight starts a five-game run on home ice. This looks like an easy two points to me as they face division also-ran Ottawa, who just played last night and lost in a shootout.
The Senators fell 4-3 at home to New Jersey Monday, their first game after the All-Star Break. Despite the fact they allowed 53 shots on goal, it’s a game the Sens “should have” won. I say this because they scored not one, but TWO short-handed goals in the third period. They had the lead until 3:21 was left in regulation. None of Ottawa’s goals last night came at even strength (other was on power play). The road has been unkind to this club as they are 5-17-2 SU and being outscored by 1.6 goals per game. That’s the 2nd worst goal differential in the league in road games (Detroit).
Buffalo can definitely score here at home where they are averaging 3.5 goals per game w/ a solid shooting percentage of 11.8. They are top 10 in the league in goals per game scored at home. While they did lose their final game before the Break (2-1 at Nashville), the Sabres had won three in a row prior to that, scoring 13 goals in the process. They’ve also got revenge here for a 3-1 loss in Ottawa right before X-Mas where they finished with a 44-29 edge in shots. The Sabres are definitely the better team here, they’re in a better situation and Ottawa has won just once in its past 10 games. 6* Buffalo
|01-27-20||Ducks v. Sharks -140||Top||2-4||Win||100||15 h 40 m||Show|
9* San Jose (10:35 ET): The Sharks come out of the All-Star Break with the worst goal differential in the Western Conference and on a three-game losing streak. But this appears to be one of the better spots to take them as they are at home facing another “also-ran” from the division. That would be Anaheim, whose resume is pretty comparable despite B2B road wins before the Break. Not since starting the season 3-0 have the Ducks won three straight games. They have just ONE win in regulation since December 3rd!
This being a home game is a huge boon for San Jose, who has not gotten to play many games the “The Tank” recently. The entirety of the Sharks’ current three-game skid came on the road as they were outscored 14-4 by Arizona, Vancouver and Colorado, all of whom are top tier Western Conference teams. Anaheim is not, nor are the Ducks a good road team. Yes, they did win B2B road games before the Break. But they have lost 17 of 25 on the road this season while averaging only 2.28 goals per game!
That scoring average is 4th worst in the league on the road. The Sharks are one of the three teams below them, so again, good for them that this game takes place in San Jose. The Sharks have played only 3 of their last 11 games at home and won them all, allowing just three total goals in the process. Anaheim has one of the league’s worst scoring differentials on the road (-1.12 gpg). A big difference for these teams is their respective records vs. fellow sub-.500 foes. San Jose is 12-6 SU while Anaheim is 6-12. 9* San Jose
|01-22-20||Jets v. Blue Jackets -169||Top||3-4||Win||100||11 h 50 m||Show|
10* Columbus (7:35 ET): The Blue Jackets are red hot and look to remain that way heading into the All-Star Break. Winners of five straight, they are locked in a tight battle within the Metro for potential playoff position. Right now, they are fifth in the division and would be the final Wild Card team. But a win here would enable them to leapfrog Carolina going into the Break. During this five-game win streak, the Blue Jackets have posted three shutouts and outscored opponents 16-3.
Out West, Winnipeg is in a similar position trying to battle for a playoff spot. But right now they’d be on the outside looking in. They are three points back and have lost three in a row, getting outscored 16-4 in the process. They’ve also dropped five of the last six. So, in terms of momentum (still hate that word!) going into the Break, it’s a very different deal with these two teams. This will also be the Jets’ third road game in four nights. All have been out East.
Columbus has revenge for a 4-3 loss up in Manitoba back in November. But this time they are at home and they are a lot stingier here, giving up only 2.2 goals per game. Only two teams - Philadelphia and Dallas - have allowed fewer goals at home this year. Winnipeg also gives up far too many shots per game (34.3 per game on the road). Recent form is too difficult to ignore here and the line being steamed up this morning only serves to confirm my view on this matchup. 10* Columbus
|01-21-20||Golden Knights v. Bruins -145||Top||2-3||Win||100||11 h 26 m||Show|
8* Boston (7:05 ET): I like the Bruins quite a bit here. Excluding losses that occurred beyond regulation, this is a team that’s gone 16-2 SU on home ice this season. Tonight, they are hosting a team that knows all too well the power that home ice advantage can have. For the first two years of its existence, Vegas was nearly unbeatable at home. But this year, there’s been a “leveling off” of sorts for the Golden Knights, who are basically just a .500 team. They are 25-19-7 SU overall and simply not in the Bruins’ class.
Vegas has lost five out of its last six and this game comes at the end of a four-game East Coast trip. They’ve already lost at both Buffalo and Montreal with a win over lowly Ottawa squeezed in between. While they’ve had the last two days off, the Golden Knights are 0-4 SU this season coming off three or more consecutive road games. Boston is a team they haven’t fared well against in their short existence, losing four of the five all-time matchups, including 4-3 in Las Vegas back in October.
The Bruins come in having lost three of four, but all three losses were on the road. They won the front end of a home and home with Pittsburgh, 4-1, before losing on the road Sunday. But Boston held an early 3-0 lead in Pittsburgh and probably should have been able to put that one away. Knowing they let two points slip away, the Bruins should come out very focused on motivated here tonight. Vegas has trailed by 3+ goals in three of its last five games. 8* Boston
|01-20-20||Red Wings v. Avalanche OVER 6.5||Top||3-6||Win||109||8 h 48 m||Show|
10* Over Red Wings/Avalanche (3:05 ET): Colorado has come on strong these last two games, beating San Jose 4-0 and St. Louis 5-3. That pair of victories now has them in second place in the Central Division w/ 60 pts, eight back of the first place Blues. They’ve got the Western Conference’s best goal differential (+33), so it would certainly appear as if this club is going to have a productive second half of the season. With 173 goals scored in 48 games, the Avs are the West’s highest scoring team.
Detroit is the worst team in all of hockey. They are in last place in the Atlantic with just 28 points. To put that number in its proper perspective, every other team in the league has at least 41 points. The Red Wings also have a -85 YTD goal differential. To put that number in proper perspective, the next worst goal differential in the league is -47. So things are looking rather bleak in the Motor City right now. The team’s biggest issue is that they have given up the most goals in the league. So an Avs team that’s among the league leaders in scoring certainly looks to be a poor matchup.
While the Red Wings are also last in the league in goals scored, we can count on Colorado doing most of the heavy lifting here anyway. The Avalanche have scored nine goals in the last two games alone. They average 3.8 goals per game on the season while Detroit gives up 4.2 on the road. Getting four or five goals here from the Avs is a very strong possibility, so the hope is that the Red Wings can get at least two. The Over is 6-2 in Colorado’s last eight home games. 10* Over Red Wings/Avalanche
|01-19-20||Blue Jackets v. Rangers -120||Top||2-1||Loss||-120||9 h 29 m||Show|
|01-18-20||Devils +1.5 v. Blue Jackets||Top||0-5||Loss||-165||9 h 25 m||Show|
7* Puck Line New Jersey (7:05 ET): Please note that this is a puck line play only. I am backing the Devils at +1.5. Columbus has surged recently, winning three straight and 7 of its last 9 games. But do not count out the underdog in this one. Over the last four games, New Jersey has played Washington twice, Tampa Bay and Toronto. That’s a tough gauntlet. They won at Washington and also snapped the Lightning’s long win streak. So they are certainly capable of pulling the upset here.
Even with the “surge” here in 2020, the Blue Jackets still grade out as a pretty average team. They’ve scored just one more goal than what they’ve allowed over the course of the season. Prior to these L3 games, they obviously had a negative goal differential. Also note that three of Columbus’ last six wins came by one goal. That result would give us a win here based on how we’re playing this matchup.
New Jersey has scored only one fewer goal than Columbus this season. The big difference then is obviously the other side of the ledger where the Blue Jackets have allowed basically 40 fewer goals. But they’re also only 3-10 SU in Saturday games this season. C-bus was outshot 34-18 by Carolina its last game. New Jersey’s power play is set to improve as they have gotten healthier. 7* Puck Line New Jersey (+1.5)
|01-18-20||Kings v. Flyers -152||Top||1-4||Win||100||9 h 25 m||Show|
8* Philadelphia (7:05 ET): Up next in the 3-pack is the Flyers, who could REALLY use a win here as they’ve fallen off the furious pace set by the top four teams in the Metro. In fact, they’ve actually fallen into sixth place in the division, thanks to a less than stellar start to the New Year. They’ve lost six of nine overall and just dropped a game to Montreal here at home on Thursday. But this is also a team that prior to that 4-1 defeat had just beaten both Boston and St. Louis, last year’s two Stanley Cup Finalists.
