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NHL Betting 2008 – Week 17 Wednesday Edition
Our Sportsbooks: Washington Capitals (22-21-5) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (19-22-8)
Wednesday, January 23rd — Air Canada Centre, Toronto — 7:30pm EST
NHL Money Line: Toronto -125
Washington has been on a tear recently, going 6-1 SU in their last seven games. A dazzling performance by Alexander Ovechkin led the Caps to a 6-5 victory against the Crosby-less Penguins. Washington enters the home of the Maple Leafs with a 5-2 SU record in their last seven meetings with Toronto.
But how Toronto responds to the recent firing of GM John Ferguson may be the deciding factor in this match-up. A front office shuffle could mean trades, and the boys in Toronto’s locker room can no longer count on Ferguson’s loyal commitment to his players. Responding to the firing of their front office chief is what this team needs to do. Toronto is 3-2 SU in its last five games, having just ended a three-game win streak with a 3-2 loss to Jersey on Sunday night.
As favorites, the Leafs are 9-10 SU, and are actually 4-2 SU in their past six home games. Ovechkin and Semin will find holes in the sluggish Toronto defense, continuing their 3.0 goals per game average. But Toronto releases a bevy of shots and has the sixth best scoring offense when playing at home, where they average 3.3 goals per game. Both defenses are brutal, allowing over three goals per game, so expect a lot of scoring as the Leafs snap the Caps win streak to reaffirm that this team can get it done. The Capitals don’t have the big bodies to throw Toronto off kilter.
NHL Free Pick: Toronto -125
St. Louis Blues (22-18-6) vs. Vancouver Canucks (25-19-5)
Wednesday, January 23rd — General Motors Place, Vancouver — 10:00pm EST
NHL Money Line: Vancouver -170
The Blues have gone 0-5 SU in their past five games and continue to disappoint on a monumental level. But they sure caught Vancouver at the right time. The Canucks are enduring a 1-6 SU record over their past seven tilts, and things do not look pretty for them heading in to All-Star break. Back-to-back losses for the Nucks at home proves that they’re not as invincible on home ice as we thought.
The Blues are singing nothing but, averaging only 2.6 goals per game, and allowing 2.8 lamp lighters against. Their power-play is atrocious at 12.4 percent, because they don’t have a legitimate point man who can run the five-on-four. And to make matters worse, the Blues snipe off the fewest shots per game with only 25.7
However, Vancouver’s defensive stats are misleading. They have the fourth best power play at 85.7 percent only because they are one of the most penalized teams in the league. That, in itself, skews, their special teams numbers. They allow the third fewest goals per game at 2.4, but allow 28.63 shots. What that means is that they have a hard time protecting goalie Roberto Luongo, whose superhuman efforts have salvaged an otherwise mediocre roster.
The Blues are 10-15 SU as dogs, so the line has been honest with them for the right amount of time. The Canucks need to end things on a high note heading in to the break. Expect a close game, but bet on Vancouver to win in a tight finish with low scores at best. The Blues simply won’t rack off enough shots to squeak something past Luongo.
NHL Free Pick: Vancouver -170
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