Hockey Today - Feb 14

Hockey Today - Feb 14

Thursday's NHL Card
By Judd Hall

Eight games are on the docket for the NHL on Valentine’s Day. Seven of those contests will have a direct impact on the standings of the playoff contenders in both the Eastern and Western Conferences.

Besides, what were you going to do on Thursday? Spend time with the wife or girlfriend?

Let’s get to it…

Tampa Bay at Philadelphia

The Lightning may have the worst record in the East, but they’re proving that the blind squirrel can find a nut every now and again. After all, Tampa Bay has won three of its last four games, two of which coming away from the St. Pete Times Forum. The ‘Ning have seen their defense play tougher recently, allowing just two power play goals in six shorthanded occasions. In turn, their defense has kept scores low as the ‘under’ has gone on a 4-1 run.

Philadelphia still can’t figure out a way to get out of its slump, dropping a 4-3 decision on Long Island to the Islanders to extend its losing skid to four matches. Something that was telling about the Flyers’ poor play on Tuesday was the fact they allowed 47 shots on goal. That was the highest total they’ve given up all season long. Needless to say that Philly has watched its totals fly high with the ‘over’ going 3-1 in its last four tilts.

Tampa Bay has been rather successful when heading to the City of Brotherly Love by winning its last four meetings with the Flyers there.

The Flyers are 6-3-1 when coming off of a loss and getting a day of rest. Meanwhile, the Lightning have seen the ‘over’ go 16-13 this season when playing after taking a day off.

Pittsburgh at Carolina

It would have sounded like blasphemy a month ago to say that the Penguins could actually be playing just as well, if not better without Sidney Crosby than with him. Well, that’s exactly what’s happening right now with Pittsburgh as it has gone 5-1-1 in its last seven matches, while seeing the ‘over’ post a 4-2-1 mark.

Carolina traded away a pair of players that helped get them a Stanley Cup, but maybe looks are deceiving. The Hurricanes won their first contest after shipping Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore, a 3-2 affair at Boston on Feb. 12. It was the Hurricanes’ second win in their last three matches, while seeing the ‘under’ kill it for bettors on a 6-1 run.

The Hurricanes have gone 3-1 in their last four head-to-head contests with Pittsburgh since February 2006. The ‘under’ has been a safe play recent for this feud as evidenced by its 4-1 record.

The Pens are playing host to Boston on Wednesday night before making the trip to Raleigh. Pittsburgh has gone 6-4 when taking to the ice on back-to-back nights. Meanwhile, the ‘Canes are 16-10-1 when playing after a day off.

New York Islanders at Toronto

The Isles finally stopped their seven-game skid by shooting dropping the Flyers at Nassau Coliseum last Tuesday, 4-3. New York has also benefited from high scores recently as the ‘over’ has come through in its last three contests.

Toronto’s season is not going much better right now, sitting in 14th place in the East. However, the Maple Leafs have come through with a victory in three of their last four games on the schedule. The Leafs have watched the ‘under’ go 5-1-2 in their past eight fixtures on the schedule.

If history is doomed to repeat itself, then the Islanders will come through with another victory in the Great White North. That’s because New York has posted a 3-1 record in the last four meetings with the Leafs. The last three head-to-head meetings between these intra-conference foes have seen the ‘over’ come through for the betting public.

Chicago at Nashville

Chicago fans have plenty to be excited about with their team when it comes to the future. However, they’re going to have to get through the present growing pains of their club. Perfect example being the Blackhawks losing six of their last seven games this season. The ‘Hawks most recent showing was a 3-2 shoot out loss on the road to the Canucks on Feb. 10.

The Predators aren’t one of the teams you hear a lot of talk about on the new, but they just sneak up on you. Case in point, Nashville has won five of its last seven tilts. That includes a pair of wins over the Coyotes and a Feb. 12 home victory over the Red Wings. The Preds have seen the ‘over’ go on a 3-0 run recently.

The Blackhawks will be playing in Columbus on Wednesday night which could pose an issue for the young, but promising franchise. Chicago has gone 5-6-1 over the season when playing on back-to-back evenings.

Chicago has won its last three showdowns with the Preds, while the ‘over’ went 2-1.

Dallas at Phoenix

The Stars and Coyotes head out to Glendale this Thursday to complete their home-and-home series that started on Feb 12. On that day, Dallas benefited by Mike Modano scoring his 16th goal of the season to win in Texas, 2-1, for its seventh consecutive victory to tie a franchise record.

The odds are pretty good that Phoenix will get swept out of this home-and-home since it has gone 3-7 in its last 10 meetings with the Stars. Bettors can take comfort in backing the ‘over’ in this matchup as it has hit in seven times during the last 10 games between the ‘Yotes and Dallas.

