The good times keep on rolling with my NHL picks as I am officially in ‘white-hot’ territory after notching another winner last night involving the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers. Shame on the oddsmakers having the over/under total set at 5 for a Lightning home game as that was an easy one to spot while I was browsing through my options yesterday. Tampa Bay scores 3.24 goals per game themselves so it doesn’t take much from the visitors to get to the total of 5 and they got past it with flying colors last night. Tampa Bay scored two first period goals which can always be expected given the offensive talent on this team, however the Panthers answered that with three second period goals to hold a 3-2 lead after two periods. We had a minimum push locked in halfway through this game and all it took was an early third period marker from Nikita Kucherov to get us OVER the total. Ryan Callahan would eventually score the game winner with under 3 minutes remaining to notch a 4-3 win for Tampa, the 46th victory of the season for the Lightning which also happens to be a franchise record. Feels fantastic to be on such a roll right now as I am 6-1-1 over my last eight picks and I will look to keep things rolling tonight with just three games on the schedule.
Dallas Stars @ Calgary Flames
My Pick – STARS (-110)
The Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames will meet tonight for their second of three meetings this season with the season series concluding next Monday in Dallas. The Stars took the first meeting of the season, also in Calgary, by a 2-1 count with Trevor Daley netting the winner but if Dallas is going to reach the postseason this year they might want to think about winning all of the remaining games on their schedule. With nine games remaining including tonight, the Stars sit eight points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second and final wildcard spot in the Western Conference, however they also have to leapfrog the ninth place L.A. Kings who sit six points ahead of the Stars entering play tonight. A tough task indeed but I believe they do get the job done tonight in Calgary for the second time this season. With desperation at a maximum for this high octane offense, the Stars are a dangerous team. I wrote not too long ago about how good this offense is as Tyler Seguin (33 goals and 65 points in 63 games) and Jamie Benn (44 assists and 70 points in 73 games) have formed one of the more formidable 1-2 punches in the game. Benn isn’t guaranteed to play in tonight’s contest due to an injury suffered in their win over Buffalo on Monday night, a game in which he had three points including two goals to lead the way for Dallas. Regardless of Benn’s status, the Stars are playing possibly their best hockey of the season right now, going 8-3-0 over their last 11 games. Kari Lehtonen is likely to get the start tonight and he is also playing the best hockey of his season. Lehtonen is 6-1-0 with a 1.72 goals against average over his last seven starts and his 7-1-0 record and 2.22 GAA against the Flames over his last eight meetings against them bode well for this pick. Seguin has also made his presence felt in his career against Calgary with ten points over six meetings, going 5-0-1 against the Flames in his young career. Calgary is playing some fine hockey as well at the moment but it seems the Stars have the number of these up and coming Flames. Take a desperate Stars team tonight to knock off the Flames once again and deliver a blow to their opponent’s playoff hopes in the process.