Los Angeles has a lot bigger concerns than Philly right now. They are the last place team in the Pacific and their 41 points are the fewest in the whole Western Conference. They’ve lost six of their last seven games, including three straight on the road. Tonight marks the end of a week-long trip that began with them getting shutout last Saturday in Carolina. Since then, it’s been subsequent 4-3 losses to Tampa Bay and Florida.
This is a revenge game for the Flyers, who lost 5-3 out in LA on New Year’s Eve. That came in the middle of a six-game West Coast swing and they lost the next three games as well. But the Flyers have been a much better home team this year, going 15-4-4 SU in the City of Brotherly Love and their scoring differential here is quite large as they average 3.5 goals per game while giving up only 2.3. Everything here points to the Flyers getting revenge for that loss on New Year’s Eve. LA trailed 4-0 at one point in its last game. 8* Philadelphia
|01-18-20||Flames -150 v. Senators||Top||2-5||Loss||-150||6 h 26 m||Show|
8* Calgary (4:00 ET): The Flames are tied for the Pacific Division lead with 57 points, but a negative goal differential (-9) for the year would seem to indicate that they’ve overachieved. Certainly, the club is nowhere near as dominant as it was a season ago when it finished first in the entire Western Conference with 107 points. Normally, that distinction might have me looking to fade, but Calgary is lucky here in that they are drawing a very weak opponent. Ottawa not only has a -36 goal differential this year, they’ve also lost nine in a row and are second to last in the Atlantic Division.
If playing against Ottawa seems familiar, well, that’s because I just did on Thursday. It was a win with Vegas, right here in Canada’s capital city. The Golden Knights prevailed 4-2, outshooting the Senators 43-35 and it was 4-1 before Ottawa notched a relatively meaningless power play goal with 7:30 to go. The Sens have been outscored 38-19 during their losing streak, a 2:1 margin, and that’s a frighteningly low number of total goals scored.
Despite still being “in the red” goal differential wise, the Flames have won six of their last seven games. The only loss was a head-scratcher at Montreal, a team that (like Ottawa) came in on a long losing streak. Because they lost that game, I expect the Flames to be “on their toes” here, just like they were in an impressive win at Toronto Thursday night. A win here makes it a winning trip through Eastern Canada. In Calgary, the Flames had no problem beating the Senators 3-1 in late November. They were priced very high for that game so we’re getting a bargain here on the road. 8* Calgary
|01-16-20||Golden Knights -180 v. Senators||Top||4-2||Win||100||9 h 17 m||Show|
6* Vegas (7:35 ET): The Golden Knights just fired the only coach they’d ever known, Gerard Gallant, midway through their third season of existence. Of course, Gallant led the franchise all the way to the Stanley Cup Final back in its expansion year. But this year the club wasn’t playing up to its potential. Tuesday’s 4-2 home loss to Buffalo gives Vegas its second four-game losing streak of 2019-20. Peter DeBoer, recently fired by rival San Jose, takes over behind the bench and will look to right this ship.
Fortunately for DeBoer, his first game is against a team that’s on a losing streak twice as long as the Golden Knights! Ottawa has dropped eight in a row as they continue to languish well beyond the pack in the Eastern Conference. The Senators have just 40 points this year, second fewest in the East and third fewest in the entire league. Vegas might be on a losing streak, but they are in much better position over in the West with 54 points. Ottawa hasn’t scored more than three goals in any of their eight straight losses.
Vegas is 4-1 SU all-time vs. Ottawa including a 3-2 win back in November. Yes, four of the Senators’ eight straight losses have come after regulation and they led Chicago 2-0 on Tuesday. But after the coaching change, you can bet the Golden Knights are going to come out highly motivated. They are a good team in a slump. Ottawa is simply bad. 6* Vegas
|01-15-20||Flyers v. Blues -165||Top||4-3||Loss||-165||11 h 9 m||Show|
7* St. Louis (8:05 ET): The Blues keep chugging along. I think it’s important to remember that while this club went on to win the Stanley Cup, at this point last year, they were near the very bottom of the league in points. The incredible finish to the season that they had has clearly carried over as they lead the Central Division with 67 points and have won four in a row. I like their chances tonight at home vs. the Flyers.
Philadelphia is off a very lucky win as they rallied back to beat Boston in a shootout after trailing. The game ended with one of the more embarrassing gaffes that you’ll ever see. Before that come from behind victory, the Flyers had lost five of six. Their last four road games have all ended in defeat and they are being outscored by a full goal per game on the road this year. St. Louis is +1.0 goals per game for the year at home.
Philly is very much a fringe playoff team in the Eastern Conference while St. Louis is the class of the Western Conference right now. There’s little to suggest that the Flyers can win this game as the Blues have suffered only four regulation defeats in the Gateway City all season long. The Blues are 15-5 SU this season after scoring 4+ goals in their last game and they are off a 4-1 win against Anahiem. 7* St. Louis
|01-14-20||Stars v. Avalanche -141||Top||3-2||Loss||-141||13 h 9 m||Show|
10* Colorado (9:05 ET): I’m on the record as being a “believer” in the Avalanche. But they need to start winning some games. Three straight losses have dropped them to third in the Central Division, 10 points behind first place St. Louis (entering play on Monday). But Tuesday night is an opportunity to move back into second place as they host the team that’s just one point ahead, that being Dallas. I sense the Avs will be in full on “desperation mode” here and will back them in this spot.
The reason I continue to be so optimistic about Colorado’s future has to do with their goal differential. It’s consistently been one of the best in the entire Western Conference. Currently, even with the three-game losing streak, their +28 GD is the best in the West (note: this is being written before the completion of St. Louis’ game Monday night). I’ve long been a believer that scoring differential is a far better predictor of future outcomes than a team’s current won-loss record. The Avs will have had three days off since losing in OT to Pittsburgh.
Dallas saw a six-game win streak end Saturday in San Jose. That was a bit of a shocker considering where the Sharks have been in the standings most of the year. Then again, the schedule may be catching up with the Stars. Tonight is the end of four-game trip for them. Colorado will be even more motivated here by the fact they are 0-3 vs. the Stars this year. I’ve got them as the better overall club, so this is a good line we’re getting and the Avs are 5-2 SU the L7x playing with three or more days rest. 10* Colorado
|01-14-20||Bruins -138 v. Blue Jackets||Top||0-3||Loss||-138||11 h 9 m||Show|
8* Boston (7:05 ET): Essentially, the Bruins have spent the balance of the year in first place in the Atlantic Division. They’ve got 66 points, one less than Washington and St. Louis, who have the most in the league and their goal differential of +34 is a league best. But with reigning President’s Trophy winners Tampa Bay hot on their heels, they cannot afford any kind of letdown. They’d won three in a row before last night’s loss, which came in a shootout, at Philadelphia. But goal scoring certainly hasn’t been an issue with 19 in the past four games.
Columbus is sixth in the Metro, not exactly an ideal place to be. Last night’s loss by the Bruins actually hurt the Blue Jackets as it allowed the Flyers to go up two points on them for what would be the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Blue Jackets are coming off a 3-1 road trip that ended with a 3-0 shutout of Vegas. But this club isn’t anything more than mediocre in my eyes. They’ve given up three more goals than they’ve scored themselves this year.
A win here would give Boston the most points in the league. But what’s crazy is that they should have even more points, if not for some poor luck. Last night’s loss dropped them to 0-7 in shootouts and their 12 losses beyond regulation are - by far - a league high. The way that last night’s game ended was very painful. It was a game they led 5-2 in the second period and “should have” won. They get it done here. 8* Boston
|01-13-20||Hurricanes v. Capitals -133||Top||0-2||Win||100||9 h 0 m||Show|
9* Washington (7:05 ET): The way things are going now, this could end up as a 1st round playoff matchup. That’s something the first place Capitals may want to avoid as the fourth place Hurricanes come in on a three-game win streak and off B2B shutouts. Lucky for the Caps, the playoffs are still three months away. But they’ve lost two in a row, the last one being a 5-1 shocker at the hands of last place New Jersey. I’m banking on the home team being motivated tonight.
Another reason the Caps would want to avoid the Canes as a potential 1st round playoff opponent is that they’ve already lost twice to them this season. But they also won in Carolina last week. Interestingly enough, they were also coming off B2B losses going into that game. Even after being held to just three goals total in the last two games, Washington still ranks 3rd in the league in goals scored this year and averages 3.5 per game.
