Took another night off betting the NHL last night but my leans went 5-3, which would have been two profitable days in a row. Tonight we have a four game slate with some pretty heavy favorites on the board and I’ll jump back in with some light action.
Maple Leafs vs. Devils (7:00)
The Devils offense showed up in a big way last night in their 7-4 win at home against the Rangers that saw the best goalie in the NHL, Igor Shesterkin get pulled from the Rags net. NJ hasn’t been very good this season, they’re 23-35-5 with a horrible 8-21-2 record on the road and just eight wins in their last 24 games. Their offense has been decent, averaging 3.06 goals per game but this team has one of the worst defenses in the NHL and bad goaltending from their slew of goalies that have gotten starts from them this season, as they’re allowing a fourth most in the NHL average of 3.59 goals per game. Toronto’s having a decent season at 39-18-5 with just two wins in their last five games and the way this team looks right now, they’re pretty much primed for yet another first round exit from the playoffs. Blow Leafs Blow. They’ve had a great offense all season, averaging 3.66 goals per game, third most in the NHL. Their big issue is goaltending and defense, where they have gotten statistically the worst goaltending in the league since January 1st. On the season, they’ve allowed an average of 3.03 goals per game. The Leafs added Mark Giordano via a trade from Seattle to add more veteran leadership to the Toronto, which to me doesn’t make a ton of sense where they should have likely bolstered up their goaltending and defense. Petr Mrazek’s back in net for the Leafs tonight after Erik Kallgren’s three starts. Mrazek’s sucked leading to a lot of Toronto’s losses with a 3.48 GAA and .884 save percentage. Despite their goaltending woes, the Leafs at home should still beat the Devils who are on the second half of a back to back tonight. No chance I’m betting on them though. I will jump back into gambling on the NHL with action on this game with a unit on the over 6.5. I’d expect both teams to score to push this over the number.
Sabres vs. Penguins (7:30)
My Sabres have been grinding out some great wins lately and have actually been fun to watch as they’ve won four of their last five games, coming off overtime wins out in Western Canada against the Canucks and Flames. They’re still not a good team at 22-33-8 on the season. Buffalo’s averaging just 2.62 goals per game, seventh fewest in the NHL and allowing an average of 3.48 goals per game, seventh most in the NHL. Not great. The Penguins on the other hand, ARE a great team. They’re 39-16-9, coming off a 5-1 blowout win last night against the Jackets (which my official lean would’ve hit on) for their third straight win. In their last eleven games they hold a solid 8-2-1 record. They’re scoring a twelfth most in the NHL average of 3.23 goals per game and allowing just the third fewest goals in hockey, an average of 2.55 goals per game. On the second half of a back to back, the Pens are projected be starting backup Casey DeSmith in goal tonight. DeSmith hasn’t been great this season with a 2.99 GAA and a .904 save percentage. These teams kept in close in both of their previous games in Pittsburgh this season with the Sabres winning 2-1 on November 16th and the Penguins winning 3-2 in overtime on December 17th. The Pens are the clearly better team in this matchup but with how closely they’ve played this season and that they’re coming off an easy win last night, I don’t think its worth betting on this one at almost -230. I think the best bet on this game would actually be the Sabres puck line but I’d rather just stay off this game. I’d also lean the under but not enough to bet on it.
Avalanche vs. Canucks (9:30)
The Avs are one of the best teams in the NHL this season with a 45-13-5 record with a 25-3-3 record at home. They’re on a four game win streak with two shutouts in those games, coming off a 3-2 overtime win on Monday against the Oilers (which my lean on would’ve hit). Colorado has the second highest scoring offense in the NHL, averaging 3.83 goals per game and they’re allowing just an eighth fewest in the NHL average of 2.76 goals per game. The Canucks are 30-26-8 on the season but they’ve been struggling quite a bit lately, with just one win in their last six games. Vancouver’s been bad offensively, scoring an average of only 2.81 goals per game, eleventh fewest in the NHL. Defensively, they’ve been decent, allowing an average of 2.86 goals per game. Tonight they’ll be starting backup Jaroslav Halak in goal, who has not been good. He has a 3.41 GAA and an .886 save percentage which is significantly worse than Thatcher Demko has been. Both games these teams played earlier this season, the Avalanche won both games by multiple goals with a 7-1 blowout at home on November 11th and a 4-2 win on November 17th. With how both of these teams have played lately, I’d expect the Avs to likely easily outscore the Canucks. I think the moneyline isn’t worth betting and debated between the regulation line and the TT over 3.5. With the slump I’ve been in I’m paring down my bets a little bit so instead of betting both, I think the Avs in regulation is the best bet in this matchup which I will take for a unit. I’d also lean the over but not enough to bet on.
Ducks vs. Blackhawks (10:00)
The Ducks have been in a big time slump, coming into tonight’s game on a seven game losing streak to drop to 27-27-11 on the season, most recently with a 6-3 loss at home to the Predators on Monday (would have definitely made money on that one). On the season they’ve scored an average of only 2.8 goals per game, tenth fewest in the NHL and have allowed a twelfth most in the NHL average of 3.15 goals per game. The Ducks were sellers at the deadline, losing Rikard Rakel, Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson to make them even worse. They were supposed to get Evengii Dadonov from the Golden Knights as a salary cap dump for Vegas but that trade was voided today because of a big time screw up between Ottawa, Vegas and the league office on his no trade clause from when he was on the Senators. Not great for anyone involved in that ordeal. Chicago’s been an even worse team than the Ducks have been. They’re 22-32-9, on a three game losing streak with just four wins in their last 14 games. They’ve been even worse than Anaheim on both ends of the ice, scoring a sixth fewest in the NHL average of just 2.6 goals per game and allowing an average of 3.44 goals per game, eighth most in the NHL. With the Blackhawks trading Vezina winner Marc Andre Fleury on Monday, Kevin Lankinen’s the number one goalie in Chicago now, who had a 3.51 GAA and .889 save percentage. So I’d expect that to get even more horrible. The Blackhawks won both previous matchups between these teams this season, both at home in Chicago in completely different ways with a 3-0 shutout win on January 15th and an 8-3 blowout win on March 8th. I’d expect the Ducks flip the switch and end their losing streak with a win at home tonight. Wouldn’t bet on it though. I’ll skip this game completely.
1u Leafs/Devils over 6.5 (-157)
1u Avalanche in regulation (-162)
Record: 592-443-21 (-0.96 units)