The Toronto Maple Leafs showed up for a game for the first time in about two weeks. We had two successful Game of the Week plays against them last week, but failed to cash last night as the Lightning outshoot the Leafs 35-28 but lose 3-1. I was happy to see Reimer in net but that came back to bite me as he was a half-minute away from a shutout before letting in the Lightning’s first goal with 26 seconds left. In our other game we had the Predators as a nice size underdog and they lost in a shootout after San Jose tied it up in the third.
5 NHL games on the board tonight, and one play on a home team…
Chicago Blackhawks @ Dallas Stars – STARS TO WIN (-118)
(Note: I’m risking 1.18 units to win 1 unit)
The Blackhawks came back on Tuesday for a shootout victory over the Blues. Ray Emery was pulled and gave way to Corey Crawford who stopped all shots he faced for the win. The Blackhawks have won 2 of their last 3, but just 5 of their last 10 games. They are now 38-25-8 on the season and just 14-18-3 on the road. Chicago is 6th in the Western Conference, but just 4 points up on the 9th and 10th place teams. Dallas went with Richard Bachman for the second of a back to back on Wednesday night in Winnipeg, and ended up losing 5-2. The Stars had won 10 of their previous 11 games prior to that loss. It has been almost a month since Dallas has lost in regulation at home (back on February 19th with a 3-2 loss to Nashville). The Stars are 39-27-5 on the season and 20-12-3 at home. Their 83 points is good for 3rd in the Western Conference as they sit atop the Pacific division. Corey Crawford will get the start tonight, and he is winless in his last 3 starts. He was pulled in his last start against the Maple Leafs after giving up 3 goals on 10 shots. Prior to that he was pulled after allowing 4 goals on 6 shots against the Kings. And finally prior to being pulled twice Crawford allowed 3 goals against on 25 shots in a loss to tonight’s opponent. On the other side of things Kari Lehtonen has won 5 straight starts, 8 of his last 9 (with his loss coming in shootout), and he has shutouts in two straight games. He stopped all 46 shots faced against the Wild and Ducks in his two previous starts. On the season he is a stellar 29-15-4 with a 2.21 GAA and .925 SV%. The Stars have taken 2 of the 3 meetings between these two teams, including a 2-1 win in their only meeting in Dallas. Chicago has won just 4 of their last 18 road games, and are 3-9 in their last 12 road games vs a team with a winning home record. The Stars bounce back well from big losses, going 10-1 in their last 11 games following a loss of 3 goals or more. One loss with their backup goalie isn’t going to do much damage to the confidence of this Stars team who has won 10 of their last 12 games. I’ll back the Stars at home with the better goalie in net.