No extra fuss trying to find the best plays on ice today with three games to choose. The most challenging aspect versus the betting odds is picking the order, which is completed.
Yesterday was our third winning day in a row and sixth in the past week in a very eventful day. Chicago won its 12th game in a row and while the playoffs are not anywhere in sight, the Blackhawks have established themselves as the best team in the Western Conference and legitimate threat to repeat as champions. Chicago passed Dallas like they were standing still and the Stars suffered a fourth straight loss last night. We got a little lucky in a couple of our victories yesterday, as Washington went with Braden Holtby in net, but we still were correct on high score in Columbus, while Ben Bishop sat, but Tampa Bay scored twice in third period to break 4-4 tie.
For NHL picks, this is what I have for Hump Day.
Anaheim Closes Long Homestand a Winner
The Ducks 19-25 overall record still proves they are not a good team, but Anaheim is just trying to get better game by game and make playoff push after the All-Star game. With this being the last contest of a eight-game homestand, the Ducks want to make it a success, having a 4-3 SU record at the moment.
Coach Bruce Boudreau continues to harp on his players about consistency. Anaheim is one of the better special teams in the league, ranked 11th in power play goal percentage at 19.9 and has the finest penalty killers with kill rate of 88.9. What hurts them is lack of scoring, the only team scoring less than two times a game (1.95) and they have a goal differential of -22 in 5-on-5 hockey.
Even with these problems, the NHL odds have them as -130 home favorites over Minnesota (22-23 SU), whose offense has dried up, with three goals in past two four outings and been held scoreless in last two. With the Wild 15-33 on the road versus opponents who convert better than 19 percent on the power play, Anaheim closes homestand in style.
Free Pick – Anaheim wins
Buffalo Stuns Colorado
Normally one to ride a money line streak, I am going rogue and playing hunch with Buffalo (19-27 SU) at Colorado (23-24 SU). The last time the Sabres defeated the Avalanche was 2005, which was nine games ago. Typically, I am all over this, but something feels different this time.
Buffalo has won four of five and reading team reports, there 4-1 upset of Washington on Saturday gave the entire team a real boost of confidence and that carried over in triumph at Arizona Monday. The Sabres have to other aspects of their game going right now I like, as the power play is humming at 25 percent clip (8 for 32) and defensively they have permitted just 10 goals in past five contests.