My Sabres played horrendously yesterday and with that, I went 2-3 to lose 4.34 units on the four-game NHL slate. Terrible. Tonight to bounce back we have a huge ten-game slate. Let’s dive in.
Sabres vs. Kraken (7:00)
I’ll be in attendance tonight as the Sabres take on the Kraken and look to bounce back from last night’s loss. Both of these teams are coming off 4-0 shutout games that went in opposite directions last night. The Sabres played horribly in every facet of the game, which seemed like a big outlier for them as they got shutout 4-0 at home by the Flyers. Besides that game, the Sabres are playing great right now with a 20-16-2 record. They have the top-scoring offense in the NHL but have struggled quite a bit defensively. The Kraken did the opposite last night, winning a 4-0 shutout in Montreal to extend their winning streak to five straight games. They’re so much so improved from their inaugural season last year and come into tonight’s game with a 23-12-4 record, in third place in the Pacific Division. Their offense has been very good too, the third highest scoring team in the league. They’ve had their own defensive issues as well. The first time these teams met this season in Seattle back on October 25th, the Kraken dominated us with 5-1 win. I feel like this ends up being a back and forth game with both teams trading goals. I’d lean the Sabres bounce back tonight and get a win on home ice (or at least hope they do) but don’t trust them in this matchup enough to bet it. I’m expecting a lot of scoring in what should be a very fun matchup and will take the over in this game for 1.5 units.
Red Wings vs. Jets (7:00)
I broke down this game for my article tonight on StatSalt. I think this is a pretty big mismatch and think the Jets get a solid win on the road here. I’ll take the Jets ML for a unit and the puck line for half a unit. I like the under as well and will take the alternate under 6.5 for half a unit.
Hurricanes vs. Devils (7:00)
The Hurricanes are on a lousy run, losing their last three straight games, all of which they were the much better team in, essentially running into bad puck luck…which has cost me a decent amount over the past week. Carolina leads the Metro Division with a 25-8-7 record. They’re coming off a 4-3 shootout loss in Columbus on Saturday night. Their offense hasn’t been all this great this season, although they had 42 and 62 shots in their last two games and still lost with tons of great scoring chances. Their defense though is elite and one of the best units in the NHL this season. The Devils after going on a bad slump have come back a bit lately. They’ve won three of their last five games and have picked up at least a point in four of those five games to improve to 25-12-3 on the season. On Saturday afternoon they came back at home from down 3-1 going into the third period and beat the Rangers 4-3 in overtime. On the season they’ve been very good on both ends of the ice. Carolina already beat the Devils twice this season, winning 4-1 at home on December 20th and in a 5-4 shootout win on January 1st in New Jersey. I’d lean the Hurricanes win at home and the under in this game but not enough to bet on it, I’ll just lay off this game completely.
Rangers vs. Wild (7:00)
The Rangers are playing great hockey right now. They’re coming off a 4-3 loss in Jersey on Saturday afternoon where they blew a 3-1 lead in the third period and lost in overtime, ending their three-game winning streak. The Rags are easily playing their best hockey of the season right now after their slow start, going 11-2-2 in their last 15 games to improve to 22-12-7 on the season, sitting just a point behind the Caps for third place in the Metro. They’ve played well on both ends of the ice. The Wild are coming off back-to-back losses on Saturday and Sunday against the Sabres (6-5, OT) and the Blues (3-0) but they’ve played really well too. They’re in third place in the Central Division with a 22-14-3 record. They have a 15-6-1 record in their last 22 games after their lousy start to the year. They’ve played good hockey on both ends of the ice as of late. To open the season on October 13th, the Rangers got a 7-3 win in Minnesota while they both started their season poorly. I’d expect a much more competitive game tonight. This should be a fantastic game. I’d slightly lean the Wild answer back with a win on the road and would slightly lean the over here but not enough to bet on either. I’ll skip this game.
Penguins vs. Canucks (7:00)
The Penguins finally ended their six-game losing streak on Sunday night in Arizona, beating the Coyotes 4-1. The Pens have been streaky this year but are having a pretty decent season with a 20-13-6 record. Their offense has been quite good this year but their defense has struggled at times. The Canucks got beat out 7-4 in Winnipeg on Sunday, giving up three goals to lose in the last 21:43 of the game. Vancouver’s struggled lately with just one win in their last five games to drop to 17-19-3 on the year. Their offense has been good this year but their defense and goaltending has been some of the worst in the NHL. On October 28th, the Canucks pulled off a pretty big upset at home, beating the Pens 5-1. I’d expect the Penguins answer back with a home win tonight but don’t think it’s worth betting on at the -200 price, so I’ll stay off the side here. I like the over though, which I will take for half a unit tonight.