St. Louis at Colorado

The Blues finally got off the schneid on Tuesday, breaking their four-game skid with a 4-2 win at home over Los Angeles. It was just their second home victory of February and it was the fourth time in five matches they saw the ‘over’ cash tickets.

Colorado looked weak in its 2-1 loss at home to the Ducks last Tuesday. I guess that’s to be expected when you can’t execute on special teams, failing to score a power play goal on three chances against Anaheim. This was the seventh time in 12 matches that the ‘under’ came through for the Avalanche.

The Avs have won six of the last 10 meetings with St. Louis with the ‘under’ going 7-2-1.

Minnesota at Vancouver

The Wild still remain atop the Northwest Division despite losing three of their last five games. To be fair though, two of those defeats came at the hands of Detroit and Dallas, a pair of the better clubs in the NHL this season. Minnesota has watched the ‘over’ go 2-1 in its last three contests this season.

Vancouver, on the other hand, is just trying to get back into playoff contention. The Canucks sit two points out of the final playoff spot in the West after winning two of their past three matches. Their last victory was in come-from-behind fashion at home against the Blackhawks, 3-2, in a shoot out on Feb. 10.

Minnesota has won its last two matches with the Canucks this season, while watching the ‘over’ go 3-1 for the year. The Canucks haven’t played too much when getting a long break and it really hasn’t helped when the chance has presented itself as they’re 3-5-2 when playing after taking at least three days off during the 2007-2008 season.

Edmonton at San Jose

Edmonton still has hope of making the playoffs, but it’ll need a lot of help to get past the five clubs in front of it to do so. The Oilers are at least doing what they can on the ice right now to make it happen by winning three of their last four games, while the ‘under’ went 2-1-1.

The Sharks started the season as an oddity when to playing at home, posting single-digit wins at the HP Pavilion wins up until January. San Jose is now on a 5-1-1 run at home, but lost its last game in the Silicon Valley to Calgary, 4-3, in overtime on Feb. 12.

San Jose has won three of its last four regular season showdowns with the Oilers since Jan. 2007. And expect a low scoring affair as well since the ‘under’ has gone 4-1 in the last five meetings.

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Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Carolina Hurricanes

- The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Carolina Hurricanes will both be trying to pick up a win on Thursday when they battle at RBC Center.

The Penguins lost 2-1 to the Bruins last time out, as -165 favorites at home. The combined score fell UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Evgeni Malkin scored his 32nd goal of the season in the loss.

Andrew Ladd scored a pair of goals to lead the Hurricanes to a 3-2 win over the Bruins last time out, as +110 underdogs. The five goals were UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Sergei Samsonov scored the other goal for the Hurricanes. Cam Ward made 27 saves in the win.

Team records:
Pittsburgh: 32-20-5
Carolina: 28-27-4

Pittsburgh most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 5-4-1
Before playing Ottawa are 4-6
After playing Boston are 5-5
After a loss are 8-2

Carolina most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 5-5
Before playing Boston are 4-6
After playing Boston are 3-7
After a win are 2-8

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Pittsburgh's last 5 games when playing Carolina
Pittsburgh is 15-7 SU in its last 22 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Pittsburgh's last 9 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Pittsburgh's last 6 games when playing on the road against Carolina
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Carolina's last 7 games
Carolina is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing at home against Pittsburgh
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Carolina's last 5 games when playing Pittsburgh
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Carolina's last 6 games when playing at home against Pittsburgh

Next up:
Pittsburgh at Buffalo, Sunday, February 17
Carolina home to Florida, Saturday, February 16

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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Philadelphia Flyers

- The fans at Wachovia Center will be treated to a game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Philadelphia Flyers when they take their seats on Thursday.

Vaclav Prospal scored twice to lead the Lightning to a 3-2 win over the Canadiens on Tuesday, at -110 odds. The Lightning won the game at -110 odds, while the five goals were UNDER the posted over/under (6).

Michel Quellet potted the other marker for the Lightning, and Vincent Lecavalier pocketed a pair of assists in the win.

The Flyers fell 4-3 to the Islanders last time out, as -125 favorites. The seven goals made it OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

Daniel Briere, Joffrey Lupul and Scott Hartnell potted the goals for the Flyers. Antero Niittymaki made 33 saves in a losing effort.

Current streak:
Philadelphia has lost 4 straight games.

