I had some time and some coffee this morning, so I spent a couple of hours digging into the NHL slate for tonight. Here's what I found:
Blackhawks @ Maple Leafs
Maple Leafs -0.5 1st Period -110
This Blackhawks team is playing poorly, to say the least, some would say on purpose. They lost 4-0 last night in Montreal after losing 4-1 in Winnipeg. After this, they go to Ottowa and then finally home. It's tough to see anyone getting up for this game on the Chicago side.
Toronto is 20-6-4 at home and coming off a 4-3 loss to the lowly Blue Jackets. The 1st period should feature a Maple Leafs team who wants to get a lead and keep it. They're 3rd in division, Toronto can't afford to lose a game like this.
Only two players have more 1st-period goals than the 12 Toronto's John Tavares has. Toronto is the NHL's Atlanta Falcons, so I don't trust them to cover 1.5 on the final score. Toronto is 3rd in the NHL in 1st-period goals, scoring 64 in 54 games. Chicago is 2nd worst with 37 1st period goals in 57 games.
Lightning @ Coyotes
Coyotes +1.5 -120
But aren't the Coyotes the team without an arena that plays on a college campus and the pipes are broken or there are rats or something? Well...yes, yes, and possibly.
HOWEVER, this team has been playing better lately. Back home where they are 11-8-2, just beat the Predators and their four losses prior were all by one goal.
Enter a Lightning team who also played last night at altitude, this seems like a less-than-ideal spot for the visitors. Tampa gets two days off after this before their game in Vegas.
Tampa goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 43 saves last night in Colorado to get the shootout win. He's started 9 of the last 10 games, there's a good chance he takes tonight off.
Red Wings @ Oilers
Over 6.5 Goals -125
Both of these teams are finding the net with regularity in recent games. Over just the past four, Edmonton has scored 14 goals while Detroit compiled 15 of them. This is an escalation of two teams who were already averaging 3.7 and 3.1 goals per game.
We have some stars on the ice in this one as well with the league's most prolific goal-scorer Connor McDavid as well as Dylan Larkin, who is in search of his next big contract.
Avalanche @ Wild
Under 6 Goals -115
The Avs head to Minnesota after just losing that shootout to Tampa at home. They're not in great health and facing a Wild team who has been scrappy lately.
Minnesota just held the 5th highest-scoring Florida Panthers to two goals. The New Jersey Devils boast the NHL's best road record, but they took a loss in Minnesota this week.
Since getting home from a road trip, Minnesota has allowed just four goals in two home games. The Avalanche aren't exactly lighting up the scoreboard these days either, scoring more than three just once over their past five.
Sabres @ Ducks
Sabres -1.5 +115
This is the bounce-back spot Buffalo has been waiting for. The Anaheim Ducks are a generous bunch. They allow more shots and more goals than any team in the NHL. Both teams have been generous lately, the Ducks have given up 16 goals over their last three games. Buffalo said hold my Molson and gave up 17 goals in a three-game period.
So which team can pull it out of the ditch? The numbers would suggest Buffalo can and will. The Sabres are streaky, they lost eight in a row once. When they break the streak, though, they do it convincingly. The 8-game streak ended with a 7-2 win over Montreal. Other streaks have been snapped by wins of 6-0 and 5-3.
If the Sabres can't cover a number vs the Ducks, they have no business talking about playoffs.
Over 1.5 Points +174
In these bounce-back games, it's no surprise that Tage Thompson is usually the catalyst. In the three wins discussed above, Tage posted three or more points in two of them. He's a do-it-all player, so the contributions could come in the form of goals or assists. Best to go with points.
Rangers @ Canucks
Rangers 1st Period -0.5 +115
Rangers -1.5 +130
These are two teams going in completely opposite directions. The Vancouver Canucks are in a free fall. They did beat the Islanders last week, but that team is a mess as well. Aside from that, Vancouver has lost to these Rangers 4-3, the Devils in overtime, and then two convincing losses to Detroit by scores of 5-2 and 6-1.
The Rangers (15-5-4 road record) on the other hand, have been on fire. They just beat Carolina handily 6-2 scoring four in the 3rd period. Aside from that, New York has beaten the Kraken 6-3 and the Golden Knights 4-1. The Rangers are a team trying to position themselves for the postseason, Vancouver sitting 6th in the Pacific, is not.
First Goal +900
He's on fire right now with five goals in his last four games. Zibanejad is normally productive, but this is the first time he's scored in more than two consecutive games. Either we found the trend too late and it craps out tonight, or the man is just in a groove. Zibanejad is tied for 8th in the NHL with 10 goals in the first period of games this year.
Best of luck to all who ride along, and thank you for supporting Patriot Sports!
6-2 yesterday which brings us to an all-time NHL total of....well, 6-2