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I dropped a miniscule amount of money last night on my picks as we managed to go 1-1 on the night, however our winner came at -110 and therefore we slipped just under even for the night. The Flyers managed to score a late goal to tie their game against Columbus last night, however the Blue Jackets won the game in overtime on Kevin Connauton’s first goal of the season. In my other pick, I had the OVER 5.5 between the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning, and once again this was an easy winner. I’m not quite sure why the oddsmakers aren’t raising the total to 6 for Tampa Bay home games. Their defence is improved and their goaltending is solid, but the results say that this team’s home games consistently go over the 5.5 total. Their 5-3 loss to the Capitals is a prime example that this team can not only score a ton, they are prone to give up a ton as well despite improvement in their defensive numbers from last year. Nonetheless, I was real close to another perfect evening, however I am 2-1 on the week and with just two games on the NHL docket tonight, I have a pick to get out and improve to 3-1 on the week.
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Detroit Red Wings
My Pick – LEAFS +.5 IN REGULATION (-109)
These two Original Six rivals will meet for the fourth time this season tonight in Detroit, and the two will actually wrap up a five-game season series on Saturday night in Toronto. The Red Wings took the first two games of the season series but were dumped 4-1 by Toronto in their most recent game on November the 22nd. This Red Wings team has been one of the biggest surprises this season, especially in the Eastern Conference as they currently sit in a three-way tie for top spot in the East, but I wouldn’t expect tonight to be a cake-walk for Detroit as the Leafs just wrapped up a 4-1-0, five-game homestand last night with a 4-1 win over Calgary. The Leafs continue to be one of the highest scoring teams the NHL has to offer as they score 3.44 goals per game and have a powerplay that clicks at over 21% on the season. The Leafs have scored four or more goals on six separate occasions over a 6-1-1 stretch including last night’s win over the Flames. James Reimer could get the start for the Maple Leafs tonight as Jonathan Bernier played last night’s game, however that decision is not set in stone. Bernier has been marvelous for Toronto over their last two games (both wins) and in my opinion it is very tough to see Randy Carlyle go to Reimer after such stellar play from Bernier. However, Carlyle usually does split back-to-back games between his goalies, so if Reimer does get the nod this evening he will be doing so with something to prove. He was shelled in his last two outings and hasn’t seen any action since a November 18th loss to Nashville, however with his stock slipping, I would expect Reimer to give it everything he’s got should he play tonight. Toronto has been one of the league’s better road teams this year, and in terms of this specific pick, Toronto has lost in regulation just twice in nine road games this season. They are 4-2-3 away from the Air Canada Centre this season, and with this pick we just need them to get to overtime or win the game outright. When I saw this game on the schedule for tonight my first opinion was a close game. When I saw you can get the Leafs +.5 at a decent price, I locked it in. Take Toronto plus a half goal in regulation tonight in what is a beauty Original Six rivalry.