LONE MONDAY GAME
The Columbus Blue Jackets come into Monday night’s showdown with the Ottawa Senators having lost eight in a row and hitting the Over in five of their last six. A big reason for the losing skid has been injuries to key players but also the play of their goaltending.
After leading the league in goals against for most of 2020, the BJ’s have slipped to the fifth-most goals against (3.67/game) over the last 10 days. Columbus’ M/O is win low-scoring affairs as its offense is a bottom-third unit in goals per game, and without top-end goaltending, its playoff hopes are diminishing.
The Senators haven’t been stepping up their game of late either as they are 3-9 SU in their last 12 and 1-10 SU in their last 11 road games. With two struggling teams, our only play on Monday is to bet against the goaltending and hammer the Over which opened at 5.5 but should move to 6 . Ottawa is 6-1-1 O/U on totals of 6 of late while the last meeting between the two clubs back in December ended in a 4-3 Ottawa win in overtime.
RUNNING WITH THE DEVIL
It may not be known to everyone, but the New Jersey Devils are hot right now. They are 6-3 SU in their last nine and have knocked off the Capitals, Blue Jackets and Flyers to name a few in that stretch. They also beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on February 13 and have the chance to deal the Wings another loss on Tuesday.
The Devils have the seventh-lowest goals against in February and have been getting great goaltending from Mackenzie Blackwood (see below) who is 6-0 SU in his last six. It’s tough to get any value against the Wings, but taking the Devils on the puckline (-1.5) might be the best move. New Jersey may be just 3-3 ATS in its last six wins, but Detroit has allowed its opponents to go 11-2 ATS in its last 13 losses. We are grabbing the Devils on the puckline this Tuesday.
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BATTLE OF NEW YORK
Tuesday gives us the battle of both New York clubs as the Islanders play host to the surging Rangers. One month ago, the Rangers had zero playoff aspirations, now one week before March the Rangers are just four points out a playoff spot after collecting the third-most points in the East over the last 10 games.
The Islanders are just 1-4 SU in their last five but have played better at home of late collecting nine of a possible 10 points in their last five home contests. Not to be outdone, the Rangers have won seven straight on the road, a streak that all began with a 3-2 win in February versus the Islanders. We expect the Rangers to be a good-value underdog on Tuesday and we are backing the them on the moneyline.
EVEN CONNOR CAN’T TOPPLE KNIGHTS
Connor McDavid is back but even the best player in the league might not be enough for the Edmonton Oilers as they visit the Vegas Golden Knights who have ripped off six straight wins. Vegas has been quite comfortable at home of late as the Knights have played five of their last six in Vegas and start another four-game homestand on Wednesday night.
Las Vegas owns the third-best home record in the West and have scored at least five goals in four of its last six home matches. The Oilers are 16-10 SU versus the Eastern Conference this year but just 16-19 SU versus the West. We like the boys in the desert to keep things rolling at home and are grabbing the Knights on the 3-way moneyline on Wednesday.
GOALIE PROFILE: MACKENZIE BLACKWOOD, NEW JERSEY DEVILS
As we mentioned above, the Devils have been playing better than their record of late and a lot of that has to do with the goaltending of rookie goalie Mackenzie Blackwood. The Devils backstop has won six straight starts and has allowed more than two goals just once in that stretch while picking up two shutouts.
In those six victories, the Devils won at +170, -130, +110, -190, -115 and +190. Blackwood might be worth taking some longshot stabs in the next week while the team is playing well in front of him. New Jersey has the Red Wings, Sharks and Kings on deck which are all winnable road games for Blackwood and the Devils.
INJURY UPDATE: THE CAROLINA HURRICANES
Last Saturday night was a bittersweet win for the Hurricanes as they lost both their goalies to injuries and Top-4 defense Brett Pesce who will be out “a while”. The Canes are already without defender Dougie Hamilton — who was in the middle of Norris-type season — and will certainly be active ahead of the trade deadline.
Goalie James Reimer is also expected to be out “a while” which leaves Petr Mrazek who exited the game after getting run over by Leafs’ Kyle Clifford. The Hurricanes had to use an emergency goalie in the game who was actually the Zamboni driver for the Leafs’ affiliated team the Toronto Marlies — and the Leafs still lost.
With so many injuries to the back end, Carolina may be a team to avoid or to play on the Over going forward. The Hurricanes take on the Dallas Stars on Tuesday with a total of 5.5 being the most probable opening line.
HAT TRICK TRENDS
• The Colorado Avalanche are without their best winger and No. 1 goalie due to injuries. Their O/U record reflects this. In their last 10, the Avs are 1-9 O/U and have only had 19 combined goals in their last five games — the lowest total in the league. Colorado plays the Sabres on Wednesday.
• The Dallas Stars are known as an Under team (22-38-2 O/U on the year) but their special teams have bettors looking at the Over. The Stars’ powerplay is scoring at a league-best 31 percent in February while their penalty kill has been porous, sitting in third-last at 30 percent. Dallas is 3-1-1 O/U in its last five and hasn’t seen a total of 6 since Jan.
• We understand that sometimes you want to watch some action but don’t have time for the full game. Well, we got you fam, and for those quick hitters the NHL has first-period betting that can get you in and out in under 30-35 minutes. The best teams at hitting first-period Overs in the last 10 games are the Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas Golden Knights, Washington Capitals, and Florida Panthers who are all converting at a rate of 80 percent.