OndrejPavelec



Ondrej Pavelec's struggles will continue to doom the Jets.




Winning % on the season= 50%
(Written before Friday night’s contests)


Another 50/50 split last time around, as I continue to bat .500 on the season. In baseball that would be otherworldly; inhuman even. In the gambling world, though. Though, in the parity-stricken National Hockey League, .500 is generally deemed to be half decent. Moreover, from me to you, I’ll continue to aim to return to a .600+ clip, if not my career best watermark rate of .700 in 2012-13. But I digress. Time to jump into a very busy post Winter Classic Saturday slate, with my 1st Six Pack of 2014!


(~~ Follow Anthony Lancione on Twitter @Anthisdaman)


Winnipeg @ Boston (1:00pm ET)
By the Numbers - Frozen Pools


The Bruins come into this one remaining atop the Atlantic division, winning their first contests of 2014 in style, thanks to a cheeky winner by Brad Marchand in the extra frame. Apparently Tuukka Rask had too much turkey on Christmas as a strong end with a thud, giving up nine goals in the final two outing of the year 2013. Boston will hope to squash the Jets in today’s matinee in getting a streak going. Once again Winnipeg sits on the outside looking in on the playoff race this season, scraping by with a .500 record in their last 10 as well as overall. The extremely mediocre play of Ondrej Pavelec (3.03 GAA and .902 SV %) has been a big part of the franchise’s undoing. However, there is a school of thought pushing for a goaltender controversy as Al Montoya on the other hand has been excellent in relief (2.02 GAA and a .929 SV %). However, Pavelec yet again gets the nod, so expect yet another defeat for the visitors.


Pick
Boston – Home Team Win– H(ProLine)

 

San Jose @ Colorado (3:00pm ET)
By the Numbers - Frozen Pools

Tale of the Tape



2014-01-04 MT



SAN JOSE

SHARKS


NHL
Rank

Stat

Category

Stat

NHL
Rank

3

41

Games Played

40

4

4

26

Wins

25

5

3

9

Losses

11

4

4

130

Goals

114

10

8

100

Goals Against

98

7

5

+30

Goal Differential

+16

7

1

1476

Shots On Net

1186

21

9

1172

Shots Against

1285

22


COLORADO

AVALANCHE

26-9-6

REGULAR SEASON RECORD

25-11-4

2-1-0

REGULAR SEASON LAST 3 GAMES

2-0-1

The Sharks are playing inspired hockey of late, sitting pretty in a home ice advantage position, and on a nice run, winning five of their past six contests. They’ve lit the lamp 20 times in their past five outings and lead the entire league in rubber fired on net. Joe Thornton continues to march forward on a renaissance year that sees him dole out helpers at a rate never seen before in NHL history for a 34-year-old (or older). His 41 assists in 41 games pegs him for a cool 82 assists on the campaign. Not even the Great one accomplished that after turning 34, maxing out at 77 over the last half dozen years of his epic career. Meanwhile the Avs have continued to put together one of the better turnaround seasons we’ve seen in the past decade, showing no signs of deflating just yet behind a stellar Semyon Varlamov; who’s no doubt out on a mission to earn starter status on home soil at Sochi.


Pick

San Jose - Visiting Team Win – V(ProLine)



Ottawa @ Montreal (7:00pm ET)
By the Numbers -Frozen Pools

Bobby Ryan may not be able to spell ‘intensity’, but he can spell ‘champion’ and ‘elite goal scorer’ pretty accurately so I’ve heard. Poor guy has had a rough few days, but if he’s ever had a bigger fire lit under his butt in his professional career, I’d like to hear about it, as he has all the ammunition to succeed more now than ever. However, a lackluster Milan Michalek continues to have the worst season of his career. With captain, Jason Spezza still out on the mend, along with blueline corp leader Chris Phillips, they remain in tough against the surprise team in the East. The Habs have been more than decent at home this year (12-7-2), while the Sens’ sub.500 road record should make this one a toughie, but a close one nonetheless.


Pick
Montreal - Home Team Win – T(ProLine)(
Canadiens to win in SO)
 


Columbus @ St.Louis (8:00pm ET)
By the Numbers - Frozen Pools

St. Louis is the absolute hottest team in the league at the moment, coming off a signature 5-0 trouncing of the 2012 champion Kings, hitting them fast and early and are winners of four straight and 16 points of a possible 20 over their last 10 matches. Cue Elliott superseding Halak Version 3.0! Halak slipped due to a minor knock, which has seen Elliott once again take the opportunity and run with it, notching the shutout against L.A. for a snazzy icing on the cake. It was his second doughnut in the past five and he’s only allowed five over that same five game stretch. They’ll continue to roll with the hot hand as long as possible. Columbus has been better lately, though after a horrid start, taking points in six of their past 10 seems like the run of the year. This one was never in doubt. Go for the extra juice.


Pick
St.Louis - Home Team Win Plus – H+(ProLine)

 


Philadelphia @ Phoenix (8:00pm ET)
By the Numbers - Frozen Pools


Welcome back from obscurity Flyerland! A pitiful start to the season for Philly mirrored a pitiful start for franchise guy, Claude Giroux. He notoriously went well over a month (dating back to last season) without a goal, helping the Flyers to free fall to the NHL basement. However, Giroux’s ascent has never been so more clearly intrinsically linked to the (seemingly mutually exclusive) success of the club. Claude has reached the top 20 scoring leaders and had a fabulous December, including an eight game streak which saw him compile multi-point efforts in all but three, including 17 total points over that stretch. Whereas the hometown team has been headed distinctly in the opposite path. After an inexplicably strong start to the campaign, the Yotes’ season has been slowly spiraling downward with only two victories in their past nine and just three wins over their past 13.


Pick
Philadelphia – Visiting Team Win – V(ProLine)


Washington @ Minnesota (8:00pm ET)
By the Numbers - Frozen Pools


*

Philipp Grubauer


Probable @ 8:40am EST - Jan 3rd


vs


*

Niklas Backstrom


Firm @ 1:25pm EST - Jan 3rd

1:25pm
Jan 3rd

Yeo: Harding day-to-day. Backstom to start tomorrow. (@mnwild)



Although Vegas pegs Minny as the favourites in this one (-135), I see huge value in the dogs here. The Caps offer some nice positive juice this week (+115) and have clearly been the better team over both the short and long haul. Granted, neither team is hot right now; both sitting on a mere three wins over their past 10, but Backstrom has been terrible. (I’m not convinced yet after his first win in ages last outing) However, the Caps remain in second in the very bad Metropolitan, but are now feeling the heat of a surging Flyers team who are breathing down their neck, just two points behind – motivation to pick up the pace.


Pick
Washington - Visiting Team Win – V(ProLine)


Good luck everyone!


Recently from Saturday picks:

Saturday Picks - December 14, 2013 
Saturday Picks - December 7, 2013 
Saturday Picks - November 30, 2013 

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