We continue to struggle out way through the early portion of the season, and we’re missing by inches and cannot catch a bounce.
After losing a pair of moneyline bets by 3-2 scores despite holding 2-1 leads in both, we caught more bad luck last night.
We had the Preds in regulation over the lowly Blackhawks, and looked solid midway through the third with a 1-0 lead. That said, the Blackhawks’ Ryan Carpenter banked one in off goaltender Juuse Saros from the side of the net. The Preds would fail to score on a power play and also failed to capitalize on some golden chances before the final buzzer, and our pick was cooked as a result.
We also had the over 6.5 between the Sens and Canucks. Ottawa put 43 shots on Thatcher Demko, but managed just one goal while the Canucks scored five of their own in a 5-1 win. We needed two third-period goals and got just one, and barely missed that one as well.
It’s just been a frustrating start given how close we’ve been each and every pick of late, but we’re not getting any luck our way.
We’ll stick to the research and look to get things turned around on this huge 14-game schedule with the Red Wings vs. Stars from Dallas!
- Season Record: 6-12
- Units: -7.15
Red Wings vs. Stars Betting Odds
- Red Wings (+164)
- Stars (-180)
- Red Wings +1.5 (-165)
- Stars -1.5 (+145)
- Over 5.5 (+132)
- Under 5.5 (-145)
Red Wings vs. Stars NHL Pick Breakdown
While they added some veteran pieces to their offense and one that began the season white-hot in Bobby Ryan, we knew this Red Wings offense wasn’t going to be of the high-octane variety.
The Red Wings rank 29th with just 1.86 goals per game on the season and 28th with just 25.4 shots per game as well. Furthermore, their advanced stats more or less support that anemic work.
At 5v5 this season, the Wings rank 29th in scoring chances for/60, 27th in high-danger chances for/60 and 29th in expected goals for/60, as per Natural Stat Trick. They’ve also showed a lack of finish with a 24th-ranked shooting rate on the high-danger chances that they have generated, but also a 28th-ranked shooting rate at 5v5 on the whole.
Dylan Larkin is once again leading the charge up front with six points in seven games, and while he’s listed as a game-time decision after missing the morning skate for an undisclosed reason, head coach Jeff Blashill stated he expects his top center to suit up for this one.
The problem is that the Red Wings have gotten next to nothing from their bottom six. Vladislav Namestnikov has one point in seven games, Luke Glendening is pointless in seven, Sam Gagner is pointless in four and Michael Rasmussen has one assist in five games.
The top-six needs some form of offensive support, but clearly haven’t received any in the early going.
A year after finishing dead last in overall defense, the Red Wings have shown some improvement. Even during last season their advanced metrics weren’t nearly as bad as their surface numbers, and the advanced numbers are solid this season.
Overall, the Red Wings rank 23rd with 3.14 goals against per game on the season and 18th with 30.3 shots against per game.
Their penalty killing has struggled at just 72.7% on the season, but they’ve been decent at 5v5.
The Red Wings rank 10th in scoring chances against/60, ninth in high-danger chances against/60 and 16th in expected goals against/60 at 5v5 this season. While the penalty killing needs to improve, those are some quality numbers from a defensive that most perceive to be among the worst in the NHL.
It’s a defense that added veterans such as Marc Staal and Troy Stecher in the offseason while they acquired Christian Djoos off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks.
No, these aren’t ground-breaking additions on behalf of GM Steve Yzerman, however they are players with NHL experience with various levels of upside moving forward.
Jonathan Bernier was solid last season, but Jimmy Howard was so bad that the finger can almost exclusively be pointed to him as to why the Wings finished last on defense a season ago.
Yzerman brought in another veteran in the form of Thomas Greiss this offseason, and Greiss has been rock-solid in turning in a 2.54 GAA and .917 SV% in his four starts on the season.
For Bernier’s part, he’s struggled to the tune of a 3.33 GAA and .889 Sv% in his three starts, but has interestingly gone 2-1-0 while Greiss is winless despite his excellent work so far this season.
Greiss turned aside 20 of 22 shots in the Wings’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Stars on Tuesday while Bernier’s last start came as part of a 6-2 loss to the Blackhawks on Sunday. That said, Bernier was excellent in posting a .927 Sv% in wins over the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets in his previous two outings.
