Yesterday’s picks sucked for me as I went 3-8 to lose 5.92 units. Its still so early in the season so we have plenty of games left to bounce back. We have four NHL games tonight with a few more teams getting their first action of the season.
Also, no more 1 unit bets for me till at least a month to month and a half into the season. Even if I really like something, gotta stick with a half unit. There’s just too much variability this early in the year.
Blue Jackets vs. Lightning (7:00)
Both of these teams opened their seasons with losses earlier this week. The Lightning played a fun to watch, low scoring game against the Rangers on Tuesday night, losing 3-1. Vasilevskiy kept them in that game, making 36 saves in that losing effort. Tampa’s offense only generated 26 shots on goal against a very good defense. The Jackets opened their season on Wednesday with a 4-1 loss in Carolina to the Hurricanes. They were outshot 43-32. I have much more faith in the Bolts bouncing back from their loss and righting the ship with their first win of the season tonight and I’ll take them in regulation for half a unit.
Red Wings vs. Canadiens (7:00)
The Habs started their season pulling off a huge upset at home on Wednesday night, beating the Leafs 4-3 with a game winner from Josh Anderson with just 19 seconds remaining in regulation. Cole Caufield scored twice in that win as Montreal got outshot 32-23. I’m not putting a ton of stock into that game though. The Leafs play down to their divisional rivals and they love to choke away games they should win. I still think the Habs end up being one of the worst teams in the NHL this season. Tonight they head to Detroit to face off against the Red Wings for Detroit’s first game of the season. Detroit was pretty bad last season, finishing twelfth in the Eastern Conference with a 32-40-10 record. They struggled mightily on both ends of the ice a season ago, allowing a second most in the NHL average of 3.78 goals per game while just scoring an average of 2.77 goals per game, eighth fewest in the league. Detroit’s power play was the seventh least effective in the league, scoring on just 16.1% of their opportunities and they had the worst penalty kill in the league at only 73.8%. In the offseason Detroit made several key moves to improve their team and build on a roster that had two rookie of the year nominees a season ago in Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond along with plenty of other very talented young players. They hired former Tampa Bay assistant coach Derek Lalonde to be their new head coach. They brought in goaltender Ville Husso who proved himself to be the #1 goaltender last year in St. Louis ahead of Jordan Binnington. In addition, they signed free agent Andrew Copp from the Rangers who should be a great addition to their offense. I’d expect the Red Wings to improve from last season and think they start their season off with a win at home against a weak Habs team. I’ll take Detroit for half a unit.
Jets vs. Rangers (8:00)
The Rangers are on the second half of a back to back after last night’s game in Minnesota where they dominated the Wild to win 7-3, looking like one of the best teams in the league through two games after beating the Lighting 3-1 in their season opener. Jaroslav Halak will likely get his first start as a Ranger tonight since being traded to back up Igor with the Rags on the second half of a back to back. The Jets were a disappointing team last season, ending the year eleventh in the West with a 39-32-11 record. Their offense was about in the middle of the league, scoring an average of 3.01 goals per game and they allowed an average of 3.06 goals per game despite having a world class goaltender in Connor Hellebuyck. Winnipeg’s power play capitalized on 20.6% of their chances but their penalty kill unit struggled mightily, killing off penalties at a fourth worst in the NHL rate of 75%. The same Jets roster for the most part is the same as we saw last year, really with the only change coming from the signing of veteran bottom six forward Sam Gagner. The biggest change up they made was hiring new head coach Rick Bowness to run the bench. I can’t see this team improving a whole lot, but this is likely their last run at it with this roster with all of their star players becoming free agents after this season if they don’t lock them up. If the Rangers weren’t on the second half of a back to back and we had Igor in goal, I’d be all about the Rags in this game and although I still think they win, I’ll stay off of betting them here.
Sharks vs. Hurricanes (10:30)
Last week the Sharks started their season in Prague with back to back losses to the Predators while the rest of the league was still playing preseason games. I expect San Jose to be pretty bad this season and be pretty close to a lottery team. Statistically they weren’t awful in those losses, losing 4-1 and 3-2, generating an average of 32 shots per game and allowing an average of 25, but they still couldn’t get a win. Carolina dominated in their first game of the season on Wednesday night against Columbus with a 4-1 win. They poured on the shots, generating 43 shots on goal while Freddy Andersen only allowed one goal on the 32 shots he faced. Brent Burns makes his return to the Shark Tank tonight for the first time as a Carolina Hurricane and I think him and his Canes get another dominant win. I’ll take the Hurricanes for half a unit to get a win on the road tonight.
.5u Lightning in regulation (-122)
.5u Red Wings ML (-165)
.5u Hurricanes ML (-188)
Record: 9-13 (-6.11 units)
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