Don’t look now, but the kid is just starting to heat up.
Big bounce-back Saturday last week, with my picks going a perfect 6-0. However, this week is shaping up to be a another tough one to predict. With every team except the L.A. Kings having played Friday, a lot of clubs are on the second night of a back-to-back, so be weary of the potential for a backup goaltender to be between the pipes on Saturday.
Add in the fatigue and travel factors, and the 11-game slate could be a complete gong show in terms of betting. Tread lightly and stick to the following picks to help you start saving some dough for the holiday season.
Side Bets: 5-4
Winnipeg Jets @ St. Louis Blues – Pick: Jets
The Blues have easily been one of the biggest disappointments of the season so far, as an offseason that saw them load up on talent has been mostly squandered with a seriously lackluster 8-10-3 start. Now, St. Louis did lay a pretty solid beating on a very good Nashville Predators group on Friday night, but I still like this spot for the Jets, who should be coming into this one hungry for a W after two tough losses in their last two contests.
One important thing to note for this matchup is the potential starting goaltenders, as the Jets will likely have backup Laurent Brossoit in the cage whereas the Blues should have their No. 1 guy in Jake Allen patrolling the blue paint.
Aside from the sloppy play from Winnipeg in the past two, the Jets have dominated St. Louis, especially in the Blues’ barn, as Paul Maurice’s crew has lost only one of their last seven contents at Enterprise Center.
Let’s not overthink this one, Jets win, lock it in as my Gold pick of the week.
Boston Bruins @ Montreal Canadiens – Pick: Bruins
The Montreal Canadiens’ improbable hot start to continues to cool, as the team has taken losses in six of their last 10. Whenever the Bs and Habs get together there certainly is no love lost between these two bitter Original Six rivals, a matchup that Boston has owned over recent years.
With wins in five of their last six in Montreal, the Bruins are in a favorable spot to earn two points today in La Belle Province, despite recently losing arguably their most important player to injury in Patrice Bergeron earlier in the week.
Boston’s struggles on the road this season are undeniable, as the team has managed only four victories away from home this campaign. Regardless, Montreal is trending in the wrong direction and the Bruins’ track record against the Canadiens over recent matchups cannot be ignored in this one.
Sprinkle a wager on Boston, I see them winning by at least two goals.
Dallas Stars @ Colorado Avalanche – Pick: Over 6
You know I had to have at least one Over-Under pick on here, so this is the one. I am really feeling a high-scoring game between the Stars and Avs, two teams that combine for a ton of goals whenever they square off, especially when the Stars visit the Mile High City.
Over the last 11 games with Dallas visiting Colorado, the total has gone over the number eight times. The Stars are also strengthening their rep as a club who scores at will and concedes them at an even more consistent rate – case in point their matchup against the hopelessly bad Ottawa Senators last night, where the two teams combined for double digits in goals.
Dallas continues to nurse injuries to key players on the back end that include starting goaltender Ben Bishop and franchise defenseman John Klingberg. Backup netminder Anton Khudobin is a solid No. 2 option, but with the potential for unproven rookie Landon Bow making his first career start Saturday, this contest could be over the number very quickly.
Take take the over, even if it creeps up to 6.5.
Philadelphia Flyers @ Toronto Maple Leafs – Pick: Maple Leafs
Vancouver Canucks @ L.A. Kings – Pick: Under 5.5
Chicago Blackhawks @ Florida Panthers – Pick: Panthers
Flip Livingstone is a former NHL writer for theScore with past experience at such outlets as Postmedia, Hockey Night in Canada, and the CBC. You can follow him on Twitter @FlipLivingstone.