After a big winner last night in the first installment of the Battle of Ontario with the Leafs shutting out the Senators, our record here at The Sports Geek improves to an impressive 15-5 with our featured picks. Sunday is a busy day in NHL action as it’s Hockey Day in America, and games will be staggered throughout the day on NBC. It should be a solid day of hockey action, and we’ve found yet another winner for you to cap off what has already been quite the profitable weekend.
Calgary Flames (+100) @ Dallas Stars (-120)
Tonight’s featured contest pits the reeling Calgary Flames against a surprisingly solid Dallas Stars squad. Even though Stars’ top net-minder Kari Lehtonen recently went down with an injury, their team has the necessary depth between the pipes to get by a Calgary team also without its top goalie in Miikka Kiprusoff.
As we’ve mentioned many times before on this site, the Flames are a team desperately seeking an identity and organizational direction. Their play this season has been erratic and sloppy, and their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs are already incredibly slim. Their future is heavily in doubt, and expect their on-ice performance to suffer as a result. Captain Jarome Iginla seems disinterested at the moment, and his production is severely lacking. They’re a veteran-laden group that gets out-skated, out-worked, and out-smarted seemingly in every contest, and look for Sunday evening’s tilt to be no different.
Dallas meanwhile keeps on impressing, despite the injuries they’ve had to endure. This team is fresh off an impressive outing in Vancouver on Friday night where they dropped the powerhouse Canucks and return home to try and keep it rolling. Dallas did lose last week to the Flames, but the Stars were in a tough spot coming off a back-to-back situation. Don’t expect Dallas to be quite as accommodating to the Flames this time around. The Stars sit 7th in an always tough Western Conference and have played well at home thus far.
Without Kiprusoff, the Flames have obviously struggled in his absence. Their goaltending tandem of Leland Irving and Joey MacDonald is among the worst in the NHL, and their defense isn’t providing much help. Look for them to struggle keeping pucks out against the talented Stars’ attack. Since Dallas got Jamie Benn and Derek Roy back a couple of weeks ago, the Stars have taken off offensively. The Stars have won 5 of their past 6 games, and this red-hot group should steamroll through a struggling Calgary group. Consider Dallas on Sunday evening at a very generous price.
PICK = Dallas (-120)