We enter the final week of the NHL regular season with a 34-21 record on our featured picks. It’s been successful and profitable thus far in 2013 here at The Sports Geek, and we’ll look to continue that momentum into the post-season commencing next Tuesday.
Tonight is a busy night on the ice as there are 10 games in the NHL, with more than a couple catching our attention. This evening’s featured game involves a red-hot Islanders team travelling to Carolina to battle a Canes squad with little to play for.
New York Islanders (-135) @ Carolina Hurricanes (+115)
Why the Isles aren’t bigger favourites entering this contest is a tad surprising. Over the course of the past month, the Islanders have been one of the hottest teams in all of the National Hockey League, and currently possess one of the most explosive trios in the game. John Tavares, Brad Boyes, and Matt Moulson are wreaking havoc on the defense of the opposition, and a shoddy Carolina team should have no answers for this unit.
New York enters still a desperate hockey team. They’re close to clinching a playoff spot, but nothing is official just yet. The fact thazt this young group has made it thus far is a tad surprising, but not unexpected. The Islanders have a wealth of depth and emerging stars and thing shave materialized nicely for Jack Capuano’s squad in 2013. The Isles thrive with their speed and transition game, and the red-hot, veteran netminding of Russian backstop Evgeni Nabokov has more than made up for a lacklustre defense. John Tavares is playing the best hockey of his young career, and as a result has been mentioned in early Hart Trophy discussions.
The Islanders will enter Carolina obviously the hungrier of the two teams, primed for their first taste of playoff action in some time. The Canes are already thinking about the off-season, and are well aware a loss wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, especially when you consider it could potentially boost their draft position come the end of June. Look for the Islanders to skate all over Carolina, and ride their momentum to yet another victory. Despite the fact that this is a young New York team, they’re much more effective on the road than at home, and their record indidicates this. Expect another stellar outing from a young and hungry New York team, all but punching a trip to the 2013 post-season. Take the Isles at a generous road price Tuesday night
PICK = NY Islanders (-135)
Though are bonus picks have struggled recently, tonight there is some solid value on the card. Teams that simply need to win down the stretch can be a tad overvalued, but should be able to realize the importance of the game and secure the victory. Expect that situation to unfold tonight.
Bonus Pick #1: Montreal (-115) Nobody knows what has happened to Montreal, but they need to figure it out very fast. Their discipline and gritty team demeanour has disappeared and star netminder Carey Price can’t stop a beach ball. That said, after a few days off expect the Habs to regroup and get serious about entering the playoffs on a solid note. Playing against a New Jersey squad that has thrown in the towel will be a nice change for Montreal, and look for the Habs to re-discover what made them a successful group earlier in the season. New Jersey struggles immensely to put pucks past goaltenders, so expect Price to regain his confidence and thrive as a result. The Habs have played too well this season to fade down the stretch, and expect a workmanlike victory from Michel Therrien’s side.
Bonus Pick #2: Boston (-135) After the horrific tragedies that plagued Boston in the past week, the Bruins will have to play a bunch of games in a relatively short period of time. Though that could prove tiresome down the stretch, right now the Bruins remain a rested and energetic group and should be able to display this come Tuesday night. Boston firmly has its sights set on winning the Northeast Division crown, and disposing of a Flyers squad with nothing on the line would be a good start. Boston’s forward depth is as solid as anybody in a while, and look for three dominant lines to overwhelm a brutal Philly defense. At a generous road price, look for Boston to enter the post-season playing well and on a high note.
Bonus Pick #3: Minnesota (+100) Though both the Wild and Kings could use some points, the Wild play exceptionally well at home and simply need to find a way to get a victory. After dropping a shocking outing in Calgary, the Wild know they need to find a way to start accumulating points or else they’ll end up on the outside of the playoffs. Minnesota has the horses to knock off L.A. and they’re an exceptionally confident group at home. Expect the Wild to hold off the defending champs, and take one big step closer to returning to the playoffs. New additions Ryan Suter and Zach Parise have been quiet of late, and look for the duo to step up in a game of this magnitude.