Colorado Avalanche vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
NHL Betting Pick: Tampa Bay -179 odds (October 20th 2016)
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The set-up: The Tampa Bay Lightning have been living on the edge, rallying from two goals down to defeat Detroit and New Jersey, before captain Steven Stamkos scored with 5.5 seconds left in regulation Tuesday and eventually beating Florida 4-3 in the shootout. Colorado boasts four power-play goals in the first three games but its penalty killers have struggled mightily, allowing two tallies in each contest in the team’s 2-1-0 start.
Colorado: The Avalanche suffered their first loss of the season in Washington on Tuesday in a 3-0, allowing a pair of power play goals for the third consecutive game. In 14 penalty kills this season, Colorado has killed off just eight and sit in 29th place in the league rankings in that department. Center Nathan MacKinnon tops the team with four points (one goal, three assists) and four players own three points apiece, including defensemen Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie. Goalie Semyon Varlamov has yielded eight goals on 68 shots in his first two starts (4.00 GAA and .882 save percentage) and likely will be back in net Thursday.
Tampa Bay: An undefeated Tampa Bay team will be looking to close out a perfect four-game homestand to start the season in tonight’s contest with Colorado. LW Alex Killorn is off to the best start of his career with a goal in each of the first three games to go along with one assist to share the team lead in points with Stamkos (two goals) and Jonathan Drouin (one). Killorn has opened the season playing alongside center Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov with excellent results so far.
The pick: Colorado’s Varlamov owns an 8-3-2 career record (including two shutouts) and a .924 save percentage against the Lightning but his .882 save percentage to open the season should be a concern, as is Colorado’s poor penalty-killing unit. His opposite number, Ben Bishop, has not played well either, with a 3.40 GAA and an .889 save percentage. However, the Lightning have just found a way to win to open the season (see above) and the Avalanche become the Lightning’s latest ‘victim.’
San Jose Sharks vs. New York Islanders
NHL Pick: Sharks +102 odds (October 18th 2016)
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San Jose owned the best road record in hockey last season. I like the Sharks in this road setting following their first defeat of the season. San Jose is stewing from an embarrassing 7-4 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden last night.
So this is a short trip for San Jose and playing back-to-back shouldn’t be a fatigue issue this early in the season. The Sharks are 7-3-1 in their last 11 visits to the Islanders.
The Islanders are a bit fat and happy after getting their first victory with a 3-2 overtime win against the Ducks Sunday.
The line is short because it’s likely rookie goalie Aaron Dell will make his NHL debut for San Jose. Dell finished last season strong helping his AHL team reach the playoffs.
San Jose had been playing excellent defense until the Rangers game allowing three goals during their first two games. The lopsided loss to the Rangers is a bit misleading since New York scored two empty net goals.
When at even strength, the Sharks have permitted only one goal on the season.
- (Editor’s note: Stephen Nover turned a tidy profit in hockey last season and he’s out of the gates fast this season cashing 63 percent of his premium plays. Stephen’s Tuesday NHL ticket is headed by his strongest play of the season so far, his Total of the Month.)
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Chicago Blackhawks
NHL Over-Under Prediction: Over 5.5 goals -110 odds (October 18th 2016)
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Monday NHL free play. My selection is on the ‘over’ between Philadelphia and Chicago at 8:35 pm et on Tuesday.
I’ll back the ‘over’ in Chicago on Tuesday night.
The Flyers have only managed to split their first two games although their loss came in overtime and they have scored seven goals through those two contests, which is certainly encouraging for a team that has struggled to put the puck in the net at times in recent years.
I do see Philadelphia as a team on the rise, thanks in large part to its depth of young talent up front. I expect to see the Flyers find continued success offensively against a Chicago squad that has yet to get going on Tuesday night.
The Blackhawks are 1-2 to start the season but their offense has been fine, scoring nine goals through three games, including five last time out against Nashville. Some of their key cogs up front are off to a slow start but I see this as a fine breakout spot against a Flyers squad that doesn’t exactly boast world class goaltending, not to mention an offensive-minded defensive corps.
This has the makings of an entertaining affair at the United Center. I feel there’s a good chance the losing team gets to three goals, which is obviously more than enough to cash our ticket. Take the over (8*).
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Detroit Red Wings vs. Ottawa Senators
NHL Over-Under Pick: Over 5.5 goals -110 odds (October 17th 2016)
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NHL Free Game – Rickenbach Game #55/56 Monday 8* OVER 5.5 goals in Detroit Red Wings vs Ottawa Senators @ 7:35 ET – This literally is the NHL Free Game Monday as you can watch it live for free at NHL.com tonight. Also, although this is my Free Pick for Monday, please know that this is an actual 8* release that all my NHL clients are receiving as an actual star rated release for tonight. The key to this pick is that the Red Wings are hungry to get a W in their home opener but they have already allowed 10 goals in their first two games this season. After Detroit lost their first game 6-4, the focus shifted to avoiding odd man rushes and making sure to get back quick on defense. The problem with that, however, was the Red Wings became tentative in the offensive zone and they ended up losing their second game 4-1. What that will mean for tonight is that Detroit is going to again get aggressive in the offensive zone and they certainly are happy to be home for the home opener of what will be their final season in the old Joe Louis Arena.
While at first glance this may appear to be a good stop to back the hungry Red Wings at home, the issue with that is that goalie Petr Mrazek has not looked overly sharp early this season. Detroit is hosting an Ottawa team that is flying high right now as they have scored 9 goals already this season. However, like the Red Wings, the Senators have had some issues in their own zone with already allowing 7 goals in their first two games. The last 52 times that Detroit is off of a game where they allowed 4 goals or more, the Red Wings have recorded just 17 unders. Considering the style Ottawa is playing and the fact that Detroit will be focused on a strong game in the offensive zone after scoring just one goal in their last game, look for this one to get to at least 6 goals. OVER 5.5 in Detroit is an 8* selection Monday evening in the NHL