Thursday was another good night for us with our favourite play of the day winning for a 4th straight time.
Hopefully, the good run continues on a jam-packed 12 game slate today in the NHL.
We breakdown our Best Bet in an Original Six tilt between the Blackhawks and Canadiens – a game which is important for both sides.
We also offer opinions on a few other games today including the Blues and Penguins which gets underway at 1PM ET.
Good luck today!
Although the Blackhawks may reside in the basement of the Central Division standings, they’re still very much alive in the playoff race. Coming into today’s action, Chicago is just six points behind the Coyotes for the final wild card spot in the West — an incredible feat when you consider where the Hawks were in early December. But since starting the year with just nine wins in their first 32 games, Chicago’s gone 22-12-4 since. Riding a four-game winning streak and playing with newfound confidence on the road (the Hawks are 11-5-1 in their last 17 away from home), we like Chicago to bring tons of energy to Montreal tonight.
The Habs are also desperate for points at the moment, trailing both Carolina and Columbus by two points for a wild card spot in the East. But even though they’re going up against a leaky Chicago defense, we don’t expect goals to come easily for the Canadiens. Montreal’s in a prolonged scoring slump, having managed just 11 non-empty net goals in its last six games. They’ve also scored more than three goals in a game just three times in their last 16. That’s not the recipe for winning comfortably, especially against a Chicago squad that has scored at least three goals in nine of its last 11 outings and 24 of its last 27.
Hawks netminder Corey Crawford isn’t exactly enjoying a banner season, but the Montreal native acknowledges that it’s “always fun” coming back to face his hometown Canadiens. Crawford’s certainly had fun in his last six trips, going 4-0-2, and we like the Hawks’ chances of securing at least a point for the seventh straight time in Montreal. We’re going a bit more conservative here with a play on the Hawks +0.5 -120, but the Chicago moneyline +130 is also an option worth considering tonight.
Other thoughts and opinions:
- Blues at Penguins: As we wrote earlier this week when discussing the Under in a game between the Coyotes and Blues, St. Louis’ offense has gone in the tank since the Blues’ lengthy winning streak. Things haven’t gotten any better since, with St. Louis getting blanked 2-0 in Ottawa on Thursday after managing just one goal against the Yotes — despite firing a combined 75 shots on net in those two games. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s allowed two goals or less in five of its last seven games as part of a 7-1-2 surge in its last 10. Each of these teams are trending Under at the moment (St. Louis 22-8-1 to the Under in its last 31 and Pittsburgh 6-1 to the Under in its last seven), and we like the Under 6 +103 here as well.
- Panthers at Kings: We’ve enjoyed fading the Kings in first periods at home over the past few seasons, but it’s been hard to find value lately doing so with LA often underdogged at home this season. This does, however, look like a good spot to back the visitors on the first period moneyline. Florida cashed a +0.5 ticket for us Thursday in San Jose and comes into this game with plenty of momentum, and the Panthers have outscored their opponents 34-27 in first periods on the road this year. By contrast, the Kings have been outscored 32-25 in opening frames on home ice this season. There’s not a ton of value here at the current price, but Panthers First Period Moneyline -129 seems worth a small bet if you’re looking for some recreational afternoon action.
- Flames at Jets: We really wanted to back the Over here, but -138 juice on the Over 6.5 is a bit too much for our taste. Instead, we’re considering a play on the Flames moneyline +120. After scoring just 14 goals in its previous eight games, Calgary’s offense has broken out for 20 goals in its last three. Even on the second night of a back-to-back, we think the Flames find offensive success again here against a Jets team that has allowed 3+ goals in 10 straight at home. Winnipeg is always dangerous to pot a few itself, but the Flames have proven an ability to shut down opponents on the road all year, allowing 2.42 goals per game this season in enemy territory.
- Predators at Sharks: Nashville’s been spinning its wheels for months, and we’re not sure a 3-1 win in LA on Thursday will suddenly turn those fortunes around. Tonight’s the Preds’ third straight west coast game and their offense is still in a funk, producing just 22 regulation-time goals in its last 10. San Jose’s coming off a home loss to Florida (as we wrote Thursday, a tough spot for the Sharks playing their fourth in six) and should bring a better effort tonight. Sharks moneyline -138 looks like a pretty good bargain.
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