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Alright, I mentioned in my first-ever NHL article that I’ll be sharing plays with you as I venture into this handicapping of hockey. I’ll restate it here, but I’m sure I’ll mention it in other articles: I am not a hockey person until playoffs. Once the playoffs come around, I truly enjoy watching it. These picks could be complete trash, fade or follow at your own risk. I’m sharing what I’m betting, and right now, I’m 1-0 with a Blackhawks victory yesterday.
The Minnesota Wild come into this game with a solid 22-13-2 record. They’ve been playing rather well lately winning three of their past five games. Most of them have not been close games. Over their past five games, their goalies are either great our let everything past them. In their wins, they’ve allowed just four goals over three games. In their losses, they’ve allowed nine goals in two games. Today, Minnesota is expected to win the game, but it isn’t an overwhelming line, they are just -115 favorites. The Wild are likely going to have Marc-Andre Fleury mining the net tonight and he’s done well this season with a 13-8 record and a 2.81 goals against average. After starting December very poorly – he allowed 16 goals in four games – he rebounded and allowed just three goals over his next three and has fallen back to being more average his past two games. I think Buffalo should be able to put up a couple of goals in this one, I have them scoring three.
The Buffalo Sabers are a respectable 19-15-2 right now and battling to improve each game. They just got a hat trick in their most recent game from Tage Thompson who has been having a really good season for the Sabers. They’ve played well here lately which is why I think this line is so close. Over their past five games, they’ve captured a win in four of them, two were in overtime. Their one loss was to Ottawa on New Year’s Day. They also have some rest advantage here which helps a bit and should keep their legs fresher as they face the Wild. My concern for playing them to win the game outright is that they have Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen in goal tonight – at least that is the current expectation. Outside of the fact that he has a cool name, he’s done fairly well with an 8-3 record on the season. But, he is allowing 3.47 goals to opponents on the season as well.
I really do think this is a coinflip game – either side has good cases on why they could pull this out. Luukkonen is a decent goalie, Fleury is probably better. The Wild are on the road and have been alternating home and road games which can be very fatiguing, and the Sabers are coming home and a bit more rested. I can’t touch the side. I do think we see the lamps light up quite a bit in this game and am taking over 6.5 as I expect both teams to put up three goals each.
For more sports betting information and plays, follow David on Twitter: @futureprez2024