NHL Picks: Bruins vs. Red Wings Series Price

The Boston Bruins copped the President’s Trophy for most points in the regular season but that and a bag of hockey pucks won’t even get you a cup of coffee in the postseason. So which round one team has the most value in our NHL picks?

Last 10 Games
The Bruins were 5-5 down the stretch which had more to do with head coach Claude Julien resting key players as opposed to the B’s playing mediocre hockey. However, playing .500 hockey late in the season regardless of the reason can breed bad habits. Boston dropped a 3-2 decision to Detroit during the homestretch and ended their season by the identical score in a loss to New Jersey.

The Red Wings went 6-4 in their final 10 games and crept into the playoffs, edging the Capitals for the eighth and final seed. Detroit ended their season with an exclamation point defeating Western Conference power St. Louis, courtesy of seldom used third string goalie Petr Mrazek who stopped all 23 shots en route to a 3-0 victory.

Season Series
Detroit won the season series 3-1, dropping their first game in Boston 4-1 way back on October 5thbut then swept the next three games by scores of 3-2, 6-1 and on April 2nd the Wings stole a 3-2 win despite getting outshot 35-20.  Starting netminder Jimmy Howard was between the pipes for that critical victory while Tuukka Rask took the loss for Boston. Detroit was the only team in the NHL to defeat Boston three times this season.

Forwards
The Bruins skate four solid lines. Even the fourth line consisting of Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille consistently causes problems for the league’s scoring elite. They are a fierce checking unit that can, on occasion, light the lamp themselves. But the straw that stirs the drink is clearly Patrice Bergeron who doesn’t get the recognition he deserves around the league because he sacrifices goal scoring for solid two-way hockey. It’s a system that head coach Claude Julien demands of every player and most likely the reason that the uber talented Tyler Seguin was ticketed out of town. Nevertheless, Bergeron still netted 30 goals and along with David Krejci, Jarome Iginla, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand the Bruins boast a prolific offense which ranked 3rd in the league averaging 3.1 goals per game and now have a power play to go along with it which ranked third as well, connecting on 21.7% of their man-advantaged opportunities.

The Red Wings will be missing a crucial part of their offense and locker room leadership as veteran left winger Henrik Zetterberg is still sidelined after back surgery several weeks ago. The best Detroit fans can hope for is that he recuperates enough to perhaps partake in the latter games of the series. However, Detroit will be counting on the surprising Swedish sensation Gustav Nyquist to continue his stellar season with contributions from 41-year-old Daniel Alfredsson.

Edge: Boston

Defensemen
Zdeno Chara has barely missed a beat in his 15th season in the NHL and has been incorporated as a forward on the power play which puts his 6’9” frame in the middle of all the action. He heads a defensive corps that is among the best the NHL has to offer and if his defensive partner Dennis Seidenberg could return from the dead, this will be a complete mismatch not only for the Red Wings but any opponent the Bruins may face going forward.

Edge: Boston

Goaltender:
The edge in NHL odds definitely favors the Bruins Tuukka Rask whose 2.04 GAA and .930 save percentage will put him squarely in the middle of Vezina Trophy consideration. Jimmy Howard can be a brick wall when on but has struggled at times this season. If the Wings fall behind in the series early and Howard is not at his best, don’t be surprised if third string goalie Petr Mrazek gets the nod to spark a fire over backup Jonas Gustavsson. Mrazek has sparkled in his nine appearances including two shutouts. 

Edge: Boston

[gameodds]7/263959/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Summary
Though it appears the Bruins have an edge in every category including special teams, it’s not quite that easy. Detroit took three of four from the Bruins but please note in your NHL picks that Henrik Zetterberg scored in three of those four games and will not be playing. Indeed the Bruins will be fairly heavy favorites in NHL odds at Bet365.com or WilliamHill.com they should be worthy of a wager to get through the opening round.

NHL Picks: Bruins win series 4-2.

NHL Picks: Canadiens vs. Senators

The Ottawa Senators host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday at the Canadien Tire Center. Find out where we believe the best value lies for tonights matchup.

According to NHL betting odds Ottawa is a -115 money line home favorite and the posted total is 5.5. The home team has gone 10-2 in the last 12 meetings between these two clubs. Ottawa is a perfect 5-0 in the last 5 at home versus Montreal.