While Carolina has won three straight and five of seven, every win has been at home. In fact, they haven’t even played a road game since December 27th. Their last road win was December 19th in Colorado. With the last seven games all being played on home ice, I’m not the least bit surprised the Hurricanes come into tonight streaking in a positive direction. But can that be sustained on the road against one of the league’s top teams? Not likely! 9* Washington
|01-12-20||Penguins v. Coyotes -110||Top||4-3||Loss||-110||10 h 46 m||Show|
10* Arizona (6:05 ET): You can’t win if you don’t score. That adage applies to any sport and in the case of the NHL’s Coyotes, they’ve now been shut out in B2B games. It was a 4-0 loss to Tampa Bay, followed by a 3-0 loss to Carolina. Tonight the ‘Yotes will face another team from the Metro, but there’s a major difference in that this one is at home. Both shutout losses were on the road. Pittsburgh being the team that’s coming into visit tonight seems a bit scary, but this will be the Penguins third straight road game.
Prior to being outscored 7-0 in its last two games, Arizona had no problems scoring. In fact, they were on a four-game win streak that produced 18 goals. Three of the wins came here on home ice, one of which was against reigning Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis. So the Coyotes have shown they can beat the “big boys.” As good as Pittsburgh has looked recently, the last three wins have all been by one goal and two of those required overtime. The Pens have been outshot over their last five games.
Home ice advantage should be the difference in this one. Arizona getting blanked in B2B games happened at the end of a road trip, on consecutive nights no less. Pittsburgh now finds itself at the end of a road trip. Arizona has watched as an inferior Calgary team has passed them for 1st place in the Pacific, so expect them to come out very motivated. There are rumblings of a Sidney Crosby return for the Penguins coming soon, possibly as early as tonight, but it’ll take some time for him to be a factor on the ice. 10* Arizona
|01-11-20||Ducks v. Blackhawks -140||Top||2-4||Win||100||13 h 32 m||Show|
9* Chicago (8:35 ET): I played against the Blackhawks their last time out as they lost 5-2 to Nashville. Falling behind 3-0 in the first period was a killer for them, though they were able to climb back to within a goal in the third. But allowing Predators goalie Pekka Rinne to score an empty-net goal was the nail in the coffin as Chicago lost for the third time in its last four games and second straight at home. But Saturday I’m throwing my support behind them as they should pick up two points.
Why the sudden change? Well, it helps that they’re hosting Anaheim, a team that just isn’t very good. The Ducks are in last place in the Western Conference with only 39 points. They’ve lost five of six and just got shutout, at home, 3-0 by Dallas. Lack of scoring has been a long-term issue. Aside from a recent 5-4 win (over Nashville ironically), the Ducks have scored two goals or less in seven of their last eight games. Overall, they are the second lowest scoring team in the sport, ahead of only lowly Detroit.
The other end of the ice hasn’t been that kind either. The Ducks are giving up 3.6 goals per game on the road and 4.0 gpg the L5 overall. So look for a Chicago team that has found the back of the net pretty regularly over the last month to continue to do so tonight. I can’t see a third straight loss at home. Chicago won in overtime at Anaheim back in November. The Ducks’ lone All-Star, Jakob Silfverberg, has missed the last game and could be out again. 9* Chicago
|01-10-20||Senators v. Red Wings +100||Top||2-3||Win||100||12 h 49 m||Show|
10* Detroit (7:35 ET): Honestly, this might be the only time all year I take the Red Wings. They are at home and playing who I have ranked as the second worst team in the league (Detroit is obviously the worst). The opponent is Ottawa, a club that is 0-5 its last five games. While the Red Wings have been really bad this year, you can’t deny they’ve been playing better lately. They’ve won twice in the last four games including 4-3 over Montreal on Tuesday.
The Senators have had major issues defensively during the current losing streak. They’ve allowed a total of 26 goals in the L5 games, giving up at least four every time out. Their most recent game, which was Tuesday, was the most lopsided of the bunch. They lost 6-1 at Washington, which hardly qualifies as a surprise as the Sens entered the game as +250 underdogs on the money line. Still though, it’s virtually impossible to want to take this team right now considering how they’ve been playing.
The win over Montreal on Tuesday marked the third time this season the Red Wings have beaten the Habs. They have just 11 wins overall. An 0-2 record vs. Ottawa is what they are out to avenge tonight and I like their chances as both of the Red Wings’ recent victories were here on home ice. Ottawa’s last road win came all the way back on December 4th! They are just 5-15-3 SU on the road this year and giving up 3.9 goals per game. 10* Detroit
|01-09-20||Predators -134 v. Blackhawks||Top||5-2||Win||100||12 h 30 m||Show|
10* Nashville (8:35 ET): The Predators became the latest NHL team to make a coaching change as they fired Peter Laviolette on Monday and replaced him with John Hynes. Unfortunately the team was unable to win Hynes' debut, but that game was against the Bruins, one of the best teams in the league. I thought the Preds competed well in that game and tonight they should turn things around against Chicago, a last place team that has been beseiged by injuries all season long.
The Blackhawks are the only team currently below Nashville in the Central Division standings. They had a chance to pass them Tuesday, but they too lost, 2-1 at home to Calgary. That performance came on the heels of a five game stretch where the club tallied four or more goals four separate times. But that's not something I expect to continue as Chicago ranks towards the bottom of the league, averaging just 2.9 goals per game.
While these teams have split a pair of meetings in Nashville this year, those games have seen the Predators outshoot the Blackhawks 92-44! Coaching changes typically lead to short-term improvement and that's what I expect from the Preds, who have a better YTD goal differential than Chicago. Scoring is not a problem for Nashville, even on the road as they average 3.6 goals per game. That's the second highest average in the league for road games. 10* Nashville
|01-09-20||Canucks v. Panthers -143||Top||2-5||Win||100||10 h 16 m||Show|
8* Florida (7:05 ET): Vancouver's season-best seven-game win streak came to an ugly end on Tuesday as they were clobbered 9-2 by Tampa Bay. While that was just "one game," it's also the start of what will be a five-game road-trip for the Canucks and this team has simply not played well away from home all season. The disturbing trend sees them allowing 3.5 goals per game while seeing their own scoring average dip to 2.9 gpg. Only one of those seven straight victories came on the road and I don't see them winning tonight in Miami.
Florida could really use a win as it looks like they may be relegated to nothing more than a Wild Card team at best. Currently, they are three points out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference. They are 4th in the Atlantic with 49 points, but they just don't compare favorably to any of the top three teams (Boston, Tampa Bay, Toronto). They'll host the Maple Leafs on Sunday, but before that they'll need to bounce back from a 5-2 loss here at home to Arizona their last time out. The good news is the Panthers are 13-8 SU this season after allowing 4+ goals.
This play boils down to the simple concept of home ice advantage. I already touched upon Vancouver's road woes this season. Well, Florida sees its scoring average rise to 3.7 gpg here at home, which is 4th most in the league. The Canucks' goal differential on the road, not surprisingly, is bottom 10 in the league. There have been six instances this NHL season of a team scoring six goals in a period. Two of those have come against Vancouver, both of them road games! This is also a revenge game for the Panthers, who lost 7-2 up in Vancouver in October. Again, it'll be a much different story with the home ice flipped. 8* Florida
|01-07-20||Canadiens -160 v. Red Wings||Top||3-4||Loss||-160||9 h 47 m||Show|
7* Montreal (7:35 ET): Boy does Montreal have its back against the wall here. Last night, they suffered their sixth consecutive loss, the fifth of which was by one goal. It was 3-2 at home vs. Winnipeg, a game where I unfortunately backed the Habs. The difference ended up being a short-handed goal they allowed in the 2nd period. As bleak as things may look now, tonight they are facing the worst team in the league and this should be the spot they get back on track.
Then again, it is a double revenge game for the Habs. They have shockingly lost twice to Detroit this year, something that cannot happen given the Red Wings have all of 10 wins all season. Both games were in Montreal too. Curiously though, the Canadiens have been a slightly better team on the road this year. They are averaging 3.5 goals per game. They've also won four straight times here in Detroit.
No matter what way you look at it, it's been a trying season in the Motor City as the Red Wings are the worst team in the league by just about every metric. They've lost eight of nine coming into tonight, the lone win coming New Year's Eve against San Jose. They've scored just six goals the last four games while giving up 4 in each of the last two. They are a horrendous 3-23 SU this season after allowing 4+ goals the previous game. 7* Montreal
|01-06-20||Jets v. Canadiens -141||Top||3-2||Loss||-141||10 h 18 m||Show|
10* Montreal (7:05 ET): As the Habs are set to play their third straight home game, they need this one badly. They've dropped five in a row overall, four of them by one goal, and are coming off an overtime loss here to the Penguins on Saturday. A slew of injuries have definitely been a factor, but help is on the way as defenseman Marco Scandella (a Quebec native) has arrived via trade. The Canadiens are currently six points back of the Wild Card, so winning here is a must. I think they will.
