The Maple Leafs and Red Wings will engage in the 2014 Winter Classic in an outdoor game with freezing temperatures. The Big House is expected to see temperatures of 16 Fahrenheit (-9 Celsius) and that’s not even factoring wind chill.
The Red Wings are getting healthy as Henrik Zetterberg and Jimmy Howard have both returned from month-long injuries. The team is also expected to have Daniel Alfredsson back on Wednesday. They are still without Stephen Weiss and Jonathan Ericsson. When healthy, this team can compete for a Stanley Cup but it’s been a while since they’ve had all of their assets in the lineup. However, they’re still not quite 100% and they’ve been in a miserable slump. They’ve dropped eight of 11 heading into Wednesday’s game.
As for the Leafs, they have a bit of momentum on their side as they’ve won two straight and are 3-0-2 in their last five. One of those losses was to Detroit on December 21st. The good news is the Leafs are 5-0 this season when revenging a loss to an opponent. I’ll add them to my NHL picks and take them as a road dog here.
Pick: Maple Leafs +110 at Bovada
Although both teams were hot going into the Christmas break, the Lightning have lost two straight coming out of it while the Canucks are fresh off a disappointing 4-3 home loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Canucks cost their backers -140 on the NHL odds in that loss on Monday but are now laying more juice against a Lightning team that’s far higher in the standings than Philadelphia.
This is a very even matchup as both teams rank in the top-seven in goals allowed this season. The Lightning are third thanks to the stellar play of Ben Bishop, who has won six of his last eight starts while posting a 1.56 GAA. As for the Canucks, they rank seventh in the category.
Picking a side is a bit tricky in this game as it’s more of a toss-up than you might think. The Lightning have won three straight on the road while the Canucks are just 11-9 at home this season. However, under appears to be the smartest play for your NHL picks as both teams are stocked with quality goaltenders and good defense. We’re faced with a small number but the under is 3-1 when the Lightning are on the road with a total of five and 5-1 for the Canucks after allowing four or more goals in their previous game.
Pick: Under 5 at BetOnline