Team records:
Tampa Bay: 24-27-6
Philadelphia: 30-21-5

Tampa Bay most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 6-4
Before playing St. Louis are 3-7
After playing Montreal are 2-8
After a win are 3-7

Philadelphia most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 4-5-1
Before playing Tampa Bay are 6-4
After playing NY Islanders are 5-5
After a loss are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
Tampa Bay is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games on the road
Tampa Bay is 9-2 SU in its last 11 games when playing Philadelphia
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Tampa Bay's last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Tampa Bay's last 5 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Philadelphia's last 5 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Philadelphia's last 5 games when playing Tampa Bay
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Philadelphia's last 7 games when playing at home against Tampa Bay
The total has gone OVER in 11 of Philadelphia's last 16 games

Next up:
Tampa Bay home to Washington, Saturday, February 16
Philadelphia at Montreal, Saturday, February 16

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New York Islanders vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

- The fans at Air Canada Centre will be treated to a game between the New York Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs when they take their seats on Thursday.

The Islanders snapped a seven-game losing skid with a 4-3 win over the Flyers last time out, as +105 underdogs. The seven goals made it OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

Ruslan Fedotenko scored the game-winner, while Trent Hunter, Jeff Tambellini and Sean Bergenheim added the other goals in the win.

The Maple Leafs were shut out 1-0 by the Sabres last time out, as +140 underdogs. The lone goal fell UNDER the posted over/under (6).

Team records:
New York: 25-25-7
Toronto: 23-26-9

New York most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 4-5-1
Before playing New Jersey are 6-4
After playing Philadelphia are 3-7
After a win are 4-6

Toronto most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 7-3
Before playing San Jose are 3-3-2
After playing Buffalo are 6-4
After a loss are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
NY Islanders are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games when playing Toronto
The total has gone OVER in 16 of the NY Islanders last 23 games when playing Toronto
NY Islanders are 1-4 SU in their last 5 games on the road
NY Islanders are 1-7 SU in their last 8 games
Toronto is 6-1 SU in their last 7 games when playing at home against NY Islanders
Toronto is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 16 of Toronto's last 23 games when playing NY Islanders
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Toronto's last 9 games

Next up:
NY Islanders home to Atlanta, Saturday, February 16
Toronto home to Boston, Saturday, February 16

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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators

- The fans at Sommet Center will be treated to a game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators when they take their seats on Thursday.

Dustin Byfuglien scored a hat trick Wednesday to lead the Blackhawks in a 7-2 pounding of the Blue Jackets. The Blackhawks won the game as +120 underdogs, while the nine goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (5).

Patick Kane, Brent Seabrook, Martin Havlat and James Wisniewski scored the other goals for the Blackhawks.

The Predators clipped the league-leading Red Wings 4-2 as +130 underdogs on Tuesday. The Predators won the game as +130 underdogs, and the six goals made it OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

Alexander Radulov scored twice for the Predators, while Martin Erat and J.P. Dumont added the other goals in the win.

Current streak:
Nashville has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Chicago: 25-25-6
Nashville: 30-22-6

Chicago most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 1-7-2
Before playing Edmonton are 6-4
After playing Columbus are 4-6
After a win are 6-4

Nashville most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 5-5
Before playing Minnesota are 7-3
After playing Detroit are 6-4
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Chicago's last 5 games when playing Nashville
Chicago is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Nashville
Chicago is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing Nashville
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Chicago's last 6 games when playing on the road against Nashville
Nashville is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Nashville's last 5 games when playing Chicago
Nashville is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Nashville's last 9 games at home

Next up:
Chicago home to Colorado, Sunday, February 17
Nashville home to St. Louis, Saturday, February 16

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St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche

- The St. Louis Blues and the Colorado Avalanche will both be trying to pick up a win on Thursday when they battle at Pepsi Center.

The Blues scored three straight times to defeat the Kings 4-2 last time out, as -150 favorites. The six goals made it OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

Andy McDonald, Martin Ruchinsky, Jay McKee and David Backes scored for the Blues. Manny Legace stopped 25 shots for the win.

The Avs fell 2-1 to the Ducks last time out, as +105 underdogs. The three goals were well UNDER the posted over/under (5).

Marek Svatos scored the only goal in the loss.

Team records:
St. Louis: 25-22-8
Colorado: 30-22-5

St. Louis most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 7-3
Before playing Tampa Bay are 3-3-1
After playing Los Angeles are 4-4-1
After a win are 4-6

Colorado most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 7-3
Before playing Buffalo are 8-8-1
After playing Anaheim are 5-5
After a loss are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 4 of St. Louis's last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of St. Louis's last 10 games when playing Colorado
St. Louis is 4-8-2 SU in its last 14 games when playing Colorado
St. Louis is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
Colorado is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against St. Louis
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Colorado's last 10 games when playing St. Louis
Colorado is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games at home

Next up:
St. Louis at Nashville, Saturday, February 16
Colorado at Chicago, Sunday, February 17

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Dallas Stars vs. Phoenix Coyotes

- The division rival Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes are set to renew hostilities on Thursday when they meet at Jobing.com Arena.

