We had hit 4 straight “game of the weeks” before last night, but dropped my first in a while last night. I was on the OVER between Tampa Bay and Ottawa, but fell a goal short in the end with a 4-1 final. The final score looks closer than it was, as Craig Anderson stopped 35 of 36 Tampa Bay shots. Some big saves, poke checks, and hit posts kept this game under the posted total. No problem, I will bounce back with another streak of winning big plays.
Time to bounce back tonight, with three UNDERDOG plays going. In my opinion all plays have great value, and I would love to hit 2 or 3 of the 3 plays.
New York Rangers @ Pittsburgh Penguins – RANGERS TO WIN (+120)
The Rangers have won 3 straight, and 8 of their last 9 games, which of course includes their Winter Classic victory against the Flyers on Monday. New York is coming off a 3-2 overtime win last night at home against Florida, and now travels into Pittsburgh for another big game. The Penguins have dropped two straight (4-2 loss at home against Philly and 3-1 loss in New Jersey) putting them 21-13-4 on the season. Pittsburgh has enjoyed 5 days off since their last game on New Years Eve. These two teams met back on November 29th in New York with the Rangers winning 4-3, in a game that Sidney Crosby played in. The Rangers have won 3 straight against the Penguins. Take note that the Rangers are 8-2 in their last 10 road games, 6-1 in their last 7 games as an underdog, and 19-7 in their last 26 games playing on 0 days rest dating back. New York hasn’t had problems with top teams, as they are 8-3 in their last 11 vs a team with a winning record. Note that the Penguins are just 7-22 in their last 29 vs teams with a winning % above .600 dating back to last season. The Rangers have won their last 4 meetings in Pittsburgh, and 4 of 5 meetings overall. The Rangers are playing great hockey right now, and don’t deserve to be +120 underdogs here. I’ll take New York to continue their success.
Colorado Avalanche @ Chicago Blackhawks – AVALANCHE TO WIN (+178)
Colorado is on a nice run right now, as they’ve won 3 straight games and 8 of their last 9. Their latest win was a 2-1 shootout victory in Los Angeles on Monday as about +155 underdogs. The Avalanche has won three straight road games, all listed as underdogs. Colorado has had some impressive victories over their last 9 games including the Kings, Ducks, Coyotes, Wild, Lightning, Blues, Flyers, and Capitals. Chicago on the other hand has dropped 3 of their last 4 games, which includes home losses against Los Angeles and Edmonton and last night’s 5-4 loss in Philadelphia. These two teams have met twice this season, with each team winning on the road. Colorado won 5-4 in shootout in Chicago as big underdogs back in October when we had them as a play, and I will take them again tonight. Corey Crawford is expected to be in net for tonight’s game, and he is 15-9-2 with a 2.82 GAA and .904 SV%. He had a good stretch of games recently, but let in 4 goals on 30 shots in his last outing at home vs the Oilers. Playing good hockey and already showing they can beat the Blackhawks in Chicago this year I’ll hop on the Avs as they look to take advantage of the Hawks playing an emotional game last night.
New York Islanders @ Anaheim Ducks – ISLANDERS TO WIN (+110)
Not too exciting of a match up here, but I think we are getting a good price on the visiting Islanders. New York has won three straight games, with wins over Calgary, Edmonton and @Carolina. They have outscored their opponents 11-5 in those three victories. The Islanders are 14-17-6 on the season and 6-8-3 on the road. Anaheim’s struggles continue as they’ve dropped 3 straight games, and have won just once in their last 8. The Ducks are just 10-22-6 and 7-12-1 on home ice. Over their last 5 games the Ducks are scoring just 2 goals per game while giving up 3.20 per game. The Islanders are scoring 2.60 goals per game over their last 5 while giving up 2.60 against. The Islanders are 4-0 in their last 4 vs a team with a losing record. The Ducks have won just 5 games in their last 29 overall. Until Anaheim can start winning games I will continue to take a look at betting against them, and tonight we have the Islanders in town looking for their fourth straight win. Take New York as small underdogs.