With the football season over, the NHL will begin to now have bigger cards on Sundays. Before football was done there were only a few games to choose from, but now there will be a bigger range of games on the schedule. I hate to see football go, however, from an NHL handicapping perspective more games is always a good thing. I always feel like the larger the sample to choose from, the greater the chance for winning picks. Winning picks have been on the docket for me lately, and I am hoping there will be no signs of slowing down today. The Boston Bruins were able to sneak past the Islanders by a score of 2-1 on Saturday. I said that the Bruins were going to win it with their defense and they most certainly did. As I mentioned, look out for the Boston Bruins for the remainder of the season. The defense is beginning to revert back to how they should be playing, and the team as a whole is now much healthier than they were earlier in the season. Definitely keep an eye on the Bruins moving forward and be on the look out where odds makers are selling them short. Before long I think we’re going to see them as big favorites, which will take most of the value out of betting them. Let’s put together another win today. Winning has been easy lately, but there is no time to slack off.
For Sunday we turn to the Big Apple where the Rangers welcome the Dallas Stars to New York. The Stars are coming off a night where they lost to the Buffalo Sabres, which is a pretty awful claim to make. The Stars really are a hard team to forecast from night to night. They look good and then a couple nights later can’t even beat the worst team in the NHL. Losing to the Sabres simply indicates they didn’t have their heads on straight for that game. Blame it on the long road trip to Buffalo or maybe looking ahead to New York today, whatever it was, it was a bad loss for them to take. They don’t have to wait long for their next game though, as they hit the ice against the Rangers tonight in New York. The Rangers are dealing with their own problems, as Henrik Lundqvist won’t be available to play for over a month due to a neck injury. Cam Talbot steps in as the starter now, who is a downgrade from Lundqvist, understandably so. Despite the Stars losing last night, they do have a potent offense. We will see how the Rangers hold up tonight at home against them.
Dallas Stars vs. New York Rangers
The Rangers have previously played seasons with a lockdown defense spearheaded by the man between the pipes, Henrik Lundqvist. This season, however, it has been more about the offense than the defense I believe. The Rangers are still a good team, but have been doing it in a different way this season. While the defense has regressed somewhat, the offense has been doing their part. Don’t get me wrong, the defense is still good, allowing an average of 2.32 goals per game, but they’ve definitely been playing in some higher scoring games this season. Note that the Rangers are 22-21 to the OVER this season, which doesn’t seem all that bizarre at first glance, but this is a team that has regularly favored the UNDER in the last several seasons. The scoring is up for them, they’re averaging 2.96 goals a game. A spot where this team should be offensively.
The Stars haven’t changed since my last synopsis of them. All offense, no defense. Only scoring 2 goals on the Sabres last night is a pretty poor effort. Buffalo is last in all defensive categories. However, allowing 3 goals to the Sabres is pretty bad as well. They struggle against most every team on defense though. The Stars come in against the Rangers giving up 3.23 goals a game. But the Stars do feature a top 5 offense, averaging 3.12 goals per game on offense. In their past ten games they’ve scored 3.30 goals a game, but were again, giving up too many goals at a clip of 3 allowed per game. The Rangers are typically played as an UNDER bet. However, they know how to score this season and will be against one of the worst defenses in the NHL. After getting dummied by the Sabres last night, I think the Stars’ offense shows up against the Rangers, who will be playing with a backup. The numbers shouldn’t lie to us in this game, I like the game to go OVER 5.5 Sunday afternoon.
PICK – OVER 5.5 GOALS (5Dimes.eu – Best Odds)