Crushed Friday night’s huge NHL slate going 6-2-1 to win 3.2 units. After a nice three day break for Christmas we have a huge eleven game slate tonight! Let’s crush this one too.
Hurricanes vs. Blackhawks (7:00)
The Hurricanes are the hottest team in the NHL right now, leading the Metro Division with a 22-6-6 record. They went into the Christmas break on an eight game win streak after a 6-5 win against the Flyers where they let up on the gas and allowed two shorthanded goals in the third period after going into the second intermission up 6-2. Carolina’s picked up at least a point in their last 14 games and 17 of their last 18 games with wins in twelve of their last 13. Their offense hasn’t been all that spectacular but they’ve been decent enough to win and their defense is elite, shutting down opposing teams. They’ll come back from the break tonight with a very easy home matchup against the worst team in the NHL, the Blackhawks. Chicago’s 8-20-4 on the season and ended their eight game losing streak with a 5-2 win at home against the Blue Jackets on Friday night, just their second win in their last 18 games. The Hawks have been abysmal on both ends of the ice with the worst offense in the NHL and the fourth worst defensive play in the league and they’ll only get worse at the deadline with Kane and Toews likely leaving town. The first game between these cross conference teams this season on November 14th in Chicago resulted in a 3-0 shutout win for the Canes. I’d expect another easy win for the Hurricanes tonight at home, expecting them to completely shut down Chicago’s lousy offense. The price on this game at -455, although probably accurate, is insane and even the regulation line of -265 is too expensive. I’ll take the Canes puck line -1.5 for a unit.
Rangers vs. Capitals (7:00)
Both of these teams went into the Christmas break on solid hot streaks, playing their best hockey of the season. Alex Ovechkin made history on Friday night with two goals in the 4-1 win against the Jets to move past Gordie Howe for second most goals in NHL history, now trailing only Wayne Gretzky. That was Washington’s fourth straight win and they’ve gotten nine wins in their last ten games to improve to 19-13-4 on the season. They’ve improved on both ends of the ice lately, playing pretty good and much better than they did earlier this season. The Rangers had a pretty lousy start to their season but have played quite well lately. They bounced back from their loss in Pittsburgh on Tuesday with a 5-3 win at home against their rival Islanders on Thursday night. The Rags have picked up eight wins in their last nine games to improve to 19-11-5 on the season. New York’s improved as well recently, playing pretty solid hockey on both ends of the ice. I’d lean the Rangers win at home and would slightly lean the over in this game, but neither with enough of an edge to bet on. I’ll skip this game entirely.
Senators vs. Bruins (7:00)
This game is a matchup between the first place Bruins and the last place Senators in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins are the best team in the NHL this season, starting the year 27-4-2, going into the Christmas break on a four game win streak with a 4-3 win in New Jersey on Friday night. They’ve gotten at least a point in each of their last seven games. Boston’s been the best team in the NHL defensively this season and the second best offensively, behind my Buffalo Sabres. The Sens have played relatively well recently with eight wins in their last 14 games, but went into the Christmas break on a three game losing streak after a 3-2 overtime loss to the Capitals on Thursday night. They were outshot by Washington 40-25 in that game and were lucky it even got to overtime with a great performance in goal from Cam Talbot (37 saves, .925 save percentage). Ottawa’s offense has played relatively well this season but they’ve struggled defensively. Shockingly, back on October 18th in the first matchup this season between these Atlantic Division teams in Ottawa, the Senators got a 7-5 win in a very high scoring game where we saw four first period and seven second period goals. I’d expect the Bruins to answer back with a win on the road tonight and I’ll take them in regulation for a unit.
Islanders vs. Penguins (7:30)
The Penguins went into the Christmas break on a hot streak. Despite losing 4-3 to the Flames in overtime on Thursday night, they’ve won eight of their last ten games with a 12-2-2 record in their last 16 games to improve to 19-9-5 on the season. They’ve played awesome on offense all season and their defense and goaltending has improved a ton recently. The 19-14-2 Islanders were struggling a bit going into the Christmas break but they went in on a hot note, crushing the Panthers 5-1 on Friday night. That was just the Isles second win in their last seven games and fourth in their last twelve. They’ve been slightly better than league average on both ends of the ice this season. I like the Penguins to get a win on the road here and will take Pittsburgh for half a unit.
Predators vs. Stars (8:00)
The Stars have been very good this season, leading the Central Division with a 20-9-6 record. They went into the Christmas break with a 4-2 comeback win against the Habs on Friday night, getting shut out for the first 35 minutes of the game and then scoring four unanswered to finish off the game. Dallas has been quite good on both ends of the ice this year, impressing me from my preseason expectations for them to be a bubble team trying to make a wild card spot. The Preds slightly outplayed the Avalanche on Friday night at home but ultimately lost 3-2 in overtime. Nashville hasn’t been all that good this season, coming into tonight’s game with a 14-13-5 record. They’ve only won two of their last nine games. Their defense and the goaltending from Saros has been pretty good but the Predators offense has been completely abysmal. Dallas easily won both previous matchups this season against the Preds with a 4-1 win in Nashville on October 13th and a 5-1 win at home two days later. I’d expect another easy win for the Stars here and I’m loading up on this game. I’ll take the Stars ML and the Preds team total under 3 in regulation for a unit each and the Stars puck line for half a unit.
