With several teams on the Sunday schedule having played on Saturday, the sportsbooks betting odds came a little slower on Sunday morning, thus we take flight without a net on some of these.
Having done this long enough, you can anticipate what the NHL odds might be and make strong educated approximations and end up close enough to still make sports picks on the ice. Here is what I have for today as we turn the calendar and many of you got an extra hour of sleep.
Carolina Adds to Tampa Bay's Woes
Carolina has lost nine of 11 to the current Eastern Conference champions Tampa Bay, but at least from confidence perspective should be feeling pretty upbeat about this early evening affair. The Hurricanes (5-6) are on a three-game winning streak and have not won four in a row in almost 51 weeks. This is an important period for Carolina after their 3-2 victory over Colorado on Friday, as they are playing eight of nine at PNC Arena, with this second of those contests. Since losing 5-2 at San Jose, the Hurricanes defense has really stepped up, surrendering only five goals during the winning streak.
The Lightning (5-5-2) are learning what it means to be the hunted as the conference champions and thus far it has not been a good experience. Tampa Bay has lost four consecutive times, as its offense has been like nearly as invisible like a small puddle on the ice with two goals scored. They scored only once each in home losses to Colorado and Boston and next have to play eight of 10 away from home.
Both teams are is difficult scheduling situations, but for these NHL picks, with Tampa Bay 0-7 after scoring two or less times, this hockey handicapper will not buck that angle.
NHL Free Pick: Carolina Hurricanes +105 at 5Dimes
Montreal Stays Unbeaten at Home
The Canadiens lost two of three on the road, there first defeats of the season, but return home after using their superior speed in clobbering Calgary 6-2. Montreal (10-2) is second in the league in scoring at 3.75 goals a game and have yet to lose on home ice at 4-0.
Montreal has Winnipeg (7-3-1) at the Bell Centre and the Jets have won three of four, including their past two. The Friday victory at Columbus was important to get the beginning of the four-game road trip off to a good start. The Jets scored three times in the first period in southern Ohio, which has been a rarity, as in eight other contests they have allowed the opposing team to score first, yet still managed win five of those tilts.
If Winnipeg does the same against Montreal, they might build a hole they cannot climb out of, with this their third game in four days. The Jets are 6-16 after scoring three goals or more in two straight contests and cannot afford to take penalties with Montreal having scored six times in last 14 power play chances. Hertitagesports.eu opened the Canadiens at -180 on the money line and with them 17-4 after a win by three goals or more, have to like their chances.
NHL Free Pick: Montreal Canadiens (-185) at The Greek
Islanders Pick the Pieces After Two Tough Losses
After winning six of seven, the New York Islanders (6-2-3) could not hold a one goal lead against Carolina at home and lost in OT to Carolina on Thursday and yesterday afternoon dropped a shootout in OT at New Jersey. The inability to score in the third period has been the killer and yesterday they were without captain John Tavares, who was sent home before yesterday's affair with unexplained illness, and it seems just over a one day turnaround is not going to cure what ills him.
Buffalo (4-7) needs to come into this clash thinking defense, with the Islanders 5th in the NHL in scoring and the Sabres 25th in goals allowed. Buffalo would also seem to avoid penalty situations both good and bad. Though the Sabres have the ninth-best power play, the Iles are the best as penalty-killers at 92.3 percent. And if New York has the extra attacker, the Islanders are second in the league in conversions, while Buffalo is 29 out of 30 trying to stop opposing teams power play.
With Buffalo 10-43 SU in past 53 away outings, have to go with the chalky favorites from New York.
NHL Free Pick: New York Islanders (-210) at BetOnline