After going 5-3 last night, I am looking to continue my winning ways with another six games being played in the NHL tonight.
Two big games in the west tonight, as Vancouver heads to Chicago for a rematch of a 2010 playoff series, and the Ducks host Detroit, a team that they have struggled against this season.
New York Islanders (5-13-5)(170) at New York Rangers (15-11-1)(-210) (Total 5.5)—7 P.M EST, TV—MSG PLUS 2; MSG PLUS (HD)—The Rangers look to complete a home and home sweep of the Islanders tonight as they return to the Garden.
While the Rangers have found great success on the road (10-4), they have struggled in front of the home crowd at just 5-7-1.
The Islanders meanwhile, are 10-5 in their last 15 road contests against the Rangers.
Despite that trend, the Islanders are not playing well at all, and they tend to lose games in bunches. They are 1-9 in their last 10 games coming off of a loss.
I expect that trend to continue.
Pick: New York Rangers (-210) Under (5.5)—Rangers 3 Islanders 1
Colorado Avalanche (13-9-2)(105) at Carolina Hurricanes (10-11-3)(-125) (Total 5.5)—7 P.M. EST, TV—ALTITUDE-2 (HD); FS-Carolinas (HD)—As was the theme last night, this is a battle of two teams that do not see each other too often. However, when they do, the home team tends to emerge victorious.
The numbers tell us that Colorado is 12-2-1 in its last 15 contests against the Hurricanes, but the fact that they see very little of each other makes this stat a bit misleading.
It is worth noting that Colorado is a bit banged up up front as well. Peter Budaj is expected to start for the Avalanche, and he has allowed at least three goals in each of his last eight starts.
Give me the ‘Canes and the over.
Pick: Carolina (-125) Over (5.5)—Hurricanes 5 Colorado 4
Columbus Blue Jackets (14-8-1) (110) at Buffalo Sabres (9-13-3)(-130) (Total 5.5)—7:30 P.M. EST, TV—FS-O (HD), MSG-B (HD)—The Sabres are favored in this game, making the Blue Jackets a decent value as an underdog.
Columbus is 5-1 in their last six road tilts and 4-1 in their last five against Buffalo.
The Blue Jackets pounded the Sabres twice last season and have no trouble playing on the road.
I like the Columbus Blue Jackets to get back on track against an inferior Buffalo squad.
Pick: Columbus (110) Over (5.5)—Blue Jackets 6 Sabres 1
Calgary Flames (10-13-2)(110) at Minnesota Wild (11-11-2)(-130) (Total 5.5)—8:00 P.M. EST, TV—SNET-W (HD), KSTC (HD)—A match up of Northwest Division rivals, this contest feature two of the best goalies in the league, each looking to find his groove again.
Niklas Backstrom of the Wild has given up 18 goals in his last three starts, while the Flames’ Miikka Kiprusoff gave up four third period goals in a 7-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
These teams have met twice on the year, and the home team has won each contest. As a matter of fact, the Wild are 4-1 in their last five games against the Flames on their home ice.
Neither team is playing well, so anything could happen, but I’ll side with the home team.
Pick: Minnesota (-130) Under (5.5)—Wild 3 Flames 2
Vancouver Canucks (13-7-3) (105) at Chicago Blackhawks (14-11-2) (-125) (Total 5.5)—8:30 P.M. EST, TV—TSN (HD), RIS, NHLN-US (HD), CSN-Chicago (HD)—Unlike the previous match up, this game features a pair of hot teams, with both Vancouver and Chicago having won three straight.
The Blackhawks have owned this series recently, winning six of the last seven meetings.
Marty Turco returns to the net for the first time since November 24th, and Chicago hopes the time off was beneficial.
This is a big test for the Canucks. There is a significant mental hurdle here that needs to be overcome.
The Canucks have been scoring a ton lately, and I think they improve on their 8-2 record following wins.
Pick: Vancouver (105) Over (5.5)—Canucks 5 Blackhawks 4
Detroit Red Wings (16-4-2) (-135) at Anaheim Ducks (13-11-3)(115) (Total 5.5)—10:00 P.M. EST, TV FS-D (HD), KDOC (HD)—Detroit continues their road trip to the west coast as they take on the resurgent Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks, winners of their last three, have gotten great play in goal from Jonas Hiller and their top scoring line, which has 15 points in the last three games.
The Ducks have a bit more to prove than the Wings, who are in firm control of their division.
In addition, Anaheim is 4-1 in its last five home games against the Red Wings.
The Ducks win a close, low-scoring game.
Pick: Anaheim (115) Under (5.5)—Ducks 3 Red Wings 2