Lightning vs. Blue Jackets (7:00)
This is a huge mismatch, which is evidenced by the insane -400 price for the Lightning here. Tampa has been great again this year, coming into tonight’s game at home with a 24-13-1 record. They have a 15-4-1 record at Amalie Arena. Their offense has been dominant. Although it hasn’t been as up to par as it has the last few years, their defense is still pretty solid this year too. Columbus on the other hand has been horrible. They’re 12-25-2 on the season. Although they shocked the NHL world, beating the Hurricanes 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday, they went back to normal on Sunday, getting shut out in a 1-0 loss in Washington. The Jackets have only won twice in their last 12 games and they’ve been one of the worst teams in the league on both ends of the ice. The Bolts already won both previous matchups this season against the Blue Jackets easily, by three goals each time, winning 5-2 in Columbus on October 14th and 4-1 at home on December 15th. I’d expect another similar result tonight. The prices to bet this game are nuts with a -400 moneyline, a -250 regulation line and even a -165 puck line all priced too far out of reach. I expect Tampa to be able to score here and although its a little expensive, I’ll take the Lightning TT over 4 for half a unit.
Islanders vs. Stars (7:30)
This game should be some fun on Long Island tonight. I broke this one down in depth for my article on StatSalt. I think the Stars are the better team here and give them an edge on both ends of the ice. I’ll take Dallas to get a win on the road for half a unit.
Blues vs. Flames (8:00)
Both these teams have had pretty disappointing seasons so far when after last year they both had high playoff expectations. The Blues are coming off a 3-0 win in Minnesota on Sunday and have four wins in their last six games but with how streaky they’ve been this year, they’re just 20-18-3 on the season, pretty far outside of the playoff picture. They’ve been decent offensively but have struggled big time on the back end. The Flames were my preseason pick to win the Stanley Cup this season (thankfully I didn’t bet any futures on them) and that’s just not happening this year. They’re 19-14-8 on the season, sitting four points back from Seattle for third in the weak Pacific Division. They’re coming off a 4-3 overtime loss in Chicago on Sunday but they have played well lately with a 6-2-2 record in their last ten games. They’ve been fine on both ends of the ice but nothing special. The Blues won the first game between these teams 5-2 in Calgary on December 16th. I’d expect a Flames win on the road here but not enough to bet it at the -165 price. I’d lean the over but not enough to bet that either.
Coyotes vs. Sharks (9:00)
What a horrible matchup this game is. Both of these teams suck. The Coyotes are in the Bedard sweepstakes, coming into tonight’s game with just a 13-21-5 record. At times this season they haven’t been an easy out for teams but they have been lately. Arizona’s coming off a 4-1 loss at home to the Penguins for their fifth loss in a row, losing by multiple goals in all of those games. They have had success at home at the pathetic joke of Mullett Arena though this season, where they have a 7-4-2 record but this team is one of the worst in the league on both ends of the ice. The Sharks aren’t any better. Coming off a 4-2 loss to the Bruins at home on Saturday, they’re just 12-21-8 on the season with only one win (against the lowly Blackhawks) in their last six games. San Jose’s offense has been decent but their defense and goaltending are horrible, actually giving up even more goals than Arizona has. The Sharks won 3-2 at home in the first game between these teams this season on December 13th. I’d lean the Sharks and the over here but not enough to bet either in this shitty matchup. I’ll stay off it. If I was rolling this season, I’d probably bet the over but in the hole I’m in, there’s no reason to bet this game.
Avalanche vs. Panthers (9:30)
This should be a fun cross-conference matchup out West to finish off tonight’s slate. The Avalanche haven’t been all that great this season after winning the Cup last year and currently sit outside of the playoff picture with a 20-15-3 record. On Saturday night they came back from a 2-0 deficit going into the third period, beating the Oilers 3-2 in overtime to end their five-game losing streak. Their defense has been good this season but their offense has struggled big time this season, a big drop-off from last year. The Panthers have come crashing down from winning the Presidents Trophy last year too, coming into tonight’s game with an 18-19-4 record. They’re coming off a 5-1 blowout loss in Dallas on Sunday and have only three wins in their last nine games. Their offense has been good this season but their defense sucks. I’d lean the Avs win here at home but not enough to bet on it. The total is interesting in this matchup since Florida makes me lean heavily on the over but the Avs side makes me lean toward the under, so I’ll just stay off it completely. I’ll be pumped to watch this game when I get home from the Sabres game tonight.
1.5u Sabres/Kraken over 6.5 (-130)
1u Jets ML (-135)
.5u Jets -1.5 (+165)
.5u Jets/Red Wings under 6.5 (-130)
.5u Penguins/Canucks over 6.5 (-130)
.5u Lightning TT over 4 (-127)
.5u Stars ML (-120)
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: 285-251-8 (-39.34 units)
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