Started off hot on last night’s NHL slate but lost on the late games, going 3-5 for -3.2 units. Tonight we have a decent five game slate. Let’s bounce back here!
Sabres vs. Capitals (7:00)
My Sabres have actually been a really fun team to watch lately. Not to say they’re a good team, cause they’re not and on the season they are 23-33-8. They’ve won seven of their last ten games and are on a three game winning streak with three straight OT wins against Pittsburgh, Vancouver and Calgary, just finding ways to win. Let’s Go Buffalo! Statistically they haven’t been good by means this year on either end of the ice. They’re averaging just 2.63 goals per game, seventh fewest in the NHL and allowing a seventh most in the league average of 3.47 goals per game. The Capitals are coming off back to back losses against the Blues (5-2) on Tuesday and Dallas (3-2) on Sunday but before those two games were playing great with a 7-0-1 record in their prior eight games. They’re 35-20-10 on the season and have been quite good on both ends of the ice. Offensively, Ovi (76 points, 40 goals) and his Caps have the ninth highest scoring offense in hockey, averaging 3.26 goals per game. They’ve been good on the back end as well, allowing an eleventh fewest in the NHL average of 2.82 goals per game. The Caps won both previous games this season between these teams with a 5-3 win at home on November 8th and a 3-2 shootout win in Buffalo on December 11th. They should win again tonight in Buffalo as they’re the significantly better team but I’m not betting against my Sabres here. The Caps have been inconsistent at times this season so with the fan side of it separated, I don’t really think they’re worth betting at -200. I’ll go with the over 6 in this game though for a unit.
Rangers vs. Penguins (7:00)
These two teams are very good playoff teams out of the Metro Division and are both coming off losses. The 40-19-5 Rangers, who are 20-6-3 at home in MSG this season, lost 7-4 in NJ on Tuesday, a shocking game that saw Igor Shesterkin, the best goalie in the NHL. Shesterkin’s pretty much guaranteed as the Vezina this season with an incredible 2.14 GAA and .936 save percentage. With his play in goal, they’ve allowed the fourth fewest goals in the NHL, an average of just 2.58 goals per game. Offensively, they haven’t produced much though, averaging just 2.95 goals per game. The Penguins are 39-16-10 and their three game win streak ended on the Wednesday in a shootout against my Buffalo Sabres. Tristan Jarry’s been great in goal this season with a 2.26 GAA and .923 save percentage and with that, the Pens have allowed even fewer goals than the Rangers, allowing a third fewest in the NHL average of 2.55 goals per game. They’ve been good offensively as well, scoring an eleventh most in the NHL average of 3.23 goals per game. The first game these teams played this season in Pittsburgh on February 26th, the Pens won 1-0 on an Evgeni Malkin power play goal in the third period. I expect this to be another goaltending battle between Jarry and Shesterkin and will go with the under 6 in this game for a unit. Along with that, I think the Penguins offense gives them a slight edge in this game that’s worth betting half a unit on.
Jets vs. Blue Jackets (8:00)
Last night the Jets lost 5-2 to the Ottawa Senators in a game that saw a very high scoring third period and they gave up four straight goals to the Sens. Winnipeg’s 30-25-10 on the season and they’ve been quite inconsistent at times this season but they have been playing pretty well lately. Including last night’s embarrassing loss, they have a decent 6-3 record in their last nine games. The Jets have averaged 3.06 goals per game and allowed an average of 3.03 goals per game. On the second half of a back to back tonight, they’ll be starting backup Eric Comrie instead of former Vezina winner Connor Hellebuyck. He’s had some good games but he’s an inconsistent backup goalie. The Blue Jackets are another very inconsistent team. They are 32-29-3, coming off a 5-1 loss to the Penguins on Tuesday but have four wins in their last six games. They’ve been good offensively, scoring an average of 3.23 goals per game. They’ve been horrendous defensively though, allowing a third most in the NHL average of 3.7 goals per game. These teams played in Columbus on November 24th in a game the Blue Jackets got a rare shutout win, beating the Jets 3-0. I have no feel on who wins this game. I’d give the slight edge to the Jets at home but definitely don’t think they’re worth betting at the -175 price. I’d expect both of these teams to give up some goals though and will take the over for a unit.
Avalanche vs. Flyers (9:00)
The Avs are one of the best teams in the NHL with a 45-14-5 record and they’re a fantastic 25-4-3 at home. They are coming off a 3-1 loss to the Canucks at home on Wednesday night that I came back to betting on with a L to end their four game win streak. Colorado has one of the best offenses in the show, scoring a second most in the NHL average of 3.78 goals per game. They’ve gotten very good defensively as well, allowing just an eighth fewest in the NHL average of 2.77 goals per game. The Flyers are coming off a shocking 5-2 win in St. Louis last night (hit my over!) for their third win in their last five games. They’re a terrible 21-32-11 this season and have been pretty bad on both ends of the ice this year. They are scoring an average of just 2.56 goals per game, second fewest in the NHL, only better than Montreal in that category. Defensively, they’ve allowed a ninth most in the NHL average of 3.41 goals per game. The first time these teams played this season in Philly on December 6th, in an electric high scoring game, the Avs won 7-5. Colorado should easily win this game at home as this is such a hugely mismatched game. But as we know, -400 MLs are never worth it and even the -240 regulation line or -150 puck line aren’t worth it here. I will take the Avs TT over 4 for half a unit though, as I think the scoring should come easy for them tonight (and don’t think its worth buying down to 3.5, if they score 4, I’ll take the push).
Flames vs. Coyotes (9:00)
Calgary’s a great team at 38-17-8, clearly the best team in the Pacific Division this season and one of the hottest teams in the second half of the year. They have had their struggles in their last few games though with just two wins in their last five games, coming off a 4-3 loss to the Sharks at home on Tuesday night. The Flames have allowed the second fewest goals in hockey, an average of just 2.43 goals per game. Jacob Markstrom’s having a great season with a 2.11 GAA and .927 save percentage. They’ve been very good offensively too, averaging 3.43 goals per game, sixth most in the NHL. The Yotes on the other hand are one of the worst teams in the NHL. They’re 20-39-4 and on a three game losing streak. Prior to that three game losing streak, Arizona was on their best run of the season with six wins in the span of seven games. They’re pests to play against. On the season, they’ve scored a third fewest in the NHL average of 2.59 goals per game and they’ve allowed a fifth most in the NHL average of 3.56 goals per game. On February 2nd in Arizona, the Flames beat the Coyotes 4-2. They should win again but at the outrageous prices on this game, I don’t think its worth betting on this game at all so I’ll skip it.
1u Caps/Sabres over 6 (-125)
1u Penguins/Rangers under 6 (-105)
.5u Penguins ML (-117)
1u Jets/Blue Jackets over 6.5 (-125)
.5u Avs TT over 4 (-124)
Record: 595-450-21 (-7.36 units)