We came up short last night on our lone pick of the evening as the Red Wings played very poor defensively and ended up surrendering six goals to Nashville in what turned out to be a 6-4 Predators victory. The win was just Nashville’s second in their last seven contests, so it is a tough pill to swallow but sometimes that is the way it works. There are 11 games on this New Year’s Eve so we will comb through some lines and see if we can turn things around tonight.
New York Rangers @ Florida Panthers
My Pick – RANGERS (-110) 5 Dimes
The New York Rangers will spend their New Year’s in Sunrise, Florida as the Panthers play host this evening for the last of three games between these two teams this season. The Rangers have won the first two contests, most recently a convincing 5-2 victory on November 27, also in Sunrise. The Rangers come in fairly hot after winning three of their last four games, while the Panthers just snapped a three-game winless skid on Sunday against the Canadiens. The head-to-head numbers between these two teams is so clearly one sided it is tough not to like the Rangers in tonight’s game. The Rangers are 7-3 over their last 10 games against Florida but that is just the beginning. They average 3.3 goals for per game over those 10 games compared to Florida’s 1.8, they fire an average of 5 shots more per game than the Panthers do, and their powerplay sits at 28.6% compared to Florida’s 15.4%. The Rangers powerplay has been on fire lately, scoring seven goals with the man advantage over their last five games, including a 3 for 3 night on the powerplay Sunday in Tampa Bay. They have scored 17 goals over their last four games against Florida, while the Panthers have managed just 9 goals over their last four games against New York. After a slow start to the season that had the Rangers on the road for the better part of the first month due to some finishing touches being put on Madison Square Garden, the Rangers have been one of the NHL’s best road teams. They are 11-9 on the road overall but more importantly they are 9-3 over their last 12 games on the road. Take the Rangers tonight to continue their dominance over the Panthers.
Philadelphia Flyers @ Calgary Flames
My Pick – FLYERS (-110) 5 Dimes
The Philadelphia Flyers continue their Western Canada road swing after victories in Edmonton on Saturday and Vancouver on Monday as they will try to make it 3 for 3 tonight against the Calgary Flames. The Flames have been struggling mightily on the offensive front as they have now been shutout in back-to-back games and have just one victory over their last seven games. It is quite the opposite for the Flyers as of late as Philly has five wins over their last six games and have been one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference since the end of October. The Flyers also have some of their big guns playing at their offensive peaks at the moment. Claude Giroux now has 12 points over his last six games while Wayne Simmonds has scored seven goals over his last six games. The Flames 25th ranked offense (2.36 goals for per game) is not supported very much by their poor defence (3.06 goals against per game) and mediocre goaltending. The Flames have inexperience between the pipes on a nightly basis as Reto Berra and Karri Ramo are splitting games right down the middle this season. Berra is in net tonight and boasts a goals against average of 2.91 and has just five victories in 17 games played this season. After a good start to the season the Flames have been one of the worst teams in the NHL on home ice. They have just four victories over their last 15 home games, and have dropped six of their last seven games at home to the Flyers. Philly has also won four of their last six meetings with Calgary. Take the hot road team tonight to keep rolling.