Thursday Free NHL Picks 02/14 Feb 14th, 2008
By: Our Staff
CappersPicks.com NHL Handicapping Staff
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Hockey Betting – NHL Furious Free Picks
New York Islanders (25-25-7) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (23-26-9)
Thursday, February 14th — Air Canada Centre, Toronto — 7:00pm EST
NHL Betting Line: Toronto -145
The Islanders and Toronto have a storied history, dating back to a ferocious NHL Playoff series they had in 2001, that still has fans talking. This season, Toronto got the upper hand with an 8-1 landslide victory, while the Islanders exercised some revenge with a 4-3 squeaker just after Christmas. When they face tonight, Toronto will be looking swing the pendulum the other way and correct the 1-4 SU record they hold against the Islanders in their past five games against them.
Toronto was barely edged by Buffalo in HSBC Arena last night in a 1-0 loss, but showed a ton of offensive punch by gunning out 35 shots, while clamping down on the speedy Sabres who only managed 20. The Islanders allow the third most power plays in the NHL, with 4.7 per contest, while also shamefully holding the title as the league’s worst offensive teams. To say that their chances will be minimal against a Leafs team that has suddenly learned how to play defense is an understatement. The fact that they’ve gone 1-7 SU in their past eight games should tell you everything else you need to know.
The Leafs are 3-2 SU in their past five games and are 5-2 SU in their last 7 home games. The ACC, simply, is a safe haven for the Leafs. Surely their betting faithful, and the stout members of Leaf Nation, will fuel their team with momentum and ferocious support considering the Leaf’s play in February. The Leafs may only be 10-12 SU as favorites, but the Islanders are worse as dogs with 16 victories against 22 losses as the underdog.
Toskala is beginning to find his groove in net, and that should make the Leafs happy. They seriously have to lay down the hammer if they plan on even entertaining any playoff plans. And coach Paul Maurice is just the fire starter to smoke out a win tonight en route to that playoff run.
NHL Free Pick: Toronto -145 (UNDER)
Minnesota Wild (32-21-4) vs. Vancouver Canucks (28-22-7)
Thursday, February 14th — GM Place, Vancouver — 10:00pm EST
NHL Betting Line: Vancouver -125
See. This is exactly what I mean about the oddsmakers for the NHL being lazy. Why is Vancouver favored? Is it because Minnesota has won the last two games in GM Place against them? Is it because 3-9 SU in their past 12 games? Is it because 2-5 SU in their last 7 home games? I sure hope not. Because then someone in Vegas needs to be fired.
Minnesota is on a tear recently, and the majority of the credit goes to Brian Rolston who has broken out of his horrific funk and his chipped in a point-per-game since January 21st. And all but one of those points have been goals. Vancouver allows an infuriating number of quality shots to reach goalie Roberto Luongo, who is beginning to show some wear and tear from last season and this one since Vancouver has no clue how to properly protect him. Minnesota will easily reach the net on more than one occasion, and Luongo can only bail them out so many times.
Minnesota is 6-2 SU in their past 8 road games and will continue that trend against Vancouver tonight. You can bet on it here. Wipe the early games from this season from you memory, because Vancouver rand Minnesota were starkly different teams then. Now, the Wild are running as such and Vancouver is in a terrifying tailspin. The Wild have never played the Knuckleheads lightly, and don’t expect tonight to be the exception.
NHL Free Pick: Minnesota +105
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