Habs on Temporary Hold

Montreal enters tonight having lost their last 3 in a row. The most recent of those losses came on Tuesday at home in a 3-2 overtime shootout versus the St. Louis Blues. The Canadiens special teams have been outstanding this season. The power play is converting on 23.7% of its chances which is good for 4th best in the NHL. The penalty killing unit has killed off 86.2% of their opponent’s man advantages, which ranks 5th in the league. Montreal has been rock solid defensively, while receiving very good goaltending from both Carey Price and Peter Budaj. In 13 starts this season Price has a 2.16 GAA and an outstanding .933 save percentage. The Canadiens backup goaltender Peter Budaj has been terrific in 3 starts with a stellar 1.34 GAA and a superb .953 save percentage. Montreal is currently 5th in the NHL allowing a mere 2.1 goals per game. Defensemen P.K. Subban has shown why he earned the big contract. Subban has accounted for 15-points in the first 16-games of the season.

Senators back on the Right Side

The Ottawa Senators were able to snap a 5-game losing streak on Tuesday night with a 4-1 road win at Columbus. They received another outstanding effort in goal from their backup Robin Lehner who turned away 32 of 33 shots on goal. In his last 2 starts Lehner has stopped 85 of 90 shots on goal for a .944 save percentage. Lehner may get the nod again tonight, as the Senators #1 goaltender Craig Anderson is dealing with a head injury suffered at home on Saturday versus the Dallas Stars. Defensemen Erik Karlsson has been red-hot scoring 4-goals and adding 5-assists over the last 5-games. The 23-year old Swedish born player leads the Senators in scoring with 17-points in the first 15-games of the year, and is an outstanding +5 over the last 3-games. After a temporary drought the Senators captain Jason Spezza has been able to get back on track. Spezza had a goal and 3-assists in the last 2-games, and is 2nd on the team with 16-points.

Final Analysis

This will be the first time these two division rivals have met since last year’s playoffs. In that series the Senators shocked the #2 seed Canadiens in 5-games. Montreal will surely be playing with a chip on their shoulder as a result of that humiliating first round exit. Despite the win on Tuesday the Senators have vastly underachieved thus far. In addition Ottawa has started the season 1-5 at home. Montreal on the other hand has been a very respectable 4-3 on the road in the early going. My lean for my NHL pick here is on the visitors.

NHL PickMontreal +105 over Ottawa

Make sure you check out the full-length previews of the Ottawa Senators-Chicago Blackhawks contest and the Toronto Maple Leafs-Edmonton Oilers affair. Below, we have previews and picks of a couple more games as well.

Tampa Bay Lightning @ New Jersey Devils

There’s another 5.5 on the NHL odds board involving the Lightning and I’ll be adding another one of their unders to my sports picks. Goaltender Ben Bishop has proven to be a big upgrade in net for the Lightning and as their netminding has improved and their offense has degraded (slightly), they’ve shifted from a clear over bet to a quality under bet. They don’t play as many shootouts as many up-and-down shootouts as they have in recent years.

The Devils have had some goaltending/defensive woes of their own but keep in mind that they’ve only played three home games to this point. They’ve allowed just two non-shootout goals in their last two home games. Add it all up and I’m expecting an under here.

NHL Pick: Under 5.5 at WillHill

Winnipeg Jets @ St. Louis Blues

I’m going to add another under to my NHL picks on Tuesday as the Jets simply haven’t been doing much scoring recently. Since scoring 10 goals in their first two games, the Jets have averaged just two goals per game. Meanwhile, St. Louis is third in the West in goals allowed with just 23 so far.

This is a revenge game for the Blues as they lost in Winnipeg two Fridays ago. They’ve talked about that loss prior to this contest and they’ll be looking to exact some revenge. Look for them to keep the Jets under wraps and for this game to stay below the number.

NHL Pick: Over 5.5 at Bodog

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Edmonton Oilers

We turn our focus to the north of the border matchup between the Edmonton Oilers and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Find out where we’ve decided to place our money for tonight’s Canadian matchup!

With 16 points so far this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are tied for the most in the Eastern Conference. That’s better than the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings and even the Pittsburgh Penguins, who the Leafs disposed of on Saturday night. Toronto will hope to keep their momentum going as they start a three-game road trip to the west coast in Canada. It starts with a matchup against Edmonton on Tuesday night.

The Toronto Maple Leafs can win because…

Edmonton sucks. People who make their sports picks know that the Oilers just aren’t a good team right now. The Oilers have lost three straight entering this meeting and only have three wins in 13 games this season.

Toronto got a win on Saturday over the Penguins, who were the preseason Stanley Cup favorites. They earned that win with James Reimer in net, which means the Leafs have two stellar options to choose from between the pipes. All of the Oilers goaltenders have been pitiful this season, so the Leafs should have a huge edge in that category on Tuesday night.

The Edmonton Oilers can win because…

They’ve showed some signs of life. Bettors probably won’t be adding the Oilers to their NHL picks anytime soon but it’s worth noting that the Oilers did win in Ottawa and Montreal last week and lost in a shootout to the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night. That makes them 2-2-1 in their last five, which isn’t great, but it’s better than the 1-6-1 that they started with. Edmonton has found a way to be more competitive over the last week and that should carryover to Tuesday’s affair.

