There’s no getting around it: My first three weeks have been a seriously rough ride. A couple of bad bounces, bad picks and and an extra goal here and there have shaped my record into something I'd rather not be sharing on the internet each week. Like I’ve said before, though, you have to show up each week and face the music.
However, if you remember my record from last year, I started the season off dodgy and ended up finishing with almost a 57 per cent winning percentage, so don’t give up on me just yet. Still plenty of puck and lots of Saturdays full of games to right this somewhat sinking ship.
Now, let’s get down to business, shall we? A total of 14 games are on tap for today, including two afternoon tilts to sink our teeth into. The important thing to note here is 16 teams were in action Friday night, so be sure to do your research when it comes to who is starting in net. As we saw last week with Toronto vs. Montreal, a backup between the pipes can obviously have a big impact on how the game plays out, especially when it comes to betting Over/Unders.
#ComebackSZN has arrived. Let’s get this paper. Good luck.
Side bets: 4-5
Overall total record: 6-12
Winnipeg Jets @ Vegas Golden Knights – Pick: Golden Knights
The Golden Knights are coming off a rare blown third-period lead on Thursday night when they coughed up a late 4-2 lead to the Montreal Canadiens, but I love this spot for them in a big bounce-back situation against a banged-up Winnipeg Jets group who can’t seem to string wins together.
Vegas has obviously developed a well-deserved reputation as one of the toughest teams to play against in its own barn, and with a neat-and-tidy 3-1 record against the Jets in their last four contests at T-Mobile Arena, I really like the Knights’ chances here.
In addition to some key absences in its lineup, Winnipeg has been struggling to find consistency this season and has looked like a completely different team at both ends of the rink. The Knights rarely lose back-to-back games (only once this season so far) and after a complete meltdown against the Habs only 48 hours ago, Vegas should be flying tonight against a Jets group lacking confidence. Take the Knights tonight for a big win, my Gold Pick of the week.
Detroit Red Wings @ Florida Panthers – Pick: Panthers
The Panthers were one of the clear winners of offseason when the organization solidified its backend with the additions of veterans Sergei Bobrovsky and Anton Stralman. With points in nine of their last 10 games, those moves look to be already paying dividends. On the other hand, the Red Wings are a complete mess, managing only one win in their last 10 and only four on the season thus far.
Aside from their deficiencies overall, Detroit is also a weak road team (five straight losses away from home) that recently has a very tough time against Florida, losing four of their last five against the Panthers – I think that trend continues.
Florida furthers its dominance against a sloppy Red Wings team tonight with an easy victory. Hammer the Cats and let’s get this loot train rolling.
St. Louis Blues @ Minnesota Wild – Pick: Blues
I don’t exactly know what it is about the Minnesota Wild, but they seem to be that club that screws me each and every week. So, with that in mind, why not go right back at them with the reigning Stanley Cup champs? Who, by the way, have three straight wins and currently sit atop the Central Division.
The Blues own an impressive 13-6 road record over their last 19 games and come into this matchup playing responsible hockey at both ends of the ice anchored by sophomore netminder Jordan Binnington, who’s allowed only 12 goals over his last five and owns a 7-2-3 record this season. Binnington will likely give way to former No. 1 and current backup Jake Allen tonight, but I still really like St. Louis in the second night of a back-to-back (Blues won in OT last night over Columbus). (Be sure to check Goalie Post for the latest starting goalie updates.)
St. Louis keeps its win streak and strong play going with an easy win over an outmatched Wild crew. Take the Blues here, good for my Bronze Pick of the week.
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Philadelphia Flyers – Pick: Maple Leafs
Chicago Blackhawks @ L.A. Kings (Over/Under – 6.5) – Pick: Under
Calgary Flames @ Columbus Blue Jackets – Pick: Flames
Ottawa Senators @ Boston Bruins – Pick: Bruins
Flip Livingstone is a former NHL writer for theScore with past experience at such outlets as Narcity Media, Postmedia, and Hockey Night in Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @FlipLivingstone and @Flips_Picks
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