Tough group of games to make selections from in the NHL on Hump Day. The matchups are different, giving one pause to ponder the betting odds, but hey, nobody said finding winners was easy right?
One essential element when it comes to being a handicapper is learning from one’s mistakes. Yesterday I made one on Columbus. I ended up talking myself into taking the Blue Jackets when I knew they would most likely have a tough time with Minnesota. This is not to say the Wild did not have flaws and a case could not be made for backing Columbus, but in the end, after giving it more thought, it was realistically a 50-50 game and had better options in which I passed on. Just trying to keep it real and show even award-winning cappers like myself can make poor decisions.
Yesterday is in the rearview mirror, let’s move on.
Chicago (24-17 SU) and Pittsburgh (19-20 SU) played a highly entertaining game in the Steel City last night. The Blackhawks jumped to a 2-0 lead, but the Penguins stormed back with two third period goals to tie score before Artemi Panarin’s OT winner.
The scene shifts to Chicago tonight, where the Blackhawks are -150 money line favorites. The stars for both teams are shining, which makes this another possibly highly entertaining game, as Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (six goals, six assists L8G) and Kris Letang (eight points L3G) are back in top form. Chicago’s top line of Panarin, Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, has combined for eight goals during the Hawks four-game win streak.
I’m backing Chicago here, having won nine of 11 and assembling one of the better home records at 15-5-1. Also, Pittsburgh has lost three straight at the United Center. Take a look at the total as well, with both having played last night, and the UNDER 9-2 in recent matchups in the Windy City.
Free Pick – Chicago wins
Carolina’s (16-24 SU) goaltenders Cam Ward and Eddie Lack have been spectacular. In the Hurricanes last nine games, they have only allowed 15 total goals. One problem, this has not been good enough, with Carolina only 4-5 SU because the offense has generated a mere 15 scores themselves. Carolina finishes a quick two-game western Canada adventure in a place where they have not won since – Star Wars Episode 1: The Phanton Menace – was top grossing movie that year (1999).
While Vancouver (15-25 SU) has won seven in a row on home ice over Carolina, this year’s crew hardly inspires confidence with those making NHL picks. The Canucks are only 7-11 SU at home and their power play has been on the fritz with one goal in 21 chances.