Devil of a Time Awaits Flames Against a Motivated New Jersey Team

Dana Lane

Thursday, February 8, 2018 2:36 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 2:36 PM UTC

The Devils might be a little angry when the Flames visit tonight, and that could make bettors more than a little happy if they back the home team with their NHL picks.

[/]{"component":"video", "type":"youtube", "url":"", "videoSize":"Large" }[/]Thursday NHL: Flames vs. DevilsFree NHL Pick: Devils -115Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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Sometimes I get too much into the trends or angles of teams, but I never mention another important part of handicapping -- the referees. We pay way more attention to umpire assignments in baseball than we do on who will be calling penalties in hockey. There is no better site than when it comes to listing who will be on the ice for a specific game and their statistics broken down into an easy format.

For example, when Francois St. Laurent is the referee, the "over" is 28-15. That’s an angle that has produced 65 percent winners, and his games have produced an average of 6.5 goals per game. If you’re a puck-line bettor you might want to wait until Brad Meier is involved. The favorite in Meier’s games are 28-18 (60.87 percent), producing $2,244 of profit based on a $100 wager. On the flip side, favorites in games involving Kevin Pollock are just 10-36 (21.74 percent, -3298).

Meanwhile, getting to our NHL picks for tonight, let's look at the game in New Jersey where the Devils host the Calgary Flames.

The Devils, home favorites on tonight's NHL odds board, have had some success at Prudential Center as of late, winning key divisional games against the Capitals, Flyers and Penguins. Overall they’ve won three of four, scoring 13 times while allowing one goal in two of those games. The Devils fell 5-3 to the Senators on Tuesday, a game they should not have lost. With the Devils clinging to the third spot in the Metropolitan Division, they can’t afford to allow the Flames -- who are playing their second of a six-game road trip -- to come in and grab another victory like they did Tuesday in Chicago.

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The #NJDevils met with the media following Tuesday's 5-3 loss to the Senators. #NJDvsOTT @EddieLack:
Hynes: ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️

— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) February 7, 2018

Perhaps the Senators woke up the Devils after Alex Burrows went after Taylor Hall, eventually landing a few knees to Hall’s head.

“He’s losing his mind," Hall said. "He kneed me in the back of the head at one point, too. He has a bit of a reputation for player safety stuff. I think he’s cleaned it up a lot in the recent past. But that didn’t feel great when he was rabbit-punching me there.”

Despite the final score it seemed to light a fire under the Devils, as they allowed just three shots in the third period. If I’m a part of this locker room, the dominating emotion is revenge. There is no way this team can take this without retaliation. It’s not likely they’ll see the Senators again until next season, but this has to be an angry team that will be looking for a fight and a victory.

The Flames rely too heavily on their top two lines (2.79 GPG/20th) and goalie Mike Smith (22-15-8, 2.50 GAA, .923), who is too unpredictable to feel good about backing the Flames. Smith has allowed 14 goals in his past four games. Jump on the Devils, who will put this one away easily.

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