Daily NHL Picks: Elite Ice Plays Offer Value on Tonight's Short Slate

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 3:12 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015 3:12 PM UTC

With only four games on the docket from sportsbooks, we return to the process of elimination process for three NHL picks against the Hump Day betting odds in the ice hockey rinks.

Yesterday turned out nearly as good as I hoped at 3-1, but it did not come easy, needing three come from behind efforts to secure victory. Though I passed on the game, big win for Minnesota at Chicago last night which came on the heels of Ryan Suter calling out his coach Mike Yeo about defensive pairings. The coach listened and made adjustments and Suter scored winning goal.

Here are my NHL picks for today with lines from Heritage


Battle in the Big Apple
For veteran New York Rangers players, making the trip to Brooklyn to face the New York Islanders has to be very peculiar. The Islanders played 33 years at the Nassau Coliseum and these teams will renew their rivalry.

The visiting Rangers (17-8 SU) ended their ugly three-game losing streak with victory over Carolina. It was not feel good win as they had to hold on for triumph at 4-3, after building a 4-1 lead. The Blueshirts will enter this contest without two key performers, center Derek Stepan (4 to 6 six weeks, broken ribs) and defensemen Kevin Klein (2 to 3 weeks, strained abdominal muscle). This puts a strain on one the Rangers key elements, its depth, which explains why they are 13-3 in road games when playing six or more games in 10 days the last three seasons.

The Islanders (13-12 SU) have not shown much consistency all season, but believe they are finally playing the brand of hockey they want in recent 3-0-1 stretch. The team from Brooklyn prefers to attack and be the aggressor, but has to make certain they are still strong on the back end if they are to succeed.

My heart says the home team at -120, but with the Rangers 32-16-2 playing at the Isles, my head says back the better club with the numbers to support it.

NHL Pick: Rangers +115 at Pinnacle

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Boston Opens Road Trip in Fine Fashion
After a 2-5 start to the season, Boston (13-9 SU) is moving up in the standings in the Atlantic Division with five straight wins. The Bruins look to continue their excellent play on the opening conflict of a three-game trip in western Canada.

Boston dreary start had nothing to do with offense, as they have ample firepower, ranked third in scoring at 3.27 goals a game and having the league's best power play with conversion rate of 32.4 percent. Where the B's are improving is the other end of the ice, surrendering 10 goals during win streak, with defensemen playing better angles and taking away rushes and Tuukka Rask starting to regain his confidence and playing like top end goaltender again.

The NHL odds have the Bruins as -135 road favorites against an Edmonton (8-17 SU) squad that has four wins in last 17 outings. With Rask at 1.87 goals against in last five starts versus the Oilers and Boston 8-2 on the road, this hockey handicapper prefers the away club.

NHL Pick: Bruins -135 at 5Dimes

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Tampa Bay's Defense Engineers Victory
This was not how Tampa Bay and Anaheim were expected to be playing as we approach the one-third point of the regular season. The Lightning were in the Stanley Cup Finals last season and the Ducks (9-16) lost in Game 7 of Western Finals to Chicago.

Though each has different offense style, neither has worked to this point. Tampa Bay (11-14 SU) likes to go up and down the ice to apply pressure, but they are skating like they are in a inch of water on the ice, listed 24th in scoring and 23rd in shot attempts. Anaheim's style is more physical and dependent on their centers to start offense and that has not happened for the 29th ranked scoring team.

With few positives for either club, Tampa Bay's netminder Ben Bishop is 5-0-1 with a 1.04 goals against average against the Ducks, with top scorer Steven Stamkos having seven goals and 12 points in seven contests with Anaheim. The Lightning are +110 road underdogs and as long as they avoid OT, they should be good, with six straight regulation victories over the Ducks and four OT defeats.

NHL Pick: Lightning +112 at BetOnline

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