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Tuesday Night NHL – Capitals Over Islanders and Predictions for Each Game

Washington Capitals at New York Islanders

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Washington (-150) at New York (+130)

Spread

  • Washington (-1.5) at New York (+1.5)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5

The Islanders have been all over the map this season, but they may have finally found a little rhythm. New York has won three of their last five on the heels of a five-game losing skid that knocked them down into the basement of the Metropolitan Division. They racked up nine goals in those wins over the Bruins and Sabres and will look to make it three straight tonight when they host the Caps.

Doing so will be a tall order for the Isles considering Washington comes into this game in fine form. The Caps are 7-1-2 over their last 10 contests, and that includes a 4-2 victory over the Islanders just before Christmas. Washington will be looking to make it two in a row over New York since a surprising 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Isles in early December.

Key Matchup

Alex Ovechkin against John Tavares. Two of the game’s most decorated talents square off against one another for the third time this month. Neither player has made much of an impact in the two previous meetings, with a Tavares assist accounting for the only point between them thus far.

Advice

The Washington train keeps rolling in Brooklyn. Take the capitals on the money line with their well rested scorers.

Pick
Washington
4
New York
1

Boston Bruins at Columbus Blue Jackets

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Boston (+110) at Columbus (-130)

Spread

  • Boston (+1.5) at Columbus (-1.5)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5

The Blue Jackets are looking to extend the longest winning streak in the franchise’s relatively brief history. Columbus has won 12 consecutive games and surged one point ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for the best overall record in the NHL.

However, one team they have yet to figure out this season has been Boston. The Bruins have come out on top in each of their first two meetings this season on October 10 and again on November 13th. Boston trails the Montreal Canadiens by six points and currently sits in third place in the Atlantic Division.

Key Matchup

Cam Atkinson vs. David Backes. Atkinson has been a catalyst for the Blue Jackets during their streak, as he’s posted 15 goals and eight assists over the last 12 games. He has stalled in the two meetings against Boston, though, as he has failed to register his name on the score sheet to this point.

Backes is in the midst of a terrible overall season in his first campaign in Boston, though he has looked good against Columbus. He has three goals and two assists in the two wins over the Blue Jackets.

Advice

Columbus is as sure of a thing as can exist in hockey right now but we think they get a little complacent over the Christmas break. The Bruins are a good team, so why not put a little cash down on the money line and hope for the best?

Pick
Boston
2
Columbus
1

Ottawa Senators at New York Rangers

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Ottawa (+145) at New York (-165)

Spread

  • Ottawa (+1.5) at New York (-1.5)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5.5

Ottawa entered this season with no real expectations of contention, but the Senators find themselves at 20-11-3, good for the second best record in the Atlantic Division behind Montreal.

The Senators have won each of their last four games despite being without starting goaltender Craig Anderson, who is away from the team to be with his ill wife. Mike Condon has done a serviceable job in his place all season, posting a record of 8-3-2 with a .922 save percentage since being acquired via trade from the Penguins last month.

Extending the winning streak to five will be a tall order tonight in New York. The Rangers still boast a strong 23-12-1 overall record, but they are just 10-8-1 over their last 19 contests. Star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been sketchy of late, as he has been pulled in favor of Antti Raanta in each of the last four games. Lundqvist was peppered in the Rangers’ 7-4 loss to Minnesota last Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

Key Matchup

This one will likely hinge on the form of the netminders. Condon has been good-but-not-great, while Lundqvist has not been the steady forced we have grown accustomed to seeing back there for the Rangers. This could be a relatively high-scoring affair if neither is able to round back into shape.

Advice

New York is beating Ottawa in offense, defense, power play and penalty kill percentage, shots for and against and goal differential. There are question marks surrounding Lundqvist, but we like the home team in this spot. Take the broadway bullies on the money line.

Pick
New York
3
Ottawa
1

Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Pittsburgh (-150) at New Jersey (+130)

Spread

  • Washington (-1.5) at New York (+1.5)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5.5

This will be the second night of a home-and-home set between these two clubs. The Penguins thrashed the Devils in Pittsburgh on Friday, and New Jersey will look for revenge tonight in their own barn.

