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Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Islanders
Wednesday, April 12, 2023 – 07:00 PM EDT at UBS Arena
The Canadiens have dropped five of their last six, and all but one of those losses have come by two goals or more. In their most recent effort –or lack thereof– they were blown out 7-1 by the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Saturday; now they will play their penultimate regular season game on Long Island.
Montreal may be without any incentive to win, as they have been eliminated from the playoffs for quite some time, but the Islanders can clinch the only remaining Eastern Conference wild-card spot left with a victory in front of the fan-friendlies tonight. However, if they lose and the Penguins win, then the Isles would be left making vacation plans.
Naturally, this game is huge for New York, and although we have seen teams with nothing to lose defeat opponents with everything to gain, I don’t believe that will be the case tonight. Over the Islanders’ last seven wins, six of those have been won by two goals or more.
Our Top Pick
The Canadiens have an anemic offense coupled with a porous defense, and while the Islanders may not be the most lethal scoring team in the league, their defense is among the best. This is why this should be an easy victory for the home team, as I doubt the hapless Habs will score more than a goal in this game if they’re lucky.
Therefore, we will eschew the moneyline and avoid paying oodles of juice in the unlikely event of an upset and will instead lay the 1½ goals with the Isles.
NHL Pick: Islanders -1½ (-140) at BetOnline
Dallas Stars vs. St. Louis Blues
Wednesday, April 12, 2023 - 07:30 PM EDT at Enterprise Center
St. Louis dropped a 5-3 decision to the Wild in Minnesota on Saturday and has just two more games before they can begin preparing for next season. However, both those remaining contests will be against their Central Division rivals from Dallas, with the first taking place in the familiar confines of the Enterprise Center tonight.
The Stars have won four straight and six of their last seven as they attempt to wrest first place from the clutches of the Colorado Avalanche. In their most recent outing, they laid the hammer to the Red Wings in a 6-1 Monday night road victory with Roope Hintz contributing a goal and three assists.
We should also note that the Stars' starting goalie, Jake Oettinger, was pulled after the second period of the blowout win over Detroit in what was likely a strategic move by Dallas head coach Peter DeBoer to keep him as fresh as possible for the two critical games remaining.
The Stars have everything to play for while the Blues are simply playing out the string.
I suspect we will see a Stars team that will render similar results to their Monday night romp over the Wings. Let’s just set it and forget it by laying the lumber with Dallas.
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San Jose Sharks vs. Calgary Flames
Wednesday, April 12, 2023 - 10:00 PM EDT at Scotiabank Saddledome
The Sharks enter this matchup on a four-game losing streak, with the most recent being a 6-2 loss in Winnipeg on Monday night. San Jose will now be facing a divisional rival in Calgary, in which they have lost all three games this season by a combined 17-8 margin.
Calgary has also been sputtering down the stretch, dropping three of their last four, but you can’t say they’ve been mailing it in, as all three setbacks have been one-goal games, two of which went to the shootout round.
It’s hard to get excited about betting good money on a bad team, and that’s precisely what Calgary is this season. However, we should make the distinction between bad and terrible, as the Sharks fall under the latter category. We should also recognize that Calgary has absolutely dominated San Jose this season, winning all three games by two goals or more.
I don’t think this game will be close if the Flames want to close their season on an uptick in front of their home crowd.
I believe that will be the case, and on another positive note, we are likely to see the Sharks’ backup goalie Kaapo Kahkonen in net tonight, as their starter James Reimer rarely plays more than two consecutive games. That’s good news for us because Kahkonen has had a miserable season (9-19, 3.90 GAA, .879 save percentage).
NHL Pick: Flames -1½ (+102) at Heritage Sports
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