Outlook & Pick

Not only are the Oilers slumping – again – they are also shorthanded. There’s still no Taylor Hall and Sam Gagner, which takes a bite out of their offense. Combined with the fact that they’ve had a tough time stopping opponents from scoring makes the Leafs a good value play on the NHL odds.

NHL Pick: Maple Leafs -105 at Bovada

Montreal Canadiens vs New York Rangers

The New York Rangers have struggled to start the season but let’s not forget: they began the year on a ridiculous nine-game road trip. On Monday, they’ll finally play their first home in the newly-renovated Madison Square Garden. Expect a strong effort from them.

The Montreal Canadiens can win because…

They’ve dominated the Rangers in recent meetings. Handicappers who make their NHL picks should note that the Habs have won 10 of the last 13 meetings between the teams. On top of that, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist hasn’t even played that well this season. He’s expected back on Monday (after missing a couple of games) but he’s just 2-4-0 with a 3.45 GAA in seven games this season. As for Habs goaltender Carey Price, he’s shutout the Rangers in each of his last two starts.

The New York Rangers can win because…

They are finally back at home. People who make their sports picks have shot a number of criticisms towards the Rangers so far this season but they’ve had a long, grueling road trip. Let’s wait until we see them play at home before we start drawing conclusions about their head coach, style and performance.

The Rangers won two of their last four road games, notching wins in Detroit and Washington, so they should have some momentum coming into this game.

Outlook & Pick

Yes, the Rangers back at home and the crowd should be fired up after the $1 billion renovation to MSG. However, the Habs look like they offer some good value. For starters, they play well in this series. Secondly, Lundqvist hasn’t played that well for the Rangers. Thirdly, the Rangers will be without Rick Nash (concussion), Ryan Callahan (thumb) and Carl Hagelin (shoulder), which means they are without three of their top five scorers from last season. This looks like a spot where the Habs can spoil the party. Take them on the NHL odds.

NHL Pick: Canadiens -116 at Pinnacle

NHL Picks: Coyotes vs. Flyers Betting Preview

NHL Preview

These two clubs have seen 6 of their last 8 meetings go under the total including 4 of the last 5 played in Philadelphia. 

Kudos to the Coyotes

The Phoenix Coyotes turned in a gutty performance last night at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. After losing their first 2 road games of the season and being outscored by 11-2 in the process, the Coyotes earned a huge 4-2 win over the Red Wings. It was by no means a fluke as they outshot Detroit 37-30 for the game. Mike Smith came up with a big effort in goal stopping 28 of 30 Detroit shots. Phoenix entered the night having lost 16 of their last 21 on the road with 11 of the 16 losses coming by 2-goals or more. In last night’s win Antoine Vermette had a goal and 2 assists while Derek Morris and Mikkkel Boedker each contributed a goal and an assist. Micheal Stone scored his first of the year with 4:47 left in regulation for the game winner. The Coyotes will have a couple of more obstacles to overcome tonight. They’re just 5-11 when in their last 16 when playing the 2nd game in as many days, and are just 1-5 in the last 6 following a win with both of those stats dating back to last season.

               Have a look at David Lawrence’s NHL Picks of the Day~

The New Regime in Philly

It didn’t take General Manager Paul Holmgren long take to make a coaching change this season. After the Flyers got off to a 0-3 start head coach Peter Laviolette was fired and replaced by former Flyer tough guy Craig Berube. The Flyers rewarded Berube in his first game behind the bench with a 2-1 win on home ice over the Florida Panthers. The win improved the Flyers record to 1-3 on the year. All 4 of Philadelphia’s games this season have gone under the total. Berube needs to find a way for his team to create more offense as they’ve scored just 5-goals through the first 4-games. The Flyers power play is a dismal 2/19 (10.5%) so far. Steve Mason was in goal in the 2-1 win over Philadelphia and stopped 33 of 34 shots. Mason has been rock solid in 3 starts this season posting a 2.02 GAA and a .935 save percentage. The Flyers are 5-1 in their last 6 dating back to a season ago after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game.

                 Stay on top of all the NHL betting odds right here!

Final Analysis 

At the time of this writing there was no money line or total posted on this game. For my NHL picks, I do have a lean toward the Flyers in this spot. Philadelphia will be the more rested team in addition to coming off a momentum building victory at home under a new head coach. The Coyotes effort was admirable last night but with their recent history futility on the road, and playing with no rest, it’s not likely they’ll win 2 in a row with all considered.

                         Free Pick: Flyers over Coyotes