Over in the Western Conference, Winnipeg finds itself on the playoff fringe. They are one point back of the Wild Card, so this game is rather meaningful to them despite all the hockey that's still left to be played. But like the Canadiens, the Jets aren't exactly tearing it up lately. They've lost B2B games as well as 7 of 9. They too lost 3-2 in OT Saturday, falling at Minnesota. Though the game did got to overtime, the Jets were outshot badly in the contest, 44-21.
It certainly seems as if Montreal "should" have a better home record than 8-9-4 SU. After all, they've outshot the competition here by a pretty considerable margin (36.9 SF per game vs. 29.2 SA). My view is that both the shooting percentage and save percentage have to start improving moving forward. Meanwhile, Winnipeg seems pretty lucky to have a 12-7-2 SU road record as they are giving up 35.0 shots per game, a high number. Their only two goals scored Saturday came via the power play. Habs step up big in a "must win" spot. 10* Montreal
|01-06-20||Oilers v. Maple Leafs -208||Top||6-4||Loss||-208||10 h 47 m||Show|
6* Toronto (7:05 ET): Edmonton just won as a big ML underdog in Boston Saturday night, pulling a somewhat shocking 4-1 upset at +190. I can't see them doing it twice in a row, not with this being their third road game in five nights plus they're up against a red hot Toronto club. The Maple Leafs are 9-0-1 SU L10 games, a run which has really solidified them in the Atlantic Division. They have completely dominated the Oilers through the years, winning five straight including 4-1 in Edmonton last month. They have won 16 of the past 20 head to head meetings here at home.
The Oilers' season started strong, but I felt it was a bit of a mirage and sure enough they now find themselves on the fringes of playoff contention. There were a lot of come from behind victories in that strong start. Further evidence of that would be the fact they currently rank just 28th in Corsi For % (4th worst). They did not win B2B games once in December. The last time they did was right before Thanksgiving. Boston outshot them 36-26 on Saturday.
As mentioned above, Toronto is trending in a very different direction lately. As it often does, a coaching change provided the necessary "spark" as the Leafs are 15-4-1 SU since Sheldon Keefe took over behind the bench. They are typically scoring first in games (15 of 20 games under Keefe) and speaking of scoring, a 3-0 win over the Islanders on Saturday was the first time in the L10 games they DIDN'T score at least four goals. That was just the second shutout win of the year, but they are 13-5 SU off a win by 2+ goals. 6* Toronto
|01-04-20||Sharks v. Blue Jackets -138||Top||3-2||Loss||-138||4 h 57 m||Show|
10* Columbus (1:05 ET): Both teams here are having disappointing seasons, but San Jose's situation is the one that seems more dire. The Sharks only recently escaped the basement in the Western Conference. They did so by going into Pittsburgh and shocking the Penguins with a 3-2 overtime victory. But even after pulling that upset, the Sharks still have just 39 points and they've been outscored by 29 goals, the worst differential in the entire conference. I don't see them pulling two upsets in a row.
Columbus may not measure up to the top four teams in the Metro, but with 46 points they are only three back of the Wild Card. It's a two-game win streak for the Blue Jackets coming into Saturday's matinee as they defeated Florida here at home (4-1), then pulled an overtime shocker of their own Thursday, winning 2-1 as +190 ML dogs in Boston. The Blue Jackets are a pretty strong defensive club as they give up only 2.4 goals per game here at home.
Meanwhile, San Jose is allowing 3.33 goals per game, placing them among the five worst defensive teams in the league. It's not just defense though. The offensive numbers on the road are pretty dire as they average only 2.26 gpg, which is ahead of only last place teams New Jersey and Detroit. Before the shocker in Pittsburgh, the Sharks had lost 11 of 12, all but two of those losses coming in regulation. They have not won B2B games since November. C-Bus is 8-0-4 its L12 games, the longest active point streak in the league. 10* Columbus
|01-02-20||Sharks v. Penguins OVER 6||Top||3-2||Loss||-117||11 h 1 m||Show|
10* Over Sharks/Penguins (7:05 ET): Pittsburgh just lost its leading scorer Jake Guentzel for the rest of the regular season. But following three straight wins where they tallied 16 goals, I think we can probably count on them scoring a good number of goals tonight. They are averaging 3.5 per game at home and there's no reason to believe that won't continue as they get off plenty of shots as well. Not all the scoring came from Guentzel. Despite injuries, this remains one of the top teams in the league.
San Jose is having a down year. They went 2-9-2 in December, fired their head coach and now reside in last place in the Western Conference with just 37 points. Scoring has been difficult for the Sharks as they have scored two or less goals in five of the last six games. They come in averaging only 2.2 per game on the road and were just shut out by an awful Detroit club on New Year's Eve.
While this matchup certainly looks lopsided on paper, I think it could be more competitive than you may think. San Jose did score six times in a home win over Philadelphia last week. The key here is them scoring 2-3 goals, which I think they can do. While the Guentzel injury is obviously big for Pittsburgh, this is a team that has scored at least four goals in six of its last seven games. There's plenty of remaining firepower. 10* Over Sharks/Penguins
|12-31-19||Blackhawks v. Flames -183||Top||5-3||Loss||-183||11 h 11 m||Show|
8* Calgary (9:05 ET): The Flames will be our last bet of 2019 as they look to avoid what would be a fifth straight loss at home. Fortunately, they are facing a team they've gone a perfect 6-0 against the L2 seasons. We played Calgary last time out and they really let us down in a 5-2 loss here at home to Vancouver. The Canucks were playing the second night of a back to back, yet they came out looking like the fresher team in taking a 3-0 first period lead. I can't see anything but a very motivated Calgary team getting two points tonight.
Despite just getting hit wish a rash of injuries, Chicago has somehow posted B2B wins as an underdog. Five players are either on IR or out for the season, including Brent Seabrook, Brandon Saad and Calvin de Haan. Eventually that will catch up with the Blackhawks. Tonight seems like a logical spot for them to lose. This team is giving up a ton of shots per game (37.3 on the road!). Given all of the above, them winning a fifth straight time as an underdog just seems illogical.
Calgary not only won the Pacific Division LY, they also finished first in the Western Conference. But like the top seed in the Eastern Conference (Tampa Bay), they got upset in the first round of the playoffs. I figured they'd regress some this season, but being in 4th place in the division and on the fringe of the playoffs is disappointing. Good news is they can still change that. This should be a bounce back game. 8* Calgary
|12-31-19||Jets v. Avalanche -201||Top||7-4||Loss||-201||10 h 11 m||Show|
8* Colorado (8:05 ET): It was just a few seasons ago that the Avalanche had one of the worst regular seasons in NHL history, finishing with just 48 points. How far they've come since 2016-17. Following B2B 90+ point campaigns, they already have 50 points entering New Year's Eve when they'll host division rival Winnipeg. But despite this great start, the Avs do come into the final day of 2019 on a two-game losing streak. I think they end it tonight on home ice.
Winnipeg isn't exactly playing well either. They've dropped three straight and five out of their last six. They've allowed at least four goals in each of those five losses. A home and home w/ the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blues didn't go well. After losing 5-4 at home in overtime, they were beaten 4-1 Sunday in St. Louis.
Colorado has lost three consecutive home games, something that has to be on the players' minds entering tonight. In their last home game, they lost as a -210 favorite to the Wild. Can't see them dropping another one in a similar price range. One of the reasons I'm so confident in the Avs' fortunes is their +28 YTD goal differential, which is the best in the Western Conference. While the power play has recently struggled to convert, this looks like a spot where that could change as the Jets' penalty killing has been atrocious (just 50% last 7 games). 8* Colorado
|12-31-19||Lightning -170 v. Sabres||Top||6-4||Win||100||9 h 11 m||Show|
8* Tampa Bay (7:05 ET): I'm on the record as saying the Lightning are going to make a move in the Atlantic Division. With a three-game win streak, they're already up to 4th place and they have the second best YTD goal differential in the division at +15. Getting into the top three in the division is critical because you get a guaranteed playoff spot. It's very likely that both Wild Cards in the Eastern Conference are going to go to the much deeper Metropolitan Division.
Remember that the Lightning won a NHL record 62 games in LY's regular season. A stunning first round playoff exit took all the shine off that season, but this is a dangerous club that still deserves to be mentioned among the league's elite. As for tonight's opponent, Buffalo, we are again witnessing a quick decline after what was a strong start to the season. The Sabres started 8-1-1 but are just 9-15-6 since. That's a .333 win percentage. Last year was a similar type deal with a 17-6-2 record going into Thanksgiving only for them to miss the playoffs.