Pittsburgh has been sizzling all month long, as the Pens have snagged at least one point in 11 of the 12 games they have played this month. They posted a season-best seven-game winning streak earlier in December, as well.

The Devils, on the other hand, limped into the three-day Christmas holiday. They broke a seven-game losing streak by beating the Flyers last Thursday, but are still just 3-7-2 this month. New Jersey is 13-14-7 overall this season, which is good for the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference. They will have their work cut out for them if they hope to miraculously snag a playoff spot.

Key Matchup

Sidney Crosby vs. Kyle Palmieri. Crosby has been great since returning from a concussion that sidelined him at the beginning of the season. Pittsburgh’s star has scored 24 goals on the year, which is five more than any other player in the league. The Devils’ goalscoring hopes largely hinge on Palmieri, who has looked solid in recent games following a drought. He has just six goals on the season, but has found the net in each of his last two games.

Advice

The Penguins just hammered the Devils 4-1 on the road, are still pissed off about being destroyed by the Blue Jackets and now get to Hess back home well rested from a Christmas break ? Yeah we’re going to take the Pens everywhere we can on the spread and the money line.

Pick
Pittsburgh
3
New Jersey
0

Buffalo Sabres at Detroit Red Wings

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Buffalo (+110) at Detroit (-130)

Spread

  • Buffalo (+1.5) at Detroit (-1.5)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5

Here we have a matchup between a couple of Atlantic Division cellar dwellers. The Red Wings are just 15-15-4, while the Sabres come in at 12-13-8. There are two Wild Card spots up for grabs, but neither of these teams looks capable of grabbing it.

Injuries have put the Red Wings’ chances of earning their 26th consecutive trip to the playoffs in severe jeopardy. Detroit will be missing goaltender Jimmy Howard, center Darren Helm, left winger Justin Abdelkader and defenseman Mike Green for this game. Defenseman Brendan Smith may return to the ice, however.

The Sabres managed just one goal in three of their last four games and are winless during that stretch. Buffalo is tied with the Islanders for the fewest number of points in the East and lost to New York 5-1 on Friday.

Key Matchup

Henrik Zetterberg against Kyle Okposo. The 36-year-old Swede is Detroit’s leading scorer this season with 23 points, but he’s scored just six goals on the year. If the Wings are going to make a run, they’re going to need Zetterberg to find the fountain of youth and drink from it repeatedly during the second half of the year. Okposo has found the net nine times this year, but failed to score despite three shots on goal against Detroit back in November.

Advice

We’re in love with watching this Sabres team since Jack Eichel returned but watching the Sabres doesn’t mean they’re actually winning. These teams are too similar and in this case similar means not very good. Take the Wings on the money line at home and breathe easy.

Pick
Detroit
5
Buffalo
2

Minnesota Wild at Nashville Predators

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Minnesota (EVEN) at Nashville (-120)

Spread

  • Minnesota (+1.5) at Nashville (-1.5)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5

The Predators were one of the strongest teams in the Western Conference a season ago, but they have yet to find that consistency in 2016-17. They are just 15-13-5 after going 17-12-6 through 35 games last season. They had started to get things in order with consecutive road wins over Philadelphia and New Jersey, only to return home and lose 4-0 to the L.A. Kings last Thursday.

The Wild, on the other hand, are among the hotter teams in the league. Minnesota has won a franchise record 10 straight games and they will be squaring off against the Preds for the second time in less than two weeks. That game would account for the Wild’s sixth straight win as they defeated Nashville 5-2 on December 15th.

They most recently hammered the Rangers 7-4 in New York last Friday with seven different players finding the net. Netminder Devan Dubnyk should be back in goal tonight after getting a rare night off against the Rangers.

Key Matchup

P.K. Subban vs. Eric Staal. The Predators are likely to get Subban back on the ice tonight after the superstar defenseman missed the last several games thanks to an upper body injury. He leads Nashville’s defense with seven goals and 10 assists in his first campaign since coming over from Montreal during the offseason.

Staal has been stellar during Minnesota’s streak, as the forward has picked up 12 points in 11 games since the calendar flipped to December.

