Power Plays -- hockey betting tips

Dec 2, 2008 5:03 PM

Power Plays by Kevin Stott |

last week

A sign of the times, like Rolling Stone, GamingToday is going to a smaller format starting today but that doesn’t mean we have less space to help you handicap your games – in fact in cyberspace we have unlimited room to tell you why we like a certain game and have the format to give you all the pertinent statistics and series history.

So let’s continue skating forward as thinking too much about what you’re doing can lead to hemming and hawing and there’s simply no room for procrastination in a game that moves so fast.

And serving two minutes in the penalty box for cross checking Keno Lil is one thing but a four-minute minor for a dangling participle in a hockey column? Have you lost your mind Webmaster Brounstein? Well it’s in to the sin bin sister…

Let’s look at this week’s best picks in the hard water..

Tuesday, Dec. 2

Panthers at Capitals: Washington (8-0-1) best in East at home and the way Ovechkin (29 points), Semin (27 points) and Backstrom (20 points) are scoring, this team is pretty hard to beat now. CAPITALS.

Lightning at Flyers (Versus): Coaching change hasn’t sparked Lightning (2-5-3 L10) and Philly (26 points) needs W’s to stay in the competitive Atlantic race with Rangers (34), Penguins (29) and Devils (26 points). FLYERS.

Maple Leafs at Sharks: SJ tops in NHL at home (12-0-1) and hot lately (8-1-1) and with Nabokov back between pipes after missing a week, it’s all systems go for this team still thirsting for its first drink out of the Stanley Cup. SHARKS.

Wednesday, Dec. 3

Thrashers at Senators: Three skates averaged 8.0 GPG LY and with so many scorers on ice (Kozlov, Little, Kovalchuk for Atlanta; Heatley, Alfredsson for Ottawa), it’s no wonder this series skews to the over. OVER.

Blues at Wild: Last meeting (Nov. 22) saw 0 goals in 65 minutes of regulation and OT. And with Legace (3.11 GAA) and Backstrom (2.16) dueling in crease, golas few and far between. Note Wild’s Backstrom a perfect 8-8 (100%) in shootout saves this season. UNDER.

Thursday, Dec. 4

Islanders at Capitals: Islanders picking it up (5-4-1 L10) a little but Caps virtually unbeatable (8-0-1 into Tuesday) at the Verizon Center. Can you hear me now? CAPITALS.

Blue Jackets at Sharks: Columbus 0-2 in Shark Tank LY, losing both meetings by one goal. Respect Columbus’s new offensive look with Nash (19 points) and Brassard (19) but this San Jose team is loaded and playing at peak level now, a lot like 2007-08. SHARKS.

Friday, Dec. 5

Grand Salami: First two games (Canucks-Wild, Flames-Blues) pull day’s total down. Expect less than 21 goals as Stars-Avs and Oilers-Kings should be tight skates. UNDER.

Saturday, Dec. 6

Flyers at Hurricanes: Philly weathered Hurricanes Nov. 25 (3-1) and surprisingly better on the road (6-2-3) so far than in the City of Brotherly Love (5-4-1). Carolina extremely average everywhere (6-6-0 home, 5-4-2 road). FLYERS.

Bruins at Panthers: B’s (9-1-1 L11) hottest team on ice now led by center Marc Savard (8 goals, 20 assists, 28 points, tied No. 4 in NHL) while Florida simply having trouble scoring (49 goals, 2nd-lowest in Eastern Conference {TB, 48}). BRUINS.

Oilers at Sharks: Edmonton is the type of team to beat SJ but tonight? In the Shark Tank? And seriously, do the Oilers ever play at Rexall Place (7 home games, 14 road to date)? SHARKS.

Sunday, Dec. 7

Capitals at Hurricanes: It’s D-Day for Carolina as the upstart Capitals try to create some space between themselves (No.1) and Carolina (No. 2) in the Southeast Division.

Jose Theodore (7-4-1, 3.24 GAA) and Brent Johnson (5-3-2, 2.79) doing just enough in Caps crease to protect home ice, land atop Southeast standings (12-7-3) in early going. CAPITALS.

Coyotes at Blackhawks: Phoenix not rising from the ashes (3-6-2 L11), appears to be heading to ashes under coach Gretzky the way they have started (9-10-2) while Chicago has been dominant in regulation time at Windy City’s United Center (6-1-4). Blackhawks tough to beat at home on Sunday night’s with rowdy crowds’ stomach’s acting as temporary kegs for Old Style and Budweiser. BLACKHAWKS.

Monday, Dec. 8

Lightning at Bruins: No Bobby Orr? No worries. Boston 7-1 on home ice and the surprise team in the National Hockey League so far. B’s have also been berry, berry good to the bettors. Mike Smith (2.31) doing his part between the pipes but where has all the scoring gone (NHL-low 48 goals, 2.29 GPG)? And with Lecavalier, Prospal and St. Louis on roster, there’s simply no excuse… BRUINS.

Sabres at Penguins: Buffalo not winning of late (3-6-1) and Crosby (28 points), Malkin (NHL-high 35 points) and Staal just too much offensive firepower in The Igloo for the swordsmen who have actually given up more goals (63) to date than they have scored (59). PENGUINS.