NHL December 13th

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NHL Season: 26-32, (44.83%) -1.0 Units 

With College Hoops starting up my NHL volume has gone way down, but with the slow time of year now I managed to make some plays today. Season has been roughly even so far. My record is poor but only down 1 unit due to the fact I play so many dogs. Here’s what I have tonight…

Rangers (-125): You could make a good case that right now the Rangers are the best team in the NHL. For the time being Vigneault is going to stick with the hot hand and run Antti Raanta back out there in net tonight. Regardless of who is in net I think the Rangers are in nice shape there, what really elevates this team is their offense. The Rangers have scored an NHL best 105 goals this year which shakes out to an excellent 3.5 goals per game. On the flip side they’ve only allowed 69 goals, giving them a sparkling +36 goal differential for the season. It looks like Toews will be back tonight for Chicago but you’ve gotta expect a little rust there in his first game after missing the last 9. At the end of the day I just can’t pass on what might be the best team in the league, playing at home, at only -125.

Maple Leafs (-110): Going to take a shot here with the home team and the better offense. By now you all know what you’ll get with the Leafs. Lots of shots on goal, lots of goals, and hope for the best on the defensive end. So far this season the Leafs rank 2nd in the league in shots on goal per game and 7th in the league in goals per game. Facing a Sharks team that isn’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard could be just what they need tonight. The Sharks come in at 2.43 goals per contest which is only 20th in the league. Much of that trouble can be attributed to Joe Pavelski who is only scoring on 8.6% of his shots on goal which for him is an awful mark. I’m sure at some point Pavelski will bust loose but until then his struggles have led to a San Jose not lighting the lamp as much as they expected they would. Simply put I’m taking the home team with more fire power and hoping Anderson can keep things under control in net.

Coyotes (+200): There’s no denying the Coyotes are an awful hockey team. There’s no point in even going into any of the numbers. All of them will be ugly and point to the same thing, which is that the Coyotes suck. Now that we have that out of the way let’s point out that the Red Wings are pretty awful in their own right. They have managed to find their way to 30 points which is somewhat respectable and their defense is middle of the pack, but it’s their offense that’s just plain putrid. At 2.28 goals per game they rank 26th in the league and tonight they might be without their best offensive weapon Henry Zetterberg who is a game time decision. At the end of the day this play isn’t about taking the Coyotes at +200, it’s about being able to get +200 to go against the Red Wings. If the team I have to do that with is Arizona, then so be it.

Wild (-145): This looks to be an awful matchup for the Panthers tonight. They’ll take their lowly 2.34 goals per game into Minnesota to take on Devan Dubnyk and the stingy Wild. On the year the Wild only allow 2.0 goals per game which best in the NHL, and at home Dubnyk is sporting a 1.55 GAA. To me the Wild and their +20 goal differential are one of the better (somewhat under the radar) teams in the league. I don’t want to make this one seem overly simplistic but flat out it’s a team that struggles to score going against one the best goalies around right now. The Panthers should have a very tough time lighting the lamp tonight.

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