There are but two games on tap tonight. The Rangers are in Columbus taking on the Blue Jackets. Buffalo visits the Detroit Red Wings. Let’s have a look at our NHL daily predictions.
|Rangers vs Blue Jackets
ML +125 / -145
|Sabres vs Red Wings
ML Off / Off
Here are tonight’s starting goaltenders, courtesy of LeftWingLock.
Rangers vs Blue Jackets: The New York Rangers’ extensive winning streak came to a screeching halt Wednesday night on NBC Sports as their matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks got out of hand in a hurry.
Things looked promising at the start. The Rangers found the back of the net first, with their top line doing some damage. Mika Zibanejad buried his team leading ninth goal of the season with assists from linemates Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich Henrik Lundqvist looked remarkably sharp. New York was outshooting the home team 11-9.
Momentum began to swing in Chicago’s favor in the second period. At one point, shots were 11-3. The Rangers were sloppy on the puck in their own zone and took a pair of penalties in the second half of the frame to effectively kill their mojo. The kills were successful, but the ice was tilted.
With less than a minute to go in the period, Alex DeBrincat flung a puck at the net that Henrik Lundqvist believes he has control of. Unbeknownst to him, the disc squirts out from his pads, spins its way through the blue paint and eventually crosses the blueline.
The Hawks finally break through on their 16th shot of the period and it was by far their worst one.
From there, the flood gates were open. The Rangers’ defense completely collapsed, Ryan McDonagh, Nick Holden, Steven Kampfer and Marc Staal were repeatedly beaten like drums and within five minutes of the third period, the Blackhawks were up 4-1. The Rangers yanked Lundqvist.
Though the team would get their you-know-what together after Lundqvist took a seat on the bench, the Rangers eventually wound up on the losing side 5-3.
Artem Anisimov finished with a hat trick all in the third period. Rick Nash, who has scored more against the Blackhawks than any other team in his NHL career, had a goal and an assist to bring the Rangers back from the dead late.
How infuriated are you if you’re Henrik Lundqvist? Yes, standing on his head and getting no goal support is absolutely nothing new for this guy. It’s been the 12-year norm. But then he had to watch as his benching served as the wake-up call for his team, they came roaring back, and then what happened?
His backup Ondrej Palat gets beat on the rush because he sat too far back in his crease rather than challenging the shooter. A kind of mistake a cold goaltender makes against one of the most skilled teams in the NHL.
You feel for Lundqvist, who stopped 24 of 25 shots through 40 minutes. Things just got out of hand very quickly.
Now New York has to turn their attention to a game in Columbus, Ohio.
This will be the third meeting this season between the Rangers and Blue Jackets and the second one in Columbus. In their first encounter this season played in Ohio- and stop me if you’ve heard this before- the Rangers got on the board first and looked solid through 40 minutes but got obliterated by shots in the final period and eventually could not score enough for their goaltender.
Lundqvist stopped 40 of 42 shots and still lost 3-1. No wonder his beard is getting so grey.
Their second game two weeks ago was a 5-3 Rangers win in Madison Square Garden.
One guy sure to be up for the game tonight: Cam Atkinson, who just signed a massive extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets last night. Atkinson, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, inked a seven-year contract worth $5.75 million per year.
While the term of the contract is hefty to say the least for a player who is already 28-years-old, the price tag is fairly reasonable. Atkinson is a goal-scoring stud, and $5.75 million is not even the most on the Columbus Blue Jackets’ roster. In fact, he is third, behind Brandon Dubinsky ($5.85 million) and Artemi Panarin ($6 million).
I’m genuinely impressed. There just isn’t the sense of one-upsmanship in hockey contract negotiations that there seems to be in other sports. The hard cap helps that, but even still. Cam could have easily gotten $6 million on the open market. Maybe not seven years, but still.
Atkinson has four goals and two assists through 15 games. Maybe this is the kind of confidence booster he needs to really get going.
It has taken extra time for the Blue Jackets to beat the Detroit Red Wings and Charlie Lindgren’s Montreal Canadiens. Offense is coming at a premium.
On November 18th, 2016, the Rangers went into Columbus having won eight of their last nine. The Jackets beat them 4-2.
This year, the Rangers have won six of their last seven and are heading into Columbus on November 17th.
History has a habit of repeating itself. I expect the Jackets offense to wake up a bit tonight. Plus, Artemi Panarin has two goals already in two games against the Rangers.
Friday also seems to be an off day for the Rangers, as they have lost their last six games at the end of the week. Go figure. Guess New Yorkers are just always working for the weekend, eh?
Prediction: Take the Blue Jackets to win. Play the over.
Other NHL Daily Predictions
Sabres vs Red Wings: The under is the go-to play here. The Wings have had the under hit in their last four games against Atlantic Division rivals and their last five against Eastern Conference foes overall.
Their offense typically runs dry after big nights as well. They may have put up an eight-spot on the Calgary Flames Wednesday night, but they are winless in their last four games after scoring five goals or more.
The Wings are 1-7 in their last eight on only one day of rest.
Buffalo’s offensive woes are well documented. They have only 44 goals this season as a team, second-worst in the National Hockey League.
The under is 5-1-1 in the last seven encounters between these two teams. Their first game against each other this season ended 1-0 in Buffalo’s favor. As a matter of fact, nine of the last 10 matchups against these two teams have been decided by only one goal. The one exception was a 3-0 shutout.
Expecting a replication of Wednesday night’s offensive fireworks in Detroit is not advisable. This will be a tough, low-scoring game. One that I anticipate the home team will win.
Prediction: Take the Red Wings to win. Play the under.
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