Swinger's 2014 NHL Playoff Record (21-22-1, -2.70 units)
I use the term “kissing my sister” whenever I split for the night and win or lose little or no units for my efforts. It’s a sweet, loving peck on the cheek versus a full-on tonsil exploration. But if I kiss my sister any more often in this NHL postseason, I will have to seek counseling because last time she tried to slip me the tongue. Alas, it was another 1-1 kind of evening on Monday night in my NHL picks as we flamed hard with the road favorites from Boston as they dropped a 4-0 decision. However, we recouped in the late game when the Ducks edged the Kings 3-2. So, we split the games but lost thirty cents in juice. We are still slightly behind the eight-ball but are determined to finish this playoff season in the black with a few bucks to add to our bankroll. Let’s see what we can do tonight and it better be a sweep as my sister is making me increasingly uncomfortable.
Rangers vs. Penguins
If you’re an objective observer of this series with no ties to either club (which is exactly what you should be in all of your NHL picks) then the Rangers are probably pulling at your heartstrings more than the talent laden Penguins. New York is a gritty, determined group who got a big contribution from Martin St. Louis in their meeting with Pittsburgh on Sunday night; he boarded a plane after being informed of his mother’s passing and delivered the opening goal in what was ultimately a 3-1 victory for the Blueshirts. Currently offshore bookmakers are dealing the Penguins as -165 home chalk in NHL odds but we see this a bit differently. I have shouted from the mountaintops my incredulity at the Penguins maintaining the status quo and keeping a historically shaky postseason goaltender in Marc-Andre Fleury to lead them to the Promised Land. And it has come to pass that Fleury, though capable of flashes of brilliance as is any bone fide NHL netminder, was unable to corral the puck among the chaos reigning around his crease which led to two of the Rangers goals on Sunday night. The third was another softie courtesy of a backhander from twenty-feet. His erratic play seems to suck the life out of the fleet-footed Penguins which coaxes me to cast my lot with the superior goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist and a team of determined Rangers with momentum on their side after winning the last two games.
NHL Picks: New York Rangers +145 at WilliamHill.co
Blackhawks vs. Wild
The home team has won the last eight meetings between these two clubs dating back to December 5th when the Wild defeated the Hawks 4-3 at the Xcel Center. But Minnesota plays a tight defense and sort of steamrolls their way towards the opposing net and flails away until the puck finds its way to the back of the net. But in their last game on Sunday night, Chicago won 2-1 at home in exactly that fashion. They outmuscled the Wild and netted some ugly goals that manifested in their 3-2 series lead. Eventually streaks are broken and when the more talented team can beat the more physical team at their own game, with a stellar effort from their All-Star goaltender, then things are likely to change. I see them changing tonight as the Hawks fly into Minnesota determined to close out the series and prevent the home crowd from going wild (see what I did there?).
NHL Picks: Chicago Blackhawks -120 at Bet365.com.