I would assume Greiss does again in this one without a back-to-back on hand as the Wings are a team that needs to ride the hot hand in goal if they are to stand any chance in the Central Division this season, although Bernier has largely been on point despite a rough outing his last time out.
The one thing we need to keep in mind with the Stars is sample size. While it’s a young season for everyone, the Stars have played in just three games due to a rash of positive tests prior to their season. Many of their numbers are out of whack.
The first example is their third-ranked 4.00 goals per game on the season despite ranking dead last with 24 shots per game.
The Stars’ power play has done almost all of the damage so far, ranking first with a wildly unsustainable 56.3% clip on the season.
That said, their 5v5 offensive metrics are horrendous. The Stars rank 24th in scoring chances for/60, 21st in high-danger chances for/60, but also dead last in terms of expected goals for/60. While their 0.46 actual goals/60 at 5v5 is much lower than their 1.63 expected mark, this tells us that the Stars have been brutal at scoring in 5v5 situations this season and deserve to be the worst in the league.
Keep in mind this is a Stars offense that ranked 26th last season and is currently without Tyler Seguin for at least another six weeks after offseason hip surgery. Joe Pavelski is off to a hot start in his stead, but also missing is Jamie Benn, Roope Hintz, Joel kiviranta and Blake Comeau.
To say this anemic Stars offense is undermanned is putting it lightly.
Now, we know this is a stout Stars defense, and it’s also a healthy one with their top-six fully intact.
It’s a Stars defense that’s averaged just one goal against per game on the season and has also killed 91.3% of their penalties through three games.
The metrics back up such work as they rank third in scoring chances against/60, 14th in high-danger chances against/60 and fifth in expected goals against/60 at 5v5.
They should once again do yeoman’s work this season after finishing second to the Boston Bruins with just 2.52 goals against per game last season.
Obviously, they are to regress from their 1.00 goal against per game average, but at the end of the day this team is built on defense and right now it’s a healthy group.
The Stars’ goaltending situation took a hit this offseason when Ben Bishop underwent knee surgery that could cost him the first half of the season. He and Seguin should return at similar times, likely in March.
Therefore, there was pressure on Anton Khudobin to continue his stellar work from the last few seasons and the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, and Khudobin has been up to the task with a 0.99 GAA and .958 Sv% while playing every minute of the team’s three games so far.
That said, tonight it’s rookie Jake Oettinger making his NHL starting debut in order to give Khudobin a breather given the workload he’ll see in an even more condensed schedule than expected moving forward.
Oettinger made eight saves across two relief appearances in the 2020 playoffs for the Stars, but has never started an NHL game and hasn’t made a professional start since the conclusion of the AHL season last March. That’s nearly a year between starts.
The Stars’ first-round pick in 2017, the 22-year-old posted a quality 2.57 GAA and .917 Sv% in 38 AHL games last season and put up excellent numbers in his three seasons at Boston University prior to that.
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 225 lbs (as per NHL.com), Oettinger is certainly a big body in the crease, and has a fine matchup in his first NHL start tonight.
Red Wings vs. Stars NHL Pick
Clearly, the sportsbooks are looking for a low-scoring affair with the Under 5.5 total heavily favored in this one, and for good reason.
The Stars’ are going to struggle to score to begin with but are absolutely decimated up front. The Red Wings have already struggled on offense and their advanced numbers don’t point towards a whole lot of positive regression, either.
However, I’m going to take a stab with the road dog at valuable odds here.
This comes assuming Larkin suits up for this one, so keep an eye on it, but the Wings have actually been real good defensively this season and have received quality goaltending from both Greiss and Bernier outside of Bernier’s start in Chicago.
The Stars’ back end will present a challenge, but let’s go ahead and test the rookie goaltender. Oettinger’s resume is fine enough, but regardless of opponent, this is still the NHL and the Red Wings have some decent skill in their top six as well as a high-end offensive defenseman in Filip Hronek.
It was a close call in Tuesday as the Stars won that one in overtime and put just 22 shots on this Red Wings team in the process.
Add it up and this appears to be a good spot to take a longshot here with the Wings in Dallas.