The Sabres just got swept in a home and home by first place Boston. No shame in that I suppose, but before that they were beaten by the lowly Senators. Overall, Buffalo has won just once in its past seven games. They've been outscored 25-12. All three games in Tampa Bay's win streak were at home where they average almost 4.0 goals per game. But I have faith that they can get the job done on the road as they outscored those L3 opponents 13-6. They are already 3-0 vs. the Sabres this season and have beaten them six straight times overall. 8* Tampa Bay
|12-29-19||Canucks v. Flames -175||Top||5-2||Loss||-175||11 h 25 m||Show|
7* Calgary (9:35 ET): The Pacific is the most wide open division in the NHL with several teams already having spent time at the top. Right now it's Vegas in first place, but you've got four teams within four points of them. Two of those four meet here. Vancouver has won four in a row, all at home, as they're looking good again. But right ahead of them is Calgary, who is off a very impressive 5-1 win at rival Edmonton Friday night. The money line "tells the story" here and I'm backing the Flames.
Part of the reason that the Canucks find themselves as such a prohibitive underdog for this matchup is the fact they just played last night. They outlasted the Kings, 3-2. Though they never trailed and even had a 2-0 lead after one period, it must be pointed out that Vancouver was outshot in the game 51-26. It took a "herculean" effort from goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who made a career-high 49 saves in the win. But on the road this club is giving up 3.3 goals per game.
Though they're off a big win over their rival, don't expect the Flames to take this game lightly. Their previous homestand ended with three consecutive losses, so that's a streak they're certainly interested in ending. There's been only one prior meeting between these division rivals this season. It was here in Calgary and the Flames pulled off 3-0 shutout. They may not have to deal with Markstrom tonight with this being a B2B for the Canucks. 7* Calgary
|12-28-19||Canadiens v. Lightning -180||Top||4-5||Win||100||11 h 50 m||Show|
6* Tampa Bay (7:05 ET): I mentioned this in the analysis the last time I played the Lightning, but this team appears to be the proverbial "sleeping giant." That last play came Monday when Tampa Bay hosted Florida. It ended up being a convincing 6-1 victory right here at Amalie Arena. That was the first of what will be six consecutive games vs. Atlantic Division opponents and the Lightning took full advantage of the four power play opportunities they were afforded, scoring three times when having the man advantage.
Part of the reason I feel the Lightning are a "sleeping giant" should be obvious. This club set a NHL record for regular season wins just last year (62). So you know what we're dealing with. The fact they are languishing in sixth place in the Atlantic is downright shocking, but keep in mind they also have a +13 YTD goal differential, which is better than every other team in the division besides first place Boston. I still consider TB one of the top teams in the entire Eastern Conference, especially at home where they average an impressive 3.9 goals per game.
Montreal is the next division opponent Tampa will face. The Habs are currently third in the Atlantic, but only two points ahead of the Lightning. So TB's current standing in the division is a real thin line. Two points tonight could elevate them into a third place tie. Montreal is off a 6-2 win at Winnipeg Monday night, but is just 4-11 SU this year after a game in which it tallied 4+ goals. This is also their fifth straight road game after playing four straight in Western Canada. The Canadiens have lost 7 of 9 matchups to the Lightning the L3 seasons including all four on the road. 6* Tampa Bay
|12-27-19||Wild v. Avalanche -175||Top||6-4||Loss||-175||12 h 44 m||Show|
7* Colorado (8:05 ET): The Avalanche have a legit claim to call themselves the best team in the Western Conference. While they are five points back of the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blues, whom they've struggled against head to head, no other team in the West has more points than the Avs' 49. What sets Colorado apart though is their YTD goal differential of +31. It's easily the best in the West w/ St. Louis (+19) #2. I think it'll be an easy two points for the home team in Denver tonight.
While Colorado is in second place in the Central Division, Minnesota is second from the bottom. The Wild can be a formidable club at home where their record is 10-2-3 SU. But on the road, they are just 8-13-2 SU. Those 13 regulation losses are tied for most in the league coming into tonight. Look no further than the last two games for evidence of the Wild's inconsistency. While they shut out Calgary 3-0 on Monday, that came on the heels of a 6-0 loss to Winnipeg. Both games were at home.
The Avalanche won their last game 7-3 against Vegas and that was on the road. They should be motivated coming into tonight as prior to beating the Golden Knights, they'd dropped B2B home games. Making the Avs' season all the more impressive is that they've had to deal with lots of injuries. But they are pretty healthy now and should overwhelm an opponent giving up 3.7 goals per game on the road. The Avs average 3.7 gpg at home. 7* Colorado
|12-23-19||Panthers v. Lightning -174||Top||1-6||Win||100||11 h 16 m||Show|
7* Tampa Bay (7:05 ET): One of things I find to be most perplexing this NHL season has been the failure of the Lightning to ascend in the Atlantic Division. After all, this was a club that set a record last year with 62 regular season wins. We all remember their unceremonious 1st round exit at the hands of Columbus though and perhaps that's had a "carryover effect" because right now TB is only sixth in the division with just 38 points. But, even after B2B losses (to the Stars & Capitals), I'm not about to "give up" on this team. Look for them to get two points tonight in this all-Sunshine State matchup.
Florida is one of the teams currently ahead of the Lightning in the Atlantic. They've won three straight and have 41 points. The offense is humming right now with 17 goals scored during the win streak. However, let's not get tricked by a small sample size. Prior to this win streak, the Panthers had lost 7 of 10. While they do rank near the top of the league in goals scored for the year, this team also isn't shy about giving up its fair share as well. In 15 road games, the Panthers have been outscored due to giving up an average of 3.53 goals per game. Only eight teams are allowing more goals per game on the road.
Tampa Bay has no problem scoring at home. In fact, they lead the league in that department with an average of 3.83 goals per game. These B2B losses that they've suffered are some real "head-scratchers" as they outshot Dallas 48-20 (lost in OT) and then were 0 for 7 on the power play against Washington, which included a 2-man advantage in the third period when the game was tied. (Lightning lead the league on the PP). Florida needed 42 saves from backup goalie Driedger to beat Carolina its last time out. Last time these teams played was two weeks ago and TB won a low-scoring game (2-1) in Miami. It was their eighth time beating the Panthers in the last nine tries. 7* Tampa Bay
|12-21-19||Devils v. Blue Jackets -180||Top||1-5||Win||100||8 h 46 m||Show|
6* Columbus (7:05 ET): Already dealing with a long list of injuries, the last thing the Blue Jackets needed was to see Cam Atkinson go down with a lower-body injury on Thursday. Atkinson set career highs in goals, assists and points last season. He's out for at least the next two games. But while the Columbus injury report may be a bit longer than normal, the team is being given some relief Saturday with a visit from last place New Jersey. Not only are the Devils second to last in the league in points, this is a horrendous spot for them having played in Washington last night (lost 6-3).
The Devils were tied 2-2 for most of the second period last night, but then came a four-goal blitz by the Capitals that put the game out of reach. Having recently traded Taylor Hall, morale is low in New Jersey even though they'd won two in a row prior to last night's setback. The team still has just 27 points and has been outscored by 39 goals. Only Detroit is worse in both regards.
Columbus has won three games in a row, the last two coming against last place teams Detroit and Los Angeles. So this should be "old hat" for them. Also it should be noted that the win streak began w/ a very impressive 3-0 shutout of the Capitals. Prior to that, Washington hadn't been shutout this season. This is arguably the best stretch C-bus has had all season and I see it continuing at the expense of a very bad team playing in a bad spot. The Blue Jackets are 7-1 vs. the Devils over the last three seasons. 6* Columbus
|12-20-19||Stars v. Panthers UNDER 5.5||Top||4-7||Loss||-104||9 h 22 m||Show|
10* Under Stars/Panthers (7:05 ET): Dallas played last night and pulled off a surprise OT win in Tampa Bay by a score of 4-3. Outscoring the Lightning in TB isn't easy, especially when you're facing a 48-20 disadvantage in shots like the Stars did. Somehow they were able to overcome that disadvantage and basically all the credit goes to goalie Anton Khudobin, who made 45 saves. Maybe that shouldn't come as too big a shock as the Stars have the lowest goals allowed per game average in the league entering Friday (2.31). Tonight they are in Miami to face the Panthers.
Florida put up six goals in their last game, an easy win over a lousy Ottawa club. It obviously won't be that easy tonight against the stingy Stars. Note in the three games prior to the win over the Senators, the Panthers totaled just four goals. All those were at home as well. Florida has been one of the league's highest scoring teams thus far, averaging 3.39 per game, which ranks 5th. But the Under is 4-1-2 in December for them, a sign that things may be about to change.
