Now that football is completely over with, the NHL is going to take more of the spotlight on weekends. Nationally televised games will begin to be played on NBC, and Saturday games, which is the big day in the NHL of course, will begin to be paid attention more so from the average fan. The Leafs will have their best opportunity to snap their absolutely dreadful losing streak against the Edmonton Oilers tonight. Now, if the Leafs can’t beat the effing Oilers at home, what a bigger joke of a team than I already assumed they were. They lost their 11th straight game in a row last night, which sets the franchise record for losses in a row. Oddly enough, that streak dates back to 1967, the last time they won the Stanley Cup. Additionally, they have lost 19 of their last 22 games. They may as well lose another 12 in a row and vie for a better position in the draft. Okay, enough about the Leafs, because my pick for today has nothing to do with them. I just wanted to go on a rant about my team.
At least we came out with a win last night. We rode the Pittsburgh Penguins in Calgary, and it paid off for us in an easy way, as the Pens defeated the Flames by a final score of 4-0. I think with a porous string of games for the Penguins behind them, they may finally turn it up here in February. Tonight we look at a team that has turned it up after a slow start, and another that is the surprise team of the NHL this season. Looking at their roster, I don’t know if I want to call it a surprise that the Islanders are doing so well this season, but I can’t say many people foresaw them having the year they are having. This is undoubtedly the strongest campaign they have had in quite some time. They enter tonight against the Bruins with a record of 33-17-1. I said early in the season that this is the Colorado Avalanche of this season, but I do feel like this Isles team is going to be making some noise for years to come. They are young and productive. Just about the formula you want for a successful team over the long haul. The Bruins have been the model of consistency for the past few seasons. Early this season, though, it looked like the cards may have been crumbling down in Boston. However, the season isn’t played in three months. There is a second half to this NHL season. And for the Bruins, they have to be thankful this isn’t an NHL shortened season. After poor play the first few months of the season, the Bruins have found a rhythm, which is bad news for the rest of the league. I find this to be the game of the night in the NHL. Let’s take a look at it and look to cash in with another winning pick.
N.Y. Islanders @ Boston Bruins
A lot of eyebrows were being raised at the Bruins this season. A lot of people thought there time as up. But I sat there shaking my head as people were making calls only a few months into the season. If it were up to those people the L.A. Kings would have never won two recent Stanley Cups, because those teams didn’t do much during the regular season. How well did that gaudy regular season record work for the Bruins last season? They didn’t win the Cup, so hold your opinions on the Bruins for now. The Bruins are fully capable of knocking teams off in the post-season. Boston is now 27-17-2-5 which is a big recovery for them. They are also winners in 7 of their last 10 games. Most importantly enough, the recipe that makes them a good team, the defense, is beginning to dominate games. Note in the last ten games the Bruins have averaged 1.6 goals against. On the full season they brought the number down to 2.39 goals allowed per game, tied for 5th in the NHL. Two weeks ago they were outside the top 10. Look for them to finish in the top 5 when the season is over with. They’ve also been producing offensively, scoring 2.90 goals a game in their last ten games. I think Boston continues to make an impact in the NHL for the remainder of the season. Expect the Bruins to look like the Bruins we have come to be accustomed with.
For the Isles, they’ll have to do what the Avalanche couldn’t do last season, win a playoff series. They’ve recently been upended, going 1-3 their last four games, including a loss to the Bruins at home, 5-2. The offense is present, but the Islanders will they will have to solidify a stronger defense to win playoff series’. Their last ten games they allowed over 3 goals against and are currently 23rd in the NHL in that regard overall. I predict the Bruins are going to continue their strong play on the defensive end, while taking advantage of a poor defense in the Islanders. The second half of the year is where the best teams in the league step it up, and I still believe the Bruins are one of the best teams in the NHL. Now that they are getting healthier, look out for the Bruins.
Pick – BRUINS TO WIN -126 @ 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)