Blues vs. Maple Leafs (8:00)
The Leafs have had a fantastic season this year and they’re 21-7-6 on the season. They went into the Christmas break with two wins in a row, beating the Flyers 4-3 on Thursday afternoon and fucking my puck line bet to start the day with a slow start and then almost completely blowing a 4-1 lead halfway through the third period. Toronto’s offense has been pretty good this season and their defense and goaltending has been surprisingly spectacular. The Blues are one of the streakiest teams in the league and haven’t been all that great with a 16-16-2 record. They went into the Christmas break with two losses in a row, losing 5-4 in a shootout in a great game in Vegas on Friday night. The Blues offense has been good enough to win but their defense and goaltending has struggled quite a bit this year. I’d expect a Leafs win here on the road tonight and will take Toronto for half a unit.
Jets vs. Wild (8:00)
This is a fun Central Division matchup tonight. The Jets are having a great season, coming into tonight’s game with a 21-12-1 record in second place in the Central. They were on a mini slump going into the Christmas break, losing three of their last four games, most recently in a 4-1 loss in Washington on Friday where all they could do is give their respect to Ovi moving into second most ever in goal scoring. Winnipeg has been very good on both ends of the ice this year. The Wild have played very well recently too. They went into the break with a 5-2 loss in San Jose on the second half of a back to back on Thursday but prior to that loss, they were on a six game winning streak. Minnesota’s won twelve of their last 14 games to improve to 19-12-2 on the season. Their offense has been good all season and their defense and goaltending has improved immensely as of late. In the first game between these teams this season on November 23rd in Minnesota, the Wild won 6-1 in blowout fashion. I’d slightly lean they win again tonight but this is pretty much a coin flip game to me. I don’t see any value in betting either side of this matchup and will just stay off it. I’d slightly lean the under, but again, not enough to bet it. I’ll skip this game entirely.
Coyotes vs. Avalanche (9:00)
I broke this game down in depth for my article on StatSalt. As I said in that article, I’d lean the Avs win this game but don’t see any value in betting them at the price and actually think the Coyotes could keep it close. My lean on a side here would be the Coyotes +1.5 puck line, but I don’t see value in betting it. I do like the under though, not expecting much scoring out of either team tonight and I’ll take the alternate under 6 for half a unit.
Flames vs. Oilers (9:00)
I went in depth breaking down this final Battle of Alberta of the regular season in my article on StatSalt. I would lean the Flames win this one at home but don’t have a strong enough lean on it to bet it. I love the over though and will take it for a unit.
Canucks vs. Sharks (10:00)
Both of these teams have struggled this season. The Canucks, coming off back to back wins to go into the Christmas break are 15-15-3 on the season. They outplayed the Oilers for a 5-2 win in Edmonton on Friday. Vancouver has played relatively well lately with eleven wins in their last 17 games. Vancouver’s offense has been good but their defense and goaltending has been some of the worst in the NHL. The Sharks went into the break with a 5-2 win against the Wild on Thursday that ended their three game losing streak. They’ve been pretty bad this season, coming into tonight’s game with a terrible 11-18-6 record. San Jose’s offense has been decent enough and has improved through the year but their defense and goaltending has been atrocious. In each of the first two games this season between these Pacific Division teams, the Canucks needed overtime to win each of those games in San Jose, winning 4-3 on November 27th and 6-4 on December 7th. I’d lean the Canucks win again at home tonight but don’t see any value in betting on them in this sort of lousy matchup. I do like the over though, expecting both teams to struggle defensively and will take it for a unit.
Kings vs. Golden Knights (10:30)
The Golden Knights are the best team in the Western Conference this season, coming into tonight’s game with a 24-11-1 record. They went into the Christmas break with a 5-4 shootout victory in an awesome game on Friday night against the Blues. Vegas has been quite good on both ends of the ice this year. The Kings are second in the Pacific and have gone on a hell of a run lately to improve to 19-12-6 on the season. They went into the break with a 2-1 shootout loss in Arizona on Friday that ended their four game winning steak and they’ve picked up at least a point in twelve of their last 15 games. Despite the terrible goaltending this season, the Kings have actually played pretty well, especially offensively this year. In the first game between these teams on October 11th, the Knights got a 4-3 win in LA with Mark Stone scoring the game winner with just 26 seconds left in regulation after a fantastic back and forth game that saw five goals in the third period. I like Vegas to get another win on the road tonight and will take them for half a unit at the underdog price of even money. I’d lean the over but not enough to bet it.
1u Hurricanes -1.5 (-165)
1u Bruins in regulation (-117)
.5u Penguins ML (-135)
1u Stars ML (-135)
.5u Stars -1.5 (+195)
1u Predators TT under 3 in regulation (-167)
.5u Maple Leafs ML (-170)
.5u Avalanche/Coyotes under 6 (-155)
1u Flames/Oilers over 6.5 (-110)
1u Canucks/Sharks over 6.5 (-135)
.5u Golden Knights ML (-110)
1u Boston Bruins – Stanley Cup Champions (+1000)
1.5u Boston Bruins – Stanley Cup Champions (+1100)
2u Vegas Golden Knights – Stanley Cup Champions (+1200)
1.5u Carolina Hurricanes – Stanley Cup Champions (+1300)
1u New Jersey Devils – Stanley Cup Champions (+1600)
Record: 224-201-6 (-30.34 units)
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