After a key victory last night with the Canadiens, we return on Sunday looking to cap off yet another profitable weekend here at The Sports Geek. We’re now 22-11 with these featured selections and we’ll look to improve on that record tonight as the Winnipeg Jets travel to New Jersey to do battle with a struggling Devils squad.
Winnipeg Jets (+115) @ New Jersey Devils (-135)
Despite the fact that the pesky Jets enter this game as underdogs, I feel as if the wrong team is favoured in this spot. New Jersey played last night, and were routed yet again by an undermanned Carolina Hurricanes squad. Since Martin Brodeur went down for the Devils, they haven’t been the same and have struggled mightily. New Jersey enters this contest losers of seven of their past eight games, and with no goaltending improvements on the horizon, things look bleak for coach Peter DeBoer’s squad.
Johan Hedberg has had to fill in for New Jersey in Brodeur’s absence, and simply has not gotten the job done. Hedberg has already lost twice to the Jets this season in late-February, and expect him to acquire the trifecta on Sunday evening. Not only do the Devils have goaltending woes, they also have some major holes on defense to fill. Henrik Tallinder and team captain Bryce Salvador are both out injured. Those are two key losses for New Jersey, and look for a hungry Jets team to exploit that.
New Jersey should enter with tired legs, while a motivated Jets team will be riding a wave of momentum having just come off a big overtime victory in Florida. The Jets are pushing hard for a playoff position, and a win tonight would vault them into the top-8 in the Eastern Conference. Ondrej Pavelec is starting to round into form, and since the Jets got Dustin Byfuglien back into their line-up, their offense and power-play has vastly improved.
Expect the difference in this contest to be the fresh legs of the Jets skating a depleted Devils’ defense group into the ground. Look for Winnipeg’s forwards to create a ton of chances, and put pressure on a struggling Johan Hedberg. Hedberg has gone 1-6-1 with Brodeur out, and has allowed at least three goals on six separate occasions. The Jets have now won seven of ten, and look for that impressive run of play to continue on Sunday evening.
PICK = Winnipeg (+115)
On a busy Sunday slate of NHL games, we’ll also give you two bonus plays for your betting consideration. The bonus picks are now 20-17 on the season.
Bonus Pick #1: Vancouver (-125) Expect a big bounce-back effort from a veteran-laden Canucks team following their recent disappointments. They enter Minnesota playing a tired Wild team having played last night, and should be able to exploit that. This is a huge clash as the Northwest division lead is on the line, and despite injuries to Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa, look for the Sedins to carry the load and get Vancouver a much-needed road victory.
Bonus Pick #2: Colorado (-125) Despite the fact that the Avalanche have begun this season very poorly, they’re a team to watch in the second half of 2013. They’re finally healthy, and with Ryan O’Reilly back in the mix, their offense has the potential for explosiveness. Semyon Varlamov remains one of the top goalies in the league, and this pesky group should be riding a wave of momentum having just ended the Blackhawks’ lengthy point streak. The Sharks had to play yesterday evening, and really struggle playing away from their home rink. Look for a big Avalanche effort, and don’t be surprised to see this team jump back into playoff contention the rest of the way.