NHL Expert Matt DiLeo gives his insight on this 14 game hockey slate and targets his best value plays.
Saturday Night’s Best Bets
We are finally back for another in depth prediction article for Saturday’s slate. For those following my daily picks, we hit a nice run for a couple of days and then hit a road block, but we are looking to get right back on track!
Calgary Flames @ Philadelphia Flyers
This is a wonderful game with a ton of value in my opinion. The public is still on the Flames to turn it around and I just think they need to fix a lot of things before they get back to their old from of last season. Their coach needs to be fired and they are currently on a 5 game losing streak and are 4-9-1 on the road this season. The Flyers on the other hand are competing with every team they face up against and are fresh off a nice 5-3 win against the Hurricanes. Claude Giroux has finally found his strut and posted 2 goals and 2 assists on Thursday night. This Flyers team can play with the best when Giroux is playing at his highest level. This game should be all Philadelphia and the price is fantastic. Take the Flyers to tough it out at home and send the Flames even deeper in their abyss they can’t get out of.
Chicago Blackhawks @ Dallas Stars
The Stars started off the season 1-8 and they looked like a deer in headlights with no hope. Then suddenly they figured it out and have only had 1 regular time loss in their last 14 games. They are currently on a 5 game win streak and have improved to 13-8-2 on the season. As for Chicago they are 9-9-4 on the season and are riding a 2 game skid. They have certainly bounced back from their slow start, but no one is as hot as the Stars right now. The stars are 7-3-1 at home and if Ben Bishop starts I would certainly put my money on them. Ill take the rolling Stars in regulation at -109.
Florida Panthers @ Carolina Hurricanes
These are 2 huge offensive teams battling it out and there is good reason why this O/U is 6.5. The Panthers just had a crazy comeback win after being down 4-0 to the Ducks and won in OT 5-4. That is insane and it is the 2nd time they have done it this season. However, the last time it happened was over 19 years ago. That shows you how easily scoring comes to this team and the fight that they have. The Panthers are currently ranked 2nd in goals for in the league and the Hurricanes are ranked 6th. 6 of the last 7 games have gone over 6 goals for the Hurricanes as well. This game screams the over and it could be a trap, but I feel like you just can’t pass it up.
Minnesota Wild @ Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins were the hottest team to start the season before they hit a little skid. The Wild on the other hand started off poorly and have gained momentum as of late. The Bruins have started to get that traction back as they have won their last 2 games and are looking ahead. The Bruins are 8-0-4 this year at home and the Wild are 4-10-0 on the road. This should be a great game for the Bruins to continue their streak and set the Wild back to reality. The Wild still struggle to score the puck as they rank 24th in goals scored this year, and with Rask having a phenomenal season this should be a fairly easy win. The Bruins are the far better team and on their home ice. Take the Bruins to finish the job in regular time.
Anaheim Ducks @ Tampa Bay Lightning
The Ducks are coming off one of their worst losses in history after blowing a 4-0 lead. They have a huge problem scoring the puck and they had a 4 goal lead taken from them. That has to be demoralizing to a team, especially one that thrives on defense. When this happened to the Bruins a week ago it took them a game or 2 to shake it off and get back on track and that might be the case for the Ducks as well. The Lightning are no where near as dangerous as they were last year, but they are showing signs of getting there. I think this is the time where the Lightning go on a big run and what better place to start than at home against a Ducks team that struggles to score and is coming off of a heartbreak loss. They are 4-2-1 at home while the Ducks are 4-6-1 on the road and I think this is another case of the better team will just get the job done at home.