January 26th, 2013

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A nice 2-0 night last night as both the Red Wings and Devils take care of business.  The Devils made it interesting allowing Washington to tie it after being up 2-0, but they ended up winning it with a nice goal in overtime.  The Red Wings game was also an exciting one, with the Wings winning 5-3.

Today we don’t have the usual 10+ games on a Saturday, but we are treated to 8 games on the NHL betting board and then will have 8 games on Sunday.

2 UNIT = Colorado Avalanche @ San Jose Sharks – UNDER 5.5 GOALS (-125) *EARLY START*
(Note: I’m risking 2.00 units to win 1.60 units)

The Avalanche enter this afternoon game in San Jose with a 2-1 record, beating Columbus and Los Angeles at home and losing to Minnesota on the road.   The Sharks are 3-0 to start the year with wins over Calgary and Edmonton on the road and Phoenix at home.  Semyon Varlamov will get the start for Colorado and he is 2-1 on the season with a 1.68 GAA and .948 SV%.  Antti Niemi is probable today for the Sharks, although not confirmed for the start of a back to back, but he is 3-0 with a 2.34 GAA and .927 SV%.  Although these two teams went over the total in 3 of their 4 meetings last season, the UNDER is still 10-4 in their last 14 meetings in San Jose.  The UNDER is 20-9-9 in the Avalanche last 38 vs Western Conference opponents.  Both teams are riding hot goalies right now and I expect this one to stay UNDER 5.5 goals.

2 UNIT = Chicago Blackhawks @ Columbus Blue Jackets – BLACKHAWKS TO WIN (-152)
(Note: I’m risking 2.00 units to win 1.32 units)

Chicago is probably the hottest team in the NHL starting off 4-0 and 3-0 on the road.  The Blackhawks have beaten Los Angeles, Phoenix, St Louis, and Dallas to start the year and now go into Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets.  Columbus is 1-2-1 to start the year with a season opener win in Nashville and a shootout loss vs Detroit.  Steve Mason will get the start in net tonight for Columbus and he is 0-1 with a 5.01 GAA and .881 SV%.  Last year he really struggled with a 16-26-3 record, 3.39 GAA, and .894 SV%, which was his third straight year with a GAA higher than 3.00.  Chicago won all 6 meetings between these two teams last year with margins of victory 4, 5, 3, 3, 3, and 3.  Chicago is also 20-8 in their last 28 meetings with Columbus and 6-0 in their last 6 meetings in Columbus.  The Blue Jackets are just 14-40 in their last 54 divisional games, and 15-38 in their last 53 vs a team with a winning % higher than .600.  Chicago has scored 3+ goals in all 4 games, and I expect that to continue here tonight with Mason in net for the Blue Jackets.  Take the Blackhawks.

I’ve added a play below…

2 UNIT = Los Angeles Kings @ Phoenix Coyotes – COYOTES TO WIN (+130)
(Note: I’m risking 2.00 units to win 2.60 units)

I’ve added this play in as the line has moved to as high as +130.  The defending Stanley Cup champs have moved to 0-2-1 on the year with their overtime loss in Edmonton on Thursday night.  They have lost to Chicago, Colorado and Edmonton to start the year with a “Stanley Cup hangover”.  The Phoenix Coyotes are just 1-3 to start the year with a 5-1 win vs Columbus, but three losses that have come against Dallas, Chicago and San Jose.  The Coyotes are facing some injury problems, including their starting goalie Mike Smith who will be out of action tonight.  Jason LaBarbera will get the start for Phoenix and he is 1-1 with a 2.78 GAA and .911 SV% to start the year.  Jonathan Quick is expected in net for the Kings, and he is winless in three starts with a 3.33 GAA and .891 SV%.  The Kings have managed to score just 4 goals over their first 3 games as their power play can’t find the back of the net.  Phoenix hasn’t had troubles to score with 3+ goals in all four of their games, but have had troubles keeping the puck out of their own net.  These two teams split 6 regular season meetings last year (with Phoenix going 2-1 at home), but the Kings won their playoff series in 5 games.  Note that the Coyotes were 22-13-6 at home last year.  They are a type of team that wins when no one is expecting them to, and given the troubles Los Angeles is having scoring I think we have value with Phoenix +130 at home.

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