Two of the top teams in the West will square off on Friday when the struggling St. Louis Blues visit the Dallas Stars. The Blues have managed just 17 points since the beginning of the year and are losers of five of their last six games.
Dallas, on the other hand, has the most points in the West over its last 10 games even though the Stars are allowing the 10th-most goals and scoring the 13th-fewest goals per game since January 12.
Not known for their offense, the Stars shouldn’t have any problem scoring against the Blues as the defending champs are allowing 3.45 a game in their last 10 (the sixth-highest rate in the league), although they did shutout the Devils on Tuesday. The Blues have won the last three meetings in Dallas while the Under has hit in eight straight meetings. We like the home team on the moneyline and wouldn’t say no to the Under 5.5.
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BATTLE OF THE BEST
Saturday afternoon gives us February’s best offense in the Eastern Conference as the Flyers host the Winnipeg Jets. Philadelphia is averaging just over four goals a game this month and is 6-3 O/U. The Jets are scoring 3.56 goals per contest (5th) this month thanks in part to averaging 34.5 shots per game — the fifth-most in the league.
These two clubs played to a 7-3 Jets win back in December and we like another high-scoring affair on Saturday afternoon. Both teams won’t be on much rest as they will be playing their third game in five nights. We are a big fan of afternoon Overs and home teams. We are riding the Flyers’ moneyline if priced reasonably and for sure taking the Over which should be set at 6 but willing to play it at 6.5
The last time the Maple Leafs played the Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto walked away with an incredible 8-6 win after blowing a 3-0 lead and trailing 5-3 in the third. Well, the Leafs don’t seem to have the same fight in them as before and have only won in regulation twice in their last ten games.
They may be fighting for a playoff seed but the Buds have shown very little motivation heading into the weekend with embarrassing losses to Pittsburgh and Buffalo earlier in the week. Saturday will mark Toronto’s third game in five nights and its second chance to collect a regulation win at home since Jan 14. Even with the decent performance at home versus Pittsburgh on Thursday, we are still in full Toronto fade-mode and will look to take the Canes on the moneyline or team total Over 3.5.
FLAMING THE WINGS
Want a piece of the league’s hottest offense? On Sunday, the red-hot Calgary Flames will take their league-best offense over the last five games to Detroit — the league’s worst team at keeping pucks out of its net.
On the year, Detroit is dead-last in goals allowed per game at 3.74 per contest and also sits last in save percentage. Calgary won’t have a problem racking up goals, but it’s the defense/goaltending that has us looking at the Over. Although the Flames are scoring over four goals a game this month, they are also surrendering the most goals against, too. Taking an Over with Detroit is risky (26-28-8 O/U on the season) but if they can get two, Calgary should be able to do the rest. We are taking the Over 6 to wrap up the week.
GOALIE PROFILE: SERGEI BOBROVSKY, FLORIDA PANTHERS
With the Panthers in the middle of a playoff race, one would expect some steady goaltending from their prized off-season acquisition, but unfortunately for the Cats, Sergei Bobrovsky has been anything but consistent. Bob has won just two of his last seven starts and has an ugly 3.60 goals against over the last 30 days.
Over backers have enjoyed the Florida goalie’s starts this year. In his last 21 starts, Bobrovsky has allowed three or more goals in 16 of those games. Think about that for a bit. There is a reason Florida is 34-21-3 O/U on the season. The Panthers take on the Golden Knights in Vegas on Saturday night.
INJURY UPDATE: F MIKKO RANTANEN, COLORADO AVALANCHE
The Colorado Avalanche will be without forward Mikko Rantanen for an extended period of time after Monday’s loss to the Lightning. Rantanen is second on the team in points per game at just under one per contest. The Finnish forward has already missed 16 games this and won’t be able to help his team as the Avs make a push to win the Pacific Division.
Since Rantanen's return in late November, the Avs have averaged 3.52 goals per game (2nd) and are 20 percent on the powerplay (20th). In the games that Rantanen was out of the lineup in late October and November, Colorado managed just a slight dip in goal production at 3.38 per game (7th) and a similar 19 percent on the powerplay. There is a reason why the Avs are one of the best teams in the league and part of that has to do with their adaptability. Don’t fade the Avs just because they are missing their top winger.
HAT TRICK TRENDS
• A big part of hitting -1.5 pucklines, which are hitting at 34 percent over the last month, is getting the empty netter. Some teams are better at that than others with players who are in scoring races always looking to get a freebie or two. The Capitals, Coyotes, Bruins, Hurricanes and Leafs are the league’s best at getting empty-net goals while the Golden Knights, Ducks, Devils, Kings and Canadiens are scoring the fewest.
• A great bet that holds a lot of value is “team to score first wins — NO.” These odds usually sit in the +160 to +200 range and some teams are much better at cashing than others. The Red Wings (obviously), Kings, Ducks, Canadiens, Jets, Rangers, Sabres and Senators are the league’s losingest teams when scoring first. Oddly, the Boston Bruins have a .595 winning percentage when scoring first which is the seventh-worst mark in the league. The Panthers and Hurricanes are the only two teams that are winning at .800 percent or better when scoring first.
• Powerplay goals are an important part of hitting Overs. It is uncommon to get six or seven 5-on-5 goals in a single game. The Ducks, Senators and Blues are all allowing at least one powerplay goal against per game in February while the Stars and Wild are scoring at least one powerplay goal per game in February. The Flyers and Coyotes lead the league this month in powerplay time on ice per game while the Bruins and Hurricanes lead the league in penalty kill time on ice per game.