The Stars scored twice in the third period to defeat the Coyotes 2-1 on Monday, as -200 favorites. The three goals were UNDER the posted over/under (5).

Mike Modano scored the game-winning goal and added an assist on Steve Ott's goal.

The Coyotes lost 2-1 to the Stars last time out, as +170 underdogs. The three goals were UNDER the posted over/under (5).

Niko Kapanen potted a power play goal for the Coyotes, while Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 42 shots in the loss.

Current streak:
Dallas has won 7 straight games.
Phoenix has lost 4 straight games.

Team records:
Dallas: 35-20-5
Phoenix: 28-25-4

Dallas most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 4-6
Before playing Los Angeles are 5-5
After playing Phoenix are 4-6
After a win are 8-2

Phoenix most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 6-3-1
Before playing Chicago are 4-6
After playing Dallas are 2-8
After a loss are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
Dallas is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Dallas is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Dallas is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing on the road against Phoenix
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Dallas's last 5 games when playing on the road against Phoenix
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Phoenix's last 5 games when playing at home against Dallas
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Phoenix's last 9 games when playing Dallas
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Phoenix's last 11 games at home
Phoenix is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games at home

Next up:
Dallas at Anaheim, Friday, February 15
Phoenix home to Los Angeles, Saturday, February 16

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Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks

- If familiarity breeds contempt, there should be animosity aplenty on Thursday when the Minnesota Wild and the Vancouver Canucks meet at General Motors Place.

The Wild were doubled 4-2 by the Oilers last time out, as -145 favorites on the road. The six goals made it OVER the posted over/under (5).

Pavol Demitra and Brian Rolston scored for the Wild.

The Canucks defeated Chicago 3-2 in a shootout as a -145 favorite last time out. The five goals scored caused this game to be a PUSH on the posted over/under total (5).

Markus Naslund and Alex Burrows scored for Vancouver, while Roberto Luongo stopped 16-of-18 shots in the win.

Team records:
Minnesota: 32-21-4
Vancouver: 28-22-7

Minnesota most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 4-6
Before playing Florida are 2-2-2
After playing Edmonton are 4-6
After a loss are 6-4

Vancouver most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 5-5
Before playing San Jose are 5-5
After playing Chicago are 9-1
After a win are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Minnesota's last 5 games when playing on the road against Vancouver
Minnesota is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Minnesota's last 6 games when playing Vancouver
Minnesota is 4-7-2 SU in its last 13 games when playing on the road against Vancouver
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Vancouver's last 5 games when playing at home against Minnesota
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Vancouver's last 7 games at home
Vancouver is 13-6 SU in its last 19 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Vancouver's last 6 games when playing Minnesota

Next up:
Minnesota home to Nashville, Sunday, February 17
Vancouver home to Edmonton, Saturday, February 16

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Edmonton Oilers vs. San Jose Sharks

- The Edmonton Oilers and the San Jose Sharks will both be trying to pick up a win on Thursday when they battle at HP Pavilion.

Kyle Brodziak scored twice to help the Oilers double the Wild 4-2 last time out, as +125 underdogs. The six goals made it OVER the posted over/under (5).

Fernando Pisani and Jarrett Stoll had the other goals for the Oilers, and Mathieu Garon made 38 saves in the win.

The Sharks fell 4-3 to the Flames last time out, as -160 favorites. The seven goals made it OVER the posted over/under (5).

Marcel Goc, Milan Michalek and Patrick Rissmiller replied for the Sharks.

Team records:
Edmonton: 26-27-5
San Jose: 31-17-8

Edmonton most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 8-2
Before playing Detroit are 8-2
After playing Minnesota are 1-9
After a win are 4-6

San Jose most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 6-4
Before playing Toronto are 3-3-2
After playing Calgary are 3-7
After a loss are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Edmonton's last 7 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Edmonton's last 5 games when playing San Jose
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Edmonton's last 5 games when playing on the road against San Jose
Edmonton is 7-3 SU in its last 10 games when playing San Jose
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of San Jose's last 5 games when playing Edmonton
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of San Jose's last 5 games when playing at home against Edmonton
San Jose is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games at home
San Jose is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Edmonton

Next up:
Edmonton at Vancouver, Saturday, February 16
San Jose at NY Rangers, Sunday, February 17

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