cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
On 10/06/2011 05:48 PM in NHL

Cnotes Thursday's NHL Best Bets !

Boston Bruins Begin Cup Defense Against Flyers

The 2011-2012 NHL regular season gets underway on Thursday with a trio of games, including the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins hosting the Philadelphia Flyers in a playoff rematch.

The Eastern Conference rivals have bounced each other from the postseason each of the last two years, with the Bruins sweeping the Flyers in four games en route to winning the league title in June one season after blowing a 3-0 series lead and losing to them in seven games. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (ET) with television coverage provided by VERSUS.

Boston became the second consecutive “Original Six” team to win the Stanley Cup, following the Chicago Blackhawks, who beat Philadelphia in six games two seasons ago. The Bruins rode the hot goaltending of Tim Thomas, who was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs after setting an NHL record by allowing just eight goals in a seven-game series victory against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Bruins have the second-highest point total in the Eastern Conference at 104 ½ and are 9/1 to repeat as league champs. They earned 103 points last year, which was good for third in the East behind the Washington Capitals (107) and Philadelphia (106).

The Canucks ultimately fell short of winning their first-ever NHL title with goalie Roberto Luongo taking much of the criticism for getting shelled in the three games in Boston. Still, Luongo’s Vancouver team is the 6/1 favorite to hoist the Cup next June according to the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook.

The Canucks also have the second-highest point total on the board at 107 ½. They will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday at 10:00 p.m. sans superstar Sidney Crosby, who remains out due to post-concussion syndrome.

Vancouver won the Presidents’ Trophy last year with an NHL-high 117 points, and the team’s top challengers in the West figure to be the Blackhawks (12/1 to win the Cup), San Jose Sharks (10/1) and Detroit Red Wings (10/1). Chicago should be stronger this year after barely getting into the playoffs as the eighth and final seed. The Blackhawks have the second-highest point total at 105 ½ and took the Canucks to seven games in their first-round playoff matchup last year.

They open their season when they visit the Dallas Stars on Friday at 8:30 p.m.

The Capitals have the highest point total at 108 ½ but have underachieved the last two seasons in the playoffs. The Capitals are 8/1 to win the Stanley Cup after getting swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference semifinals last year as the top seed. They had won the Presidents’ Trophy for earning the best overall record during the regular season the previous year and were upset in the first round.

Washington does not start this season until Saturday when the team hosts the Carolina Hurricanes at 7:00 p.m. among a nearly full slate of 13 games.

Like the Canucks and Capitals, the Sharks are also chasing their first championship and have underachieved recently. San Jose’s point total is 103 ½ after finishing second in the West last year and first the previous season.

The Sharks have made it to the Western Conference Finals each of the last two years but have won just one of eight games there after knocking out the Red Wings in the previous round both times. They host the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday at 10:30 p.m.

Detroit’s point total is 102 ½ along with the Los Angeles Kings, who might be the top sleeper pick at 12/1. The Kings have a young team and were without leading scorer Anze Kopitar in the playoffs last year.

They made a deal with the Flyers for center Mike Richards in the offseason and recently re-signed star defenseman Drew Doughty to an eight-year deal worth $56 million. Los Angeles and the New York Rangers are in Sweden on Friday at 1:00 p.m., and that game will also be televised on VERSUS.

Philly (15/1) is hoping to replace some of the production of Richards with former MVP Jaromir Jagr, who inked a one-year contract for $3.3 million after spending three years in the KHL.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
10/06/2011 05:53 PM

Eastern Conference - O/U Picks

October 6, 2011

Western Conference

The puck drops this week for the 2011-12 NHL season! But before the fun begins, a quick update on how the season is shaping up, and selected predictions on the best “over/under” season points totals posted at various sports books in Las Vegas.

Let the division-by-division preview commence. Posted point totals ( ) being offered in Las Vegas for the season are included ...



ATLANTIC DIVISION

Pittsburgh Penguins (103 ½)...We still have to see about Sidney Crosby’s return from concussion symptoms, although most suspect he’ll be back at full speed by November. The Pens totaled 106 points without Crosby for the final four months of last season, and his return gives Pittsburgh the best trio of centers in the league along with Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal. The defense, led by Brroks Orpik, is robust, and Marc Andre-Fleury is an MVP candidate in goal. Granted, power play numbers were abysmal last season, but just having a healthier Malkin (who enjoyed a great preseason) and Crosby’s projected return to the lineup should alleviate those concerns. “Over” at the new igloo.

Philadelphia Flyers (98 ½)...The NHL’s wild card team this season after GM Paul Holmgren blew up the roster in the wake of the humbling Stanley Cup playoff sweep administered by eventual Cup winner Boston. Adding GK Ilya Bryzgalov from Phoenix gives the Flyers their first top-line goalie since the days of Ron Hextall, but coach Peter Laviolette has to replace the 59 goals from Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, both traded in the offseason. “Under” at Wells Fargo Center.

New York Rangers (94 ½)...Adding Brad Richards from Dallas finally gives the Rangers a true first-line center and perhaps the key to unlocking linemate Marian Gaborik’s talents on the wing. If Richards proves the upgrades expected of him, and coach