Advice

Nashville has won three of the last five meetings between these two teams and are absolutely dominant this season at home. We don’t like betting against the Wild but with odds like these for the Predators it’s worth taking the good home team. Subban’s potential return should be enough to put them over the top in this one.

Pick
Nashville
2
Minnesota
1

Winnipeg Jets at Chicago Blackhawks

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Winnipeg (+145) at Chicago (-165)

Spread

  • Winnipeg (+1.5) at Chicago (-1.5)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5

The Blackhawks have not lost three straight games in nearly a year, and they will look to avoid doing so tonight when they host the Jets.

Chicago (22-9-5) is alone atop the Central Division, though they have yet to be able to solve Winnipeg this season. The ‘Hawks have been outscored 6-1 in their two losses to the Jets on the year, including a 2-1 loss earlier this month at home. Chicago lost to Ottawa last week before dropping a shocker to the lowly Avalanche the last time they hit the ice.

The Blackhawks did get goaltender Corey Crawford back after he missed 10 games thanks to an appendectomy. He stopped 32 shots, but still took the overtime defeat. He has not lost a regulation decision October 12th.

Other than their pair of victories over the Blackhawks, there has not been much to get excited about for the Jets on the year. They do come into this game in decent form, though, having won three of their last four contests overall.

Key Matchup

Artemi Panarin against Nikolaj Ehlers. Panarin has racked up at least one point in each of his last seven games with multiple points in four of them. He has scored five goals and dished out eight assists and his 36 points rank first on the club. Ehlers has scored four goals in his last three games and put up three total points in Winnipeg’s 4-1 win over the Canucks on Thursday.

Advice

Winnipeg seems to have Chicago’s number lately. The Jets have won the last two games by a combined score of 6-1 but we think that trend stops now. Take the Blackhawks on the spread to make your money worthwhile.

Pick
Chicago
4
Winnipeg
1

Calgary Flames at Colorado Avalanche

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Calgary (-135) at Colorado (+115)

Spread

  • Calgary (-1.5) at Colorado (+1.5)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5.5

The Avalanche own the league’s worst record at 12-20-1 but managed to snap a five-game losing skid with a shocking 2-1 win over Chicago last Friday night. It was only their third victory of the month and tonight they will be squaring off against the Flames for the first time this season.

Colorado has failed to win any of their last eight home games. The Flames will look to run that streak to nine and will attempt to win their second straight contest. Calgary is treading water at 18-16-2 on the season, good for fourth place in the Pacific Division.

The Flames have not stood out in any one area. They’re 18th in goals per game (2.6), 21st in goals against (2.8), 15th in power play percentage (18.8) and 19th in penalty kill percentage (80.5). Colorado, meanwhile, is dead-last in both goals for and against per game.

Key Matchup

Johnny Gaudreau vs. Nathan MacKinnon. Gaudreau returned faster than anybody expected from a broken finger in early December and has been phenomenal since. The 23-year-old had registered at least one point in the first seven games in December before being held scoreless in each of the last two outings.

McKinnon is Colorado’s points leader on the season with nine goals and 14 helpers. Four of his goals have come in the month of December, and he registered a goal and an assist in the aforementioned victory over Chicago on Friday.

Advice

All you need to know about these two teams are their completely opposite records in their last ten games. The Flames are 7-3-0 and proving they belong in the playoff picture out West. The Avalanche are 3-7-0 and proving they belong in the AHL. Take the Flames on the money line and watch the cash stack up.

Pick
Calgary
3
Colorado
1

Dallas Stars at Arizona Coyotes

The Lines

Moneyline

  • Dallas (-145) at Arizona (+125)

Spread

  • Dallas (-1.5) at Arizona (+1.5)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5.5

As is the case with Nashville, the Stars have not really been able to find their footing this season. They finished last season as the top of the West, but currently sit 4th in their own division at 14-14-7.

Their high-octane attack has largely been held in check. The Stars are just 19th in goals per game (2.5) and 26th in goals conceded. Dallas has alternated wins and losses over their last six games.

As is the case seemingly ever year, the Coyotes find themselves in the cellar of the league. Their 27 points are the second-fewest in the league and they’re easily the worst team in the Pacific at 11-18-5. Arizona’s loss to Toronto on Friday was the team’s fourth straight defeat overall, and They have scored just 25 goals in 13 December contests.