Dallas had gone Under in five straight prior to last night. They were obviously pretty fortunate to score four goals on only 20 shots. Note they were down 3-2 going into the final five minutes of regulation, meaning it was very close to a sixth straight Under. They'll likely go w/ Ben Bishop in goal tonight (.950 save percentage L4 starts) while Sergei Bobrovsky is likely to be in between the pipes for the Panthers. Bobrovsky has a 1.69 GAA and .953 save percentage in December. 10* Under Stars/Panthers
|12-19-19||Islanders v. Bruins -180||Top||3-2||Loss||-180||11 h 41 m||Show|
7* Boston (7:05 ET): I was stunned as to how poorly the Islanders played Tuesday night (I had them). They lost 8-3 at home to the Predators by giving up the game's final seven goals. The Isles entered that game 13-2-1 SU at home. An equally stunning result that night was Boston losing on home ice to Los Angeles. The Bruins were -275 on the ML for the contest as they fell for the sixth time in the last seven games. Somebody's gotta bounce back here and I believe it's going to be the Bruins.
While the Islanders are a worthy adversary, you have to remember it wasn't that long ago that it seemed as if Boston might run away with the President's Trophy (awarded to team w/ most regular season points). They still comfortably lead the Atlantic Division - with a 10-point advantage - and their +28 goal differential is tops in the Eastern Conference. Six of their seven home losses this year, including the one to LA on Tuesday, have come past regulation. It's hard to fathom a team this good being in this kind of prolonged slump. It's only a matter of time before they break out.
The Islanders' loss Tuesday was their worst of the year and the eight goals allowed were obviously a season-high (previously had not allowed more than 5 in any game). They still lead the league in goals allowed (80), though Boston (90) isn't far behind and has played three more games. Head to head, the Bruins have had the Isles' number in recent years, winning 12 of the last 14 matchups including seven straight. NY isn't nearly as good on the road as their scoring average drops to 2.6 goals per game. They are 5-14 SU after giving up 5+ goals the previous game. 7* Boston
|12-17-19||Predators v. Islanders -139||Top||8-3||Loss||-139||11 h 42 m||Show|
8* NY Islanders (7:05 ET): Terrible spot for the Predators tonight as they played last night at MSG (did beat the Rangers 5-2) and are up against an Islanders team that has been tremendous at home so far, especially on the goals allowed side of the ledger. Not only that, the Isles have won three in a row overall (two of the wins on the road). They've got some revenge on the mind too after losing both games to Nashville last season. The Islanders are 6-1 when playing w/ exactly two days rest.
New York is currently second in the Metropolitan, trailing only Washington. They are 13-2-1 SU at home this season. No team has given up fewer goals and it's really not even close as the next closest team has given up 12 more. They allow just 2.3 gpg and lately they've been even stingier, giving up just 1.8 gpg the last five contests. A 3-2 OT win over the Sabres on Saturday extended the Islanders' home win streak to six games. Consider that despite having played the fewest games in the league, the Islanders have the 7th most points.
Nashville has had and up and down season to this point and currently sits in sixth place in the Central Division. They would not be in the playoffs were they to start today. The Preds are giving up 3.4 goals per game on the road, putting themselves at a big disadvantage here as the Isles are 4th in the league in goals allowed at home while that average has Nashville near the bottom on the road. Really, the Islanders couldn't ask for a better situation to pick up two points. Nashville lost the only other time this year it was in a back to back. 8* NY Islanders
|12-16-19||Avalanche +104 v. Blues||Top||2-5||Loss||-100||12 h 48 m||Show|
|12-15-19||Flyers v. Jets -145||Top||3-7||Win||100||8 h 15 m||Show|
10* Winnipeg (5:05 ET): The Flyers are one of the league's most improved teams this year, but all of a sudden they've dropped three of four, which has them in the precarious fifth position in the Metro. Improved goaltending has been a big key for Allan Vigneault's team (remember the Flyers infamously used SEVEN different goaltenders last season), but numbers on the road remain suspect. Tonight the Flyers are in Winnipeg where they'll encounter an angry Jets team.
Winnipeg is off an embarrassing defeat as they lost to the league's worst team (Detroit) on Thursday. They had just beaten the Red Wings 5-1 here on home ice two days prior, so not being able to sweep them was definitely a shock. Now the Wings did win again last night. But before that they'd lost 12 in a row including 10 straight in regulation. My guess is the Jets are going to come out angry this afternoon. Before losing in Detroit, they had gone 6-1-1 the previous eight games.
This is not a good spot for Philadelphia as they played last night in Minnesota (lost 4-1). While there's no shame in losing on the road, last night's result does unscore an issue w/ this Flyers club, that being they are simply not a very good road team. They are 7-8-1 (compared to 10-2-4 at home) and giving up 3.3 goals per game. Winnipeg has had two days off to stew over the Detroit loss where a number of "fluke plays" went against them. The Flyers had just 18 shots on goal last night and lost two forwards to injury. 10* Winnipeg
|12-13-19||Devils v. Avalanche OVER 6||Top||1-3||Loss||-120||13 h 15 m||Show|
10* Over Devils/Avalanche (9:05 ET): Colorado is a team I've been wanting to speak on for awhile now. I just haven't had the right opportunity. Winners of seven of their last eight games (beat a good Flyers team 3-1 Wednesday night), the Avs now have - by far - the best goal differential in the Western Conference. It's at +29, more than double what any other team in the West has. In fact, it's the best goal differential in the entire league right now.
Judging by the line, it should be another easy win this evening as New Jersey comes to town. The Devils have the second fewest number of points in the entire league right now, ahead of only hideous Detroit. It's a six-game losing streak for NJ, who has been outscored by 37 goals in 30 games. Only two teams - the Red Wings and Sharks - have allowed more goals this year. So, with their top line back intact, you have to think the Avs are salivating a bit at the notion of how often they should be lighting the lamp tonight.
In the L8 games alone, Colorado has scored 33 times. The only team in the league w/ more goals on the season is Washington. They average 4.0 per game at home and are getting a lot of shots to boot. On the flip side, New Jersey gives up lots of shots and goals (3.9 per game on the road). The only concern the Avalanche should have going into this game is how rusty goaltender Philipp Grubauer might be if he does indeed make his return. If he doesn't, backup Francouz may not be able to continue his strong recent play. The Avs are also down a defenseman (Makar). The Devils' goaltending situation is dire. 10* Over Devils/Avalanche
|12-12-19||Rangers v. Sharks -150||Top||6-3||Loss||-150||11 h 13 m||Show|
8* San Jose (10:35 ET): Following a five-game losing streak, the Sharks fired coach Peter DeBoer. Tonight is their first game for interim Bob Boughner. It’s also a home game. The last four were all on the road. They face a weak Rangers team. Normally, after a coaching change, we see teams respond positively. That’s what I’m banking on here.
The Sharks were outscored 15-3 the L3 games, causing DeBoer to be shown the door. Prior to the five game slide, they’d won five of six. So they are capable. This is a better team at home, as you might expect. They’re due to start scoring as well.
The Rangers have 33 points, one more than San Jose. But they couldn’t beat the last place Kings their last time out. That was the third time in five games they were held to one goal. This boils down to the sense of urgency for the Sharks. I also noticed they’ve lost three straight times to the Rangers, something that won’t sit well with them either. Sharks are the better team here. 8* San Jose
|12-12-19||Maple Leafs v. Flames OVER 6||Top||2-4||Push||0||10 h 59 m||Show|
8* Over Maple Leafs/Flames (9:05 ET): After finishing first in the West last season, Calgary started slow this year. But a coaching change seems to have done the trick as they’ve gone 7-0-1 the last eight games to get to third in the Pacific. They’ve won six straight, scoring 24 goals in the process. The last four games have all gone Over.
Toronto has notched nine goals in its last two games, both road wins. It’s a difference of three points between 2nd and 6th place in the Atlantic right now and only the top three are guaranteed to make the playoffs. So the Leafs will have to keep it up as they play their next two games in Alberta (Edmonton Saturday).
Toronto averages 3.5 goals per game on the road. Calgary is averaging 3.4 gpg on the road. Both are solid averages. Plus both are in good form offensively of late. It all adds up to a likely Over. 8* Over Maple Leafs/Flames
|12-12-19||Oilers v. Wild OVER 5.5||Top||5-6||Win||100||9 h 56 m||Show|
8* Over Oilers/Wild (8:05 ET): Edmonton has led the Pacific Division much of the season, but they’ve been far from a dominant first place team. They’ve scored only one more goal than they’ve allowed. It was not a stellar defensive effort on Tuesday when they lost 6-3 to Carolina. Scoring hasn’t been a real concern. Only two teams in the Western Conference have more goals scored this year. But only three have conceded more.
