With NHL teams now a quarter of the way through the lockout shortened season, we are starting to see which teams may contend for playoff spots and a Stanley Cup in 2013. Today we’ll get a good look at 16 teams via eight action packed games in the NHL and here are our quick picks for each one.
Boston Bruins -1.5 at Buffalo Sabres +1.5
The Bruins have won four straight on the road, including one already against the Sabres, but the teams have split two meetings this season, so we know Buffalo is capable of beating even one of the best teams in the NHL. However, since the Sabres are giving up nearly 3.5 goals per game and the Bruins are only giving up just over two, it seems like a good idea to take Boston to cover -1.5 on the road.
Philadelphia Flyers +1.5 at New Jersey Devils -1.5
After losing Zach Parise to free agency this offseason, the defending Eastern Conference champions have looked just fine and currently in first place once again. Considering the Flyers have struggled a bit out of the gate and with the Devils playing top-notch hockey, this seems like an easy call. Take the Devils to cover -1.5 at home.
Pittsburgh Penguins -1.5 at Winnipeg Jets +1.5
Pittsburgh, who is 6-2-0 on the road this season, should have no problem handling the Jets, who are giving up 3.25 goals per game. Look for the Penguins to cover -1.5 on the road.
Anaheim Ducks +1.5 at Detroit Red Wings -1.5
The Ducks are off to an impressive 9-2-1 start, but pulling off a victory in Detroit would be their biggest trick yet and I’m not sure it’s one they can pull off. However, I do think this game will be one of the most competitive of the day and may be decided by one goal or come down to a shootout, so play it safe and take the Ducks to cover +1.5.
San Jose Sharks +1.5 at Chicago Blackhawks -1.5
After a hot 7-0-0 start, the Sharks have failed to win a game since, while the Blackhawks have not lost a game in regulation all year long. With both teams streaking in opposite directions, don’t go against the trend. Take Chicago to cover -1.5 today.
St. Louis Blues -1.5 at Calgary Flames +1.5
The Flames have bit uneven to start the season, but with home ice they should have a good opportunity against a Blues team that has allowed more than 3.2 goals per game this season. Considering that the Flames are also averaging more shots on goal per game than the Blues, I like Calgary’s chances to cover +1.5.
Dallas Stars +1.5 at Vancouver Canucks -1.5
With the tandem goaltenders of Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider leading the way, the Canucks have been nearly impossible to score on, so don’t expect the Stars – coming off a loss – to have much success. Take Vancouver to cover -1.5.
Columbus Blue Jackets +1.5 at Los Angeles Kings -1.5
Both teams in this match-up are off to incredibly disappointing starts, but only one team had high expectations.
The Kings have not defended their 2012 title with much vigor yet in 2013, but their get a great opportunity to pick up what would seem to be an easy win today against the 4-7-2 Blue Jackets. Although last year’s Cup MVP Jonathan Quick hasn’t been fabulous this season, he has a strong record against the Jackets (8-2-0) and that should serve the Kings well today. Look for L.A. to pick up a much-needed win and cover -1.5 at home.