It's New Year's Eve and we have an unsually large NHL schedule to finish out 2014. There's plenty of opportunity to profit with today's slate and I expect to do so. Follow me and my free betting picks as we prepare for 2015.
New York Rangers (19-11-4) vs. Florida Panthers (16-9-9)
Time To Start a New Streak
The New York Rangers look to reverse their fortunes after having their 8 game winning streak snapped by the Dallas Stars, 3-2. The Blueshirts face a team that they have owned and goalie, Henrik Lundvist, has played well against in the Florida Panthers. The Rangers have won 7 of their last 9 meetings with the Panthers. Not only that, Lundivst possesses a 6-2 record with a 1.62 GAA in his last 8 meetings at Florida. He has played really well at the BB&B Center and looks to close out the year with a victory.
Be aware and check on the starting goalies on any fantasy league site as it is possible that the Rangers might rest Lundvist. I'm going to assume that the King will be between the pipes, but if not, Cam Talbot is a suitable backup. Even with Talbot, the Rangers have so much momentum, that they would still have the edge in this matchup.
New York possesses one of the better offenses in the league, led by Rick Nash. Although he hasn't recorded a point in his last 2 games, Nash leads the Rangers with 23 goals and 13 assists in just 34 games this season. Nash has also played Florida well, scoring 7 points in his last 6 games against the Panthers.
While the Rangers have been red hot, the Panthers have also played well, going 5-1-2 in their last games. Florida is a very aggressive team led by centerman, Nick Bjugstad. Bjugstad leads the Panthers in goals and assists, but hadn't been playing well until his last 2 games in which he has gotten back on track. This is a team that averages nearly 32 shots on goal and could give the Rangers trouble if Cam Talbot is indeed in net.
The Panthers appear to be starting goalie Roberto Luongo in net. If history repeats itself, Florida could be in for a long night as Luongo has only managed to stop 22 out of his last 29 shots against the Rangers and had to be lifted.
I'm not in love with these odds considering that Florida is a very good team and on home ice, but I'll still make New York my NHL pick.
NHL Pick- Rangers-140 at 5 Dimes
Edmonton Oilers (8-22-7) vs. Calgary Flames (20-15-3)
Calgary has turned their season around. After being stuck in a 7-game losing streak, they have now won 3 consecutive games and with an easy matchup against Edmonton, 4 games looks like a possibility. Edmonton is just 1-7-2 in their last 10 games and an amazing 2-18-6 in their last 26 inter conference games.
Veteran, Jiri Hudler, is a player to keep an eye on in this game. He has 6 assists in his last 4 games and also had a goal and an assist in a victory over Edmonton earlier this season. Hudler leads the Flames in goals (13) and points (36).
The Oilers will likely play Ben Scrivens in net. Although he's had an atrocious season at 6-13-5 with a 3.10 GAA, Scrivens is coming off of a victory over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings in which he stopped 37 out of 39 shots. The Oilers offense will be hard-pressed to score goals as they average a mere 2.11 goals per game this season. This game appears to be an obvious cake walk for the Flames.
NHL Pick - Calgary -200 at 5Dimes