It’s not difficult to figure Minnesota out. This is not a good road team as their record outside the Twin Cities is just 7-11-2. But at home, they are 7-1-3. They are averaging 3.55 goals per game here on home ice. That’s up from 2.6 on the road. But like the Oilers, the Wild give up their fair share. They are one of the three teams in the West that have allowed more goals than Edmonton. 8* Over Oilers/Wild
|12-08-19||Sabres v. Oilers OVER 6||Top||3-2||Loss||-120||11 h 38 m||Show|
10* Over Sabres/Oilers (8:05 ET): Though they continue to lead the Pacific Division, Edmonton has been struggling to score recently. In a five-game stretch where they are just 2-3 (including a bad 5-2 home loss to lowly Ottawa), they have scored a total of just 10 goals. But reinforcements are on their way as the club's top line figures to be back on the ice together for the first time in four games. Also, second line center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is expected back here as well. You can look for the Oilers to get back on track tonight offensively.
It also helps that they are facing Buffalo. The Sabres lost in overtime last night, 6-5. It was their second straight one-goal loss here in Western Canada as they fell 4-3 in Calgary on Thursday. Three of the Sabres last four road games have seen them allow at least four goals and they are giving up 3.5 gpg on the road for the year. On the bright side, they've scored 22 goals the last five games and 15 in the last three. So tonight's game has all the makings of a wild shootout.
The Oilers won both times they played the Sabres last year. They scored 11 goals in the two games. They are averaging 3.4 gpg at home this season. With the Sabres having scored five or more goals four times in the last eight games, I am all aboard the Over tonight. 10* Over Sabres/Oilers
|12-06-19||Coyotes v. Penguins -162||Top||0-2||Win||100||10 h 45 m||Show|
7* Pittsburgh (7:05 ET): The last time the Penguins took the ice, I made them my 10* Game of the Week. They made short work of the Blues, winning 3-0 and gaining a measure of revenge for a loss in St. Louis the game prior. Despite a myriad of injuries, the most notable one being to Sidney Crosby, the Pens have stayed strong. Their YTD goal differential of +18 is third best in the Eastern Conference. They are only 5th in the Metropolitan Division right now, but that goal differential is slightly better than tonight's opponent despite the Coyotes leading the Pacific. Back Pittsburgh again tonight.
Winning in shutout fashion Wednesday was certainly a welcome reprieve for a Penguins team that had just given up 16 goals its previous three games. But the goals allowed side of the ledger has not been an issue here at the Igloo where they are only allowing 2.3 gpg. Scoring is also not an issue as they average 3.6 gpg. Only two teams in the league have a better home goal differential (Boston, Philadelphia). I also like Pittsburgh's 10-4 SU record vs. the Western Conference.
Arizona has Darcy Keumper, who leads the league in both save percentage (.937) and goals against average (1.92). He made 28 saves in last night's 3-1 win at Philadelphia. But with this being a back to back, there's a decent chance Keumper may not be back between the pipes tonight. Regardless, the Coyotes were fortunate to win last night's game as they only managed 18 shots on goal. The 'Yotes have lost the last two times they've been in a back to back. Pittsburgh is 7-0-2 its last nine home games and has a clear edge here. 7* Pittsburgh
|12-04-19||Blues v. Penguins -118||Top||0-3||Win||100||13 h 58 m||Show|
10* Pittsburgh (7:05 ET): The Penguins have dropped two in a row, one of those coming to the team they're facing tonight, St. Louis. The front end of this home and home took place in St. Louis with the Blues walking away the victors by a score of 5-2. The Pens lost by that same score the night before in Columbus. But now they are back home and have the advantage of three days off while St. Louis had to play a game in Chicago Monday night. I'm calling for revenge here.
St. Louis is hot right now. The defending Stanley Cup Champs have won four straight and continue to lead the Central Division w/ 42 points. The win streak has even opened up a 7-point gap between them and the rest of the field. A 10-2-3 SU road record is "nothing to sneeze at," especially considering some of the places they've recently won at (Tampa Bay, Dallas). But the Blues are still being outshot on the year, a troubling sign as they can't continue to convert on 11.6% of their shot attempts like they have the L5 games.
Also, those same L5 games have seen Blues' goalies post a .949 save percentage. Compare that to the .873 posted by Pittsburgh during the same time. Over the course of the season, the Blues' save percentage on the road is identical to that of the Penguins at home. The teams also have identical YTD goal differentials (+15). There are injuries, but the last time Pittsburgh took the ice at home, they scored 8 goals. They've won three in a row at home. 10* Pittsburgh
|12-03-19||Senators v. Canucks -152||Top||2-5||Win||100||10 h 53 m||Show|
8* Vancouver (10:05 ET): This is almost a "must-win" for a Canucks team that seems to be "wasting away" what was a fine start to the season. After 14 games, the club was standing tall at 9-3-2. Now they are 13-11-4 after losing 10 of 14. The most recent defeat came Sunday night, here on home ice, against Edmonton. That loss cost them what would have been a home and home sweep of the first place Oilers, who are now seven points up on Vancouver in the Pacific.
Ottawa is not a good team as they have only 23 points on the season. Only two teams have less points, those being Detroit and New Jersey. The Senators have lost four in a row coming into tonight while being outscored 13-4. Its their third consecutive road game and while they've had a two-day break, they're in Edmonton tomorrow night. The road has generally been a disaster for the Sens thus far as they are 4-10-1 while getting outscored by 1.4 goals per game.
Meanwhile, Vancouver is averaging a healthy 3.9 gpg at home this season. You'd expect them to be sporting a better home record than 5-3-3 right now. The next four games can change that as they are all here in British Columbia. The Canucks' 92 goals scored are most in the Pacific Division and well ahead of Ottawa's scoring pace (only 68 goals scored). I thought they played better than Edmonton Sunday night, but giving up two PP goals proved costly. Won't happen again tonight. 8* Vancouver
|12-03-19||Coyotes v. Blue Jackets UNDER 5.5||Top||4-2||Loss||-135||9 h 31 m||Show|
9* Under Coyotes/Blue Jackets (7:05 ET): Decent amount of juice to lay here to play the Under, but that's for good reason as neither side is known for doing a ton of scoring. Columbus is 28th in the league at 2.54 goals per game while Arizona isn't too far ahead, sitting at only 24th at 2.64. The teams played to a 3-2 final out in the desert last month with the Blue Jackets coming out ahead. The Under is now 4-0-1 in all five meetings over the last three seasons. Take the Under.
Columbus was just shutout its last time on the ice. They were blanked 2-0 by the Islanders, making it the 7th time this year they were held to one goal or less. That's not good news when facing a Coyotes team that is among the league leaders in fewest goals allowed. The 'Yotes are giving up just 2.32 gpg on the season. Only league-leading Boston has allowed fewer. By the way, the Under is a perfect 5-0 for the Blue Jackets at home this year when the O/U line is 5.5.
Arizona is coming off a tough loss in which it surrendered four unanswered goals. Early on it was looking good as they scored on their first two shots of the game. But that 2-0 lead was short-lived as the Sharks stormed back for four of their own and the 'Yotes never scored again. They figure to not have too many scoring opportunities tonight as C-bus is giving up only 27.2 shots per game, which is among the fewest in the league. Luckily, Arizona will have Darcy Keumper in goal. The league leader in GAA (1.97), Keumper was not in goal for the loss to San Jose. 9* Under Coyotes/Blue Jackets
|12-01-19||Oilers v. Canucks -123||Top||3-2||Loss||-123||11 h 13 m||Show|
10* Vancouver (10:05 ET): This is the second game of a home and home between two of Western Canada's teams. The first took place last night in Edmonton w/ visiting Vancouver winning 5-2. While that result showed that home ice isn't always all it's cracked up to be, I also don't see the road team winning both of these games. I've stated my issues w/ the Oilers in the past as they've been living dangerously, posting an irregularly high number of come from behind wins. Look for the Canucks to sweep this home and home.
This is not a great bit of scheduling for the road team. Edmonton had just played five straight on the road before losing at home last night. Now it's back on the road. The Oilers have lost two straight, getting outscored 9-3 in those games. This is not a team that scores a ton on the road (just 2.8 gpg) and they continue to be outshot over the course of the whole season.
