A very nice looking slate of games on tap for today, with some good matchups. The betting odds offer us a nice variety of choices and some them require extra work before making picks for Thursday.
Because my style of making NHL picks during the regular season is weighted towards favorites, thought I would give Los Angeles a day off and not go as chalky today. I gave Carolina a lot of consideration, but in the end found another road team which will be my No.3 pick against the NHL odds.
If you are regular reader of my hockey thoughts and selections, you know I have been critical of Dallas (38-23 SU) the past couple weeks being more a pretender than contender for the Stanley Cup in spite of being in first place in the Central Division and having the second most points in the league. The reason is the Stars lack of defense, ranking 21st at 2.79 goals allowed and in their past three games, they have conceded 16 goals, certainly not the mark of a champion.
However, that is when the playoffs arrive and when opportunities during the regular season arise, you have to jump on them. Dallas is home against Winnipeg (25-34 SU) and the Jets defense also has a few holes. During current four-game losing skid, they have allowed 16 scores, which has sent them to 25th in the league in giving up 2.93. Against the Stars No.2 scoring offense, that could be terminal. Winnipeg is unhealthy 12-19 on the road, while Dallas is 20-8 at home. The Jets just lost 5-3 to the Stars on Tuesday and as +170 underdogs, they are 0-7 revenging a home loss of two or more goals this season.
Free Pick – Dallas wins
Arizona’s (27-33 SU) five-game road trip has gotten off to rocky start, but the competition has a lot to do with it and it does not get any simpler tonight. The Coyotes have been competitive in losing by one goal at Washington and Tampa Bay and takes on first place Florida (34-25 SU). Arizona has seen very good goaltending thus far on the trip and has to hope they can crack the Panthers Roberto Luongo confidence with an early goal.
Luongo has long been a streaky netminder and his recent play has been perfect example. After permitting at least three goals over five starts, Luongo sat for a couple games and was sharp in 3-1 victory over Winnipeg Saturday.