The second half of the NHL season begins tonight, as the NHL All-Star game is now in the past. I sure wish there were a few more All-Star games to be played. Our bet on the OVER easily cashed in leaving little doubt from the beginning. It was the highest scoring NHL All-Star contest in history, which finished with a final score of 17-12 for Team Toews. There was absolutely no effort from the goaltenders, as most of the time they didn’t bother to move on plenty of shots. If you like goals it was certainly entertaining, but if you miss a good game of hockey I am sure you are happy that it is over with. Don’t worry, tonight we get back to the regular season with a host of action. My main goal is to make money, so it doesn’t matter to me what game I win it on. So whether you like games like what happened on Sunday or not, the game made my bankroll bigger and that’s all that is important to me personally. I have to admit, though, I am definitely happy that real hockey is going to be back tonight to watch.
Speaking of no effort from goaltenders, how about that performance from Marc-Andre Fleury yesterday? There is a fine line between no effort and letting the other team score on purpose. I like to think Fleury was giving some effort, but he moved about as fast as a beached whale. Honestly, an All-Star game would be the easiest game to rig because no one is going to bat an eye at a pointless exhibition game. I highly doubt he was throwing the game, but I couldn’t tell you what he was going letting in 7 goals. That brings me to tonight, where the Penguins will welcome the Winnipeg Jets to Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby was absent from the game, the fifth All-Star event he’s missed due to injuries. Crosby will be out tonight. The Jets have made a resurgence of sorts in the last month or so. This was a team getting no offense to start the season, and now they are finding the net without much problems. Note that the Jets were at the very bottom of scoring in the NHL, but have now made it up to be in the top-half of the NHL. We’ll see what they can do against Fleury, who has to realize the games start to count again now.
Winnipeg Jets @ Pittsburgh Penguins
After being bottom dwellers offensively, the Jets are currently 15th in scoring, averaging 2.74 goals per game. 15th in the league doesn’t seem all that impressive, but we must note they were 29th in the NHL not all that long ago. They have been scoring at a rapid pace all of the sudden. Note in their last ten games the Jets have averaged 3.7 goals. Additionally, in their last five games, they’ve averaged 4.6 goals. That was unheard of in the first couple of months for Winnipeg, but since finding a way out of that funk, the offense has been scoring at will. This was an automatic UNDER team at that point in the season. Regression has definitely caught up to them and swung the pendulum in the other direction. Defensively they are strong as well, allowing 2.35 goals in per game for 5th in the NHL. They’re going to have a tough task in front of them against the Pens’ offense.
The Penguins finished the first-half of the season scoring 2.96 goals per game, 7th in the NHL. I expect that to rise this next month. I would be surprised if the Pens aren’t back in the top 5 near the end of February. They are going to need to compensate, for what I believe, is a deteriorating defense. Perhaps deteriorating is too strong of a word to use, but they are going in the wrong direction. Fleury has been strong for them so far, but we are starting to witness the defense breaking down. In their last ten games they’ve allowed an average of 3 goals per game, which is a lot for a team that was around 2.35-2.40 for much of the season. They’ve given up 4.25 goals a game their last four games, all losses by the way. Lately the Penguins and Jets have been scoring goals against one another, with the OVER 5.5 cashing in three straight times. Also, the OVER is 4-1 between them in Pittsburgh. Hopefully the scoring carries over from the All-Star Game into Pittsburgh tonight, as we look for a winning NHL pick on the OVER 5.5.
Pick – OVER 5.5 GOALS 5dimes.eu (Best Odds)