Here are the top picks, plays and predictions for today, Friday October 14th.
Here are tonight’s starting goaltenders, courtesy of LeftWingLock.
Play of the day: Oilers over Flames WITH the over.
A quick side note: on the advent of the new year, my hockey-loving buddies of mine and I sat around watching NBC Sports as they previewed their first game, Chicago-St. Louis. We speculated various things, like who would score the first goal, who would win what, and who would get the first fighting major of the year.
This is my very public forum to say I totally called Lucic-Engelland as the first fight. In your face, guys.
Edmonton looked very impressive in their inaugural game at their brand new facility. They christened their new stadium with a nice 7-4 win over these same Calgary Flames. Connor McDavid looks poised to surge to the top of the NHL leaderboard in most every category. While their off-season moves were questioned and even mocked, they at least have guaranteed that they will not go 0-82, which is a step in the right direction.
The Oilers shipped out Nail Yakupov and Taylor Hall, while bringing in Milan Lucic, Adam Larsson and Kris Russell.
Calgary addressed their most glaring issue in the offseason, acquiring former Blues goaltender Brian Elliott. Ells posted stellar numbers in the regular season for St. Louis, but the readiness of understudy Jake Allen forced management’s hand. Elliott’s first game with a flaming C on his chest went poorly to say the least.
The Oilers started hot last year for what it’s worth. They enter this game as the underdog at +125, making this an intriguing early season play. Both teams have a lot of warts but Calgary simply isn’t quick enough to keep pace with the fleet-footed McDavid or the likes of Leon Draisaitl.
Both teams are looking to climb back into relevance this season. My money would be on Edmonton taking a bigger leap. And it could very well be thanks to their hot start with a healthy, hungry McDavid.
Prediction: Take the Oilers to win. Play the over.
The Game to Watch: Chicago Blackhawks vs Nashville Predators.
The Nashville Predators might just top my list of teams that will be the most interesting to track their progress. I will admit that I am very guilty of underestimating the Preds year after year. And not long ago, I felt confident that my skepticism was justified.
Then last year happened.
Roman Josi developed into a top-5 defender in the league. Filip Forsberg just kept scoring. Ryan Johansen and now P.K. Subban joined the mix.
And they FINALLY made it past the second round of the playoffs. ‘Bout time.
I like Peter Laviollette as a coach a lot. I am high on Pekka Rinne and refuse to believe that last year was the real him from now on. But with all that the team proved last year, they still have a lot of work to do.
Tonight the Preds will face the Blackhawks, who got their clocks cleaned by the Blues Wednesday night. We’ve reached the point where there are five, possibly six highly competitive Central Division teams. If the non-California Pacific teams pick up some slack, the race for the safety of a division spot gets that much more urgent.
What I’m trying to say is I’m really excited for Central Division hockey this year. And the the Preds will surprise people.
Prediction: Take Nashville to make an early-season statement at -119. Play the over. Bet on Subban scoring tonight.
Flyers vs Kings: The Flyers are in a very similar camp as the Predators in that the success of their team is not automatic, though they have the building blocks to succeed. By and are they a favorite in the the Metro, which is saturated with talent, but they seem to thrive on underestimation.
Claude Giroux had himself another solid statistical year, but both he and Jakub Voracek would likely agree that they can do even better. A full year of Shayne Gostisbehere at the blueline will help things along as well. They are a Wild Card hunter for sure this season.
The Kings are already hurting and we are only on Game 2. Jonathan Quick will head to the IR to start the year, joining Marion Gaborik. They also lost Lucic, a successful top line component in the offseason to free agency.
There is not much of a storyline to derive from this meeting, unless the whole Jeff Carter thing still interests you (it shouldn’t).
The Flyers are +131, Kings -145, with a 5.5 o/u.
Prediction: Take LA to win. Play the under.
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