Vancouver just wrapped up a six-game road trip last night and will now be at home for the next five. It's a favorable stretch w/ some bad teams coming in (like Ottawa on Tuesday) and the Canucks have been a high-scoring club here in B.C. by averaging 4.1 goals per game. It's a little amazing that they are just 5-2-3 SU on home ice considering they've outscored opponents here by over a full goal per game. My view is that this is going to be a good week for Vancouver and it starts tonight with two points. 10* Vancouver
|11-29-19||Blues v. Stars -148||Top||3-1||Loss||-148||22 h 48 m||Show|
8* Dallas (8:35 ET): A 3-0 loss in Chicago Tuesday night ended a very impressive 12-game run for the Stars. During that time, they went 11-0-1 and scored 47 goals. The run has them in second in the Central Division, trailing only the team they'll face Friday, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blues. St. Louis has also been hot of late, going 10-2-3 SU its L15 overall and 6-0-2 its L8 on the road. But this game being in Dallas, where the Stars haven't lost this month, absolutely matters.
The Stars may be four points back of the Blues in the division, but I feel they are the better team. Both teams have the same number of wins and losses, the only difference is that six of St. Louis' 11 losses have come beyond regulation. But Dallas has the slightly better YTD goal differential and unlike the Blues, they're actually outshooting their opponents. The Stars also are among the league leaders in fewest goals allowed. They are allowing just 2.0 per game at home.
You have to give St. Louis credit for beating Tampa Bay twice in an eight-day span. The second win came Wednesday. But before that they'd also been swept in a home and home by slumping Nashville. The Blues have dropped five of eight overall. This is a rematch from October 5th, the second game of the season, where the Blues won 3-2 at home. That game saw St. Louis rally from a 2-1 third period deficit. This time they are at home and out for revenge. 8* Dallas
|11-29-19||Maple Leafs -167 v. Sabres||Top||4-6||Loss||-167||17 h 18 m||Show|
7* Toronto (4:05 ET): A couple days ago, I wrote about what a jumbled mess the NHL's Atlantic Division seems to be. Boston has raced out in front, but after that it's "anybody's ball game." You have to expect Tampa Bay will be surging up the standings at some point and the same can probably be said for Toronto. The Maple Leafs just won their last game 6-0 (over lowly Detroit) and have now won three straight, all on the road. I like them Friday as big favorites in Buffalo.
The Sabres seem to be trending in the opposite direction. They are just 2-8-2 SU this month and have dropped 11 of 13 overall. This would be the second year in a row the Sabres are quickly fading after a strong start. Last year, they opened 17-6-2 SU only to be well out of playoff contention down the stretch. This year, the start was better and the fade faster. They just lost to a Calgary team that's having all sorts of trouble - on and off the ice - right now.
Coaching changes happen a lot more in this sport and Toronto recently made one. A six-game losing streak led to the dismissal of Mike Babcock and the Leafs haven't lost since. It's now Sheldon Keefe's team and he'll look to continue a streak set by his predecessor as the Leafs have beaten the Sabres five straight times. Goalie Frederik Andersen has been really strong of late between the pipes w/ a .956 save percentage his L3 starts. He has a 10-3 SU career record vs. Buffalo. 7* Toronto
|11-27-19||Maple Leafs v. Red Wings OVER 6||Top||6-0||Push||0||11 h 55 m||Show|
10* Over Maple Leafs/Red Wings (7:05 ET): Compared to the Metro, the Atlantic Division seems a lot more wide open. Well, Boston (37 points) looks to be running away w/ things and I think it's fair to say you can expect Tampa Bay to be near the top by season's end. But after that, the division is a wide open mess w/ no other team sporting a positive YTD goal differential. The only team you should "write off" at this point is Detroit, who is - objectively speaking - the worst team in the league. Their involvement in this game has me on the Over for one simple reason. They've allowed the most goals in the league.
The Red Wings also carry a six-game losing streak into tonight. During that time, they've been outscored 23-13, which actually isn't as terrible as one might think. But the number of goals they allow is a massive problem. They've allowed 13 more than every team but one (Florida). Having allowed the most goals in the league is compounded by the fact Detroit has also scored the fewest. They were shutout in their last game, a 2-0 loss to Carolina Sunday that found us on the right side. But, as I'm about to get into, they should have their chances to score tonight.
Toronto has given up the third most goals in the league. They also are allowing plenty of shots per game (33.4), which obviously lends itself to giving up goals. That's the fifth most shots allowed in the league on a per game basis. But the Leafs did score five times in their last game and also tallied five goals the last time they faced Detroit. That 5-2 victory in the Motor City marked the fourth time in the past five meetings that the Over hit. All four Overs saw at least seven total goals scored. Should be a similar deal tonight. 10* Over Maple Leafs/Red Wings
|11-27-19||Panthers v. Capitals -158||Top||3-4||Win||100||11 h 52 m||Show|
7* Washington (7:05 ET): Florida is currently second in the Atlantic w/ 29 points, but that is not something you should put much stock into here, or moving forward. The Panthers have a -1 YTD goal differential, owed to the fact they have allowed the second most goals overall. Only the worst team in the league (Detroit) has let more in the back of the net. This would seem to be a major problem when getting ready to face a Capitals team that leads the NHL in goals scored. Expect this to be an easy two points for the home team.
The Caps have lost two in a row for the first time in a well over a month. Before the B2B losses, they had gone 14-2-2 over an 18-game stretch. They still lead the Metro mind you w/ 37 points. While they were thoroughly outplayed in a shocking 4-1 loss to the Rangers seven days ago, the 2-1 loss to Vancouver on Saturday (went to a shootout) clearly was a game they should have won. Adding to the Caps motivation here is the fact they've lost three straight time to the Panthers at home. That's not something you'd expect.
Florida also comes into tonight having dropped two straight. Par for the course, they allowed nine goals in losses to Carolina and Buffalo. Both teams may be in similar situation, but the favorite is clearly better positioned to bounce back. Washington also has had three days off, a situation where they are 2-0 SU this year. This is an elite offensive club facing one of the worst defensive clubs in the league. 7* Washington
|11-25-19||Flames v. Penguins -150||Top||2-3||Win||100||10 h 6 m||Show|
10* Philadelphia (7:05 ET): Just when you thought Vancouver's hot start to the season had been exposed, they go out and pull B2B upsets on the road. They won at both Nashville and Washington, the latter coming in a shootout. Speaking of shootouts, this is a rematch of a game that went to one as Vancouver ended up winning 3-2 back on October 12th. The Flyers have struggled all season in shootouts (league leading 8 losses in them), but at the same time they've only been beaten in regulation one time here at home. Off a tough loss to Calgary (in a shootout, of course), I look for the Flyers to bounce back and get two points tonight.
The Canucks were big underdogs on the ML in these last two victories. Cashing in at +145 and +160 may look nice, but both wins were somewhat fluky. Beating Nashville 6-3 on Thursday saw Vancouver tally FIVE power play goals in a game they were outshot 48-23. The 2-1 win over Washington on Saturday not only went to a shootout, it also marked the 1st time all season that the Canucks won a game in which they scored two or fewer goals. Bottom line: I don't see them pulling a 3rd straight upset on the road.
Philly has dropped five of six overall w/ three of those five losses a part of those league-leading eight in shootouts. Saturday's 3-2 setback at the hands of a Calgary team that had NOT been playing well saw the Flyers blow a late lead in regulation. They outshot the Flames 38-27. It was a game they should not have lost, plain and simple. The Flyers are averaging 3.4 goals per game at home while the Canucks only average 2.6 on the road. That's a more sizable difference than you think. 10* Philadelphia
|11-24-19||Hurricanes -172 v. Red Wings||Top||2-0||Win||100||10 h 51 m||Show|
10* Carolina (7:05 ET): Two teams moving in vastly different directions meet tonight in the Motor City. Carolina, who won last night, has gone 5-1 in its last six games. Meanwhile, Detroit has lost five in a row, including last night’s 5-1 setback in New Jersey. The Hurricanes have already blown out the Red Wings once this year (7-3) and I see no reason why it won’t happen again on Sunday.
The Canes have scored at least four goals in each of their last five wins. It was a 4-2 win over Florida last night. Considering they scored seven the last time they played the Red Wings, it should be another big night offensively here. This is one of the top scoring teams in the league for the season (3.5 goals per game) and they also get off plenty of shots on a per game basis. Detroit is giving up 3.8 goals per game as well, which is the worst average in the league.
As if this matchup wasn’t already unfavorable enough for the Red Wings, they’ll also be playing without their leading scorer tonight. Anthony Mantha, who has 12 goals and 23 points, left the game in the first period last night. While the injury remains undisclosed at press time, it is known that Mantha is going to miss “at least a week.” Detroit gave up four goals in the third period of last night’s 5-1 loss, so their collective spirit probably couldn’t be any lower coming into this second game of a back to back. They already have the fewest points (17) and worst goal differential (-37) in the entire league. 10* Carolina