The betting odds will not be affected short term, but true Stanley Cup contenders Washington and Los Angeles made deals this week which shore up weaknesses, making them stronger for the long haul.
Both will be in action tonight, but we decided to give them the night off because readers here don’t want to see the same old thing every time these teams play and truth be told, not that hot on the Capitals anyways.
For NHL picks, got back to winning yesterday and after reviewing and dissecting the NHL odds for Thursday, feel confident I can follow this up with another winning day.
The Wild (21-18 SU) just finished off a 2-1-1 road trip and are back at the Xcel Energy Center, where Minnesota plays a different brand of hockey. The Wild are 14-6 SU at home where goal-scoring comes easier at three per game (T-7th) and their defense steps up their play, ranked 2nd in the league at only 2.10 goals allowed.
Minnesota is only 4-5 in the last nine, but if Zach Parise starts to show the form he did in Columbus the last time out, the Wild could start clicking off a series of victories. Parise tallied three goals in 4-2 win against the Blue Jackets. If Minnesota can start finding the back of net with greater regularity, no team in the Western Conference has been better defensively since the start of December than the Wild at 1.76 goals against.
Minnesota is a -165 favorite over Philadelphia (16-22 SU), who has been scuffling on the road in losing five in a row and scoring only eight times. With sportsbooks posting a total of 5 on this contest, that would favor the Wild who are 12-3 at home when the total is five or less this season.
Free Pick – Minnesota wins
The NHL’s leading scorer Jamie Benn of Dallas (28-14 SU) summed up his team’s three-game road trip thru New York and New Jersey, saying his team played “stupid hockey”. The Stars had not lost consecutive games all season, let alone three straight. Faulty defense was an obvious issue in surrendering 15 goals, as was the power play outage on the road, where they are now 2 for 34.
However, this situation could change rapidly for Dallas, who is 16-4 SU at American Airlines Arena and handily the top scoring team in the league at 3.75 GAG. Winnipeg (19-21 SU) could be the perfect punching bag since they are 8-15 SU away from home and are 23rd in goals against at 3.17.