We’ve got a pair of games on tap tonight. Blues-Flames. Stars-Canes. Let’s take a look at our NHL daily predictions.
|Stars vs Hurricanes
ML +110 / -130
|Blues vs Flames
ML -111 / -108
Here are tonight’s starting goaltenders, courtesy of LeftWingLock.
Blues vs Flames: The St. Louis Blues are one of many surprises already in the National Hockey League this season. With the Blues under Mike Yeo’s leadership for his first full season, they have surged to the top of the Central Division with 27 points.
They trail only the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL overall standings. That’s quite impressive considering the work done on the roster.
Brayden Schenn has been a welcome addition to the roster. The Blues traded for Schenn by giving up draft picks and Jori Lehtera, and have been rewarded for their sacrifices. He has taken the first-line center role by the horns, racking up five goals and 15 assists pulling him into a tie for second on the team in scoring. He’s also tallied five points on the man advantage.
Lately he’s dominated, scoring nine points in the last four games. He collected four assists last week against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His linemates have been flourishing as a result. Jaden Schwartz leads the team with 22 points, with Vladimir Tarasenko adding 20 more.
The top line is firing on all cylinders. But that’s not all.
Alex Pietrangelo leads all Blues defensemen with seven goals and nine assists. After scoring a career-high 14 goals last season, Pietrangelo is well on pace to eclipse that mark. He is the offensive defenseman on the team now that Kevin Shattenkirk is out of the picture.
Calgary is fighting to keep pace in the Western Conference. Helping that cause is Jaromir Jagr, who scored his first goal as a Flame on Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings. The look of relief on Jagr’s face told the entire story. This is a man who desperately wanted to stay in the National Hockey League all summer, and it took until the season was already upon us for him to finally find a home. Then, once he found that home, he immediately had to go on the injured reserve to manage a lower-body injury and get back into playing shape.
Now that he’s back, he wants to prove there’s still plenty of gas left in the tank. He has four points in seven games and is skating on Calgary’s third line with Sam Bennett and Matt Jankowski.
Jaromir Jagr won’t be the difference between the Flames being a good team and a great team, but he certainly is a valuable depth piece. Now that he’s got his first behind him, he can put narratives aside and just play hockey.
The Blues have won four of their last five overall and four of their last five in Calgary to boot. St. Louis has been hard to beat in regulation, as they are 9-2-1 in their last 12 games.
Prediction: Take the Blues to win. Play the under.
Read also: “Why I Like Hockey“
Stars vs Hurricanes: On Saturday night, the University of Miami Hurricanes embarrassed the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on the gridiron on national television, potentially locking up a playoff spot and a chance to play for the National Championship.
In Carolina, the hockey Hurricanes are not quite performing on the same level.
Many, including the pundits at SB Nation, believed the Carolina Hurricanes would be a dark horse candidate to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season. I had my doubts, and I feel validated right about now. The Canes can’t help but switch every other night between shutdown defensive team and porous mess. Since the beginning of the month, they have lost to Chicago, Colorado and yes, even the lowly Coyotes. Yet they have shut down the Florida Panthers and Columbus Blue Jackets as well.
The Canes have 16 points through 15 games, trailing the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference by four.
Do they look like a playoff team to anyone else?
Their powerplay is operating at a 12.2% success rate, which is tied for third-worst in the league. While they continue to dominate possession at evens, they are simply allowing too many high-danger chances and their opponents are converting. They are still trying to find that opportunistic gene that has eluded them for what feels like years.
Speaking of inconsistencies, let’s look at the Dallas Stars since the first of the month: 5-2 loss to Winnipeg, 5-1 win over Buffalo, 4-1 loss to Winnipeg, 5-0 win over Brooklyn.
Two things. One, seems like the Jets have the Stars’ number, I guess. Two, Dallas is having the same exact issue they were having in their last two seasons under Lindy Ruff, which is winning consecutive games.
Leading the team in scoring is defenseman John Klingberg, who has seven points in his last three games to give him 18 on the season. Also lighting the lamp has been newcomer Alexander Radulov, who is currently riding a seven-game point streak. He has five goals and nine assists so far skating alongside Jamie Benn on the top line.
Dallas will be looking to seize this opportunity at a road win. They are just 3-5-0 as the visiting team this year, but have won their last five against Metro Division opponents. Carolina is also 1-5 in their last six home games and 0-6 in their last six against Western Conference foes.
More specifically, the Stars have beaten the Hurricanes in their last six encounters and five of their last six trips to North Carolina.
Ben Bishop will be in goal for the Stars opposite Scott Darling. Bishop is 7-4 on the year, while Darling is 4-3-4.
Dallas is the team to go with in this one. Given how inconsistent both teams have been, this game is something of a wild card. In which case, the safest bet is to go with who dominates the tale of the tape.
That would be the Dallas Stars.
So yes, we are picking the team in green over the team called the Hurricanes. Hope that College Football luck doesn’t rub off on the Canes.
Prediction: Take the Stars to win. Play the over.
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