Key Matchup

Tyler Seguin vs. Radim Vrbata. If the Stars are going to climb back into the playoff race they are going to have to do it on the shoulders of their two best players, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Seguin’s scoring form has gone missing, as his goal in the last game against the Kings was the first time he has found the net in seven games.

The veteran Vrbata has been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal campaign for Arizona. The 35-year-old winger leads the team in assists and goals in his first year since coming back to the desert from Vancouver.

Advice

Dallas has disappointed us this season but may be rounding into form. They’re 5-4-1 in their last ten games and have some quality wins in that stretch. Is there a better way to keep the good times rolling than a date with the Coyotes and their -0.91 goal differential?  Take the Stars on the spread and the line.

Pick
Dallas
4
Arizona
2

San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks

The Lines

Moneyline

  • San Jose (-105) at Anaheim (-115)

Spread

  • San Jose (+1.5) at Anaheim (-1.5)

Total – Over/Under

  • 5

The best matchup of the night will pit a pair of division rivals against one another in Southern California.

The Sharks will come into Honda Center having won six of their last seven games with an OT win over Edmonton last Friday pushing them into the top spot in the Pacific Division.

The Ducks, though, will be looking to get back into the win column after a sluggish 10-day road trip. They went just 2-3-1 over the six games away from home and lost 2-1 against Ottawa last Thursday. Anaheim has already beaten San Jose twice this in the last month with both games coming to a 3-2 conclusion.

Offense

The Ducks have been a middle-of-the-road club so far this season as far as goal scoring is concerned, ranking just 13th in goals per game (2.7). However, the goals they have been able to put away have been opportunistic. The Ducks know how to take advantage of the power play, as they convert over 24 percent of their chances with a man advantage. That is good for the second-best mark in the league.

They are led, as always, by the dyhamic duo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Getzlaf is tied for the club lead Ryan Kesler with 28 points on the season, while Perry isn’t far behind with 27 of his own. Rickard Rackell has emerged as their top goal scorer with 14 in the early going. Perry has been a reliable goal scorer in years past, but he has been struggling in that regard this season. Perry has just seven goals all year and failed to score at all in November. He has scored three times this month.

The Sharks have taken a different approach to their success. They’ve been doing it with a stout defense, as they’re just 21st in the league in goals per game on the year. They have gotten wonderful offensive production out of defenseman Brent Burns, who leads the club with 32 points and 13 goals. Burns also leads the team with a plus-minus of +11.

Ageless wonder Joe Thornton continues to do his thing, as well, as his 21 assists are tied with Artemi Panarin and Claude Giroux for 13th in the league.

Defense

As mentioned above, the Sharks have been making their mark on defense this season. San Jose is a tidy fourth in the league in goals against per game, allowing opponents to find the net just 2.2 times per game. Goaltender Martin Jones’ goals against average of 2.08 is the eighth-best mark of any player at his position.

Anaheim has not been nearly as stingy. They allow other teams to score 2.8 times per game on average, which is just 18th among the 30 teams. They have failed to keep an opponent scoreless in every game since a 4-0 win over the rival Kings way back on November 1st, and they have allowed at least two goals in six straight games.

The Ducks also have no players on the roster with a plus-minus in double figures so far this season. Last year, they had three such players.

Key Matchup

Brent Burns against Cam Fowler. This will be a showdown between two defensemen enjoying stellar two-way seasons. Burns is on pace to match last season’s breakout campaign, while Fowler is emerging as a legitimate force for the Ducks. Fowler is already just one goal shy of his previous career-high and is on pace to set new personal bests in just about every statistical category this season.

Burns’ 32 points lead all defensemen in the league, and he has collected at least one point in all but one game in December to this point.

Advice

They saved the best for last on Tuesday night in hockey’s return to the ice. The Ducks have won the last two meetings but the Sharks are rolling with seven wins in their last ten and out for blood. With the odds they’re getting on the road take San Jose on the spread and watch a close Sharks win.

Pick
San Jose
3
Anaheim
2
Aaron Brooks :