It’s only two picks into the NHL regular season, however, I remained perfect with another winner in last night’s game between the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks.
In fact, it wasn’t even close. The Canucks jumped out to a two-goal first-period lead with strikes just 42 seconds apart from Quinn Hughes and Brandon Sutter, the former registering the first goal of his NHL career. The Kings wouldn’t score their first goal until the Canucks had built a 3-0 lead and Vancouver went on to score five of the next six from there on out in an eventual 8-2 blowout of their Pacific Division rival.
As a painful side note, the fall of Jonathan Quick is becoming difficult to watch. Quick was left in the goal to absorb the eight-goal beating and has now allowed a whopping 14 goals over the first two games of his season – good for a 7.17 GAA and .750 Sv% to this point. At just 33 years old, the heavy workload Quick faced for many years during the Kings’ Stanley Cup contention window have clearly put plenty of wear and tear on the American goaltender.
Nonetheless, we notched a winner for the second consecutive night, this one at +100 odds and good for another positive unit under our belt.
- Season Record: 2-0
- Units: +2.40
- $100 Units = $240 Profit
Let’s move onto one of three picks I am unleashing on tonight’s big 11-game NHL schedule, this one featuring the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild from the Bell MTS Centre in Winnipeg.
Wild vs. Jets Betting Odds
*Odds courtesy of Bovada
Wild vs. Jets NHL Pickk
A Central Division tilt is on tap tonight in Winnipeg as the Jets – fresh off a season-opening four-game road trip – take on a Minnesota Wild team that has dropped two straight to open the season, both of which also came against Central Division clubs in the form of the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche.
The early-season schedule certainly hasn’t been advantageous to a Wild team that likely needs a strong start to bank enough points to get remotely close playoff contention later in the season in what is a brutally difficult Central Division. Minnesota fell seven points shy of the playoffs a season ago, and after a head-scratching offseason void of any type of youth injection or win-now moves, they could very well find themselves in no-man’s land again this time around.
A team built on defense has allowed 10 goals through two games to begin the season. Sure, the competition has been stiff and they’ve been on the road, but you have to wonder if this team is simply too old and slow for what today’s NHL bears on a nightly basis. In fact, the Wild have been getting dominated in the possession game early in the season to the tune of a 44.2% Corsi For%, good for 27th in the league. They’ve been getting cleaned in the faceoff circle with an identical 44.2% success rate in that department and have managed just four goals on offense in two games as well.
One also has to wonder if Devan Dubnyk will be worn down this season after logging at least 59 starts in each of the last four seasons and at least 63 in three of the last four. His 66 starts from last season saw him fall to a .913 Sv%, the worst mark he’s had since the 2013-14 season split between the Oilers and Predators. Despite a quality top-four group of defensemen in front of him, Dubnyk is going to need to be near-perfect in goal if the Wild continue to get decimated in the possession game.
For the Jets, it’s been an up-and-down start to the season, but they’ll likely take the results from their four-game road trip and move forward. They went 2-2-0 on the trip, but also 2-1-0 over the final three games including a statement 4-1 win over the Penguins on Tuesday night.
The story of the season so far for the Jets has been their paper-thin blueline, one that held the Penguins’ offense to just one goal on Tuesday despite missing Josh Morrissey and Dmitry Kulikov, two of their top three defenders remaining from what used to be a stout Jets back end.
Remember, Jacob Trouba was traded to the Rangers, Tyler Myers signed with the Canucks in free agency and Ben Chiarot signed with the Canadiens in free agency. Add in their No.1 defenseman Dustin Byfuglien currently contemplating his future while away from the team and we are talking about a Jets blue line without four of their top five defensemen from a season ago.
Still, this group held tough and it appears they will get Morrissey back for tonight’s game against the Wild – a massive boost to their back end.
Let’s also not forget what the Jets do best: score goals. Through four games, the Jets are averaging a nice 3.25 goals per game. That said, they have scored at least four goals in three of their four games and were held to just one goal against the Islanders on Sunday despite out-shooting them 36-33 in that one. They simply ran into a hot Thomas Greiss on that night.
Patrik Laine has been moved up to the top line alongside Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler and has a goal and three helpers over the last two games because of it. Let’s remember that this Jets offense ranked third with 3.68 goals per game on home ice last season and second with a big-time 31.4% clip on the power play at home. The offensive personnel is largely unchanged from a season ago.
I think the Wild are in very tough again tonight. Despite a still-thin blueline, I believe the Jets can hold what shouldn’t be a great Wild offense at bay tonight. Add in Minnesota’s early-season woes on the back end combined with a lethal Jets offense that has clicked so far this season and was among the league’s best at home last season, and I am not thinking twice about taking the home favorite at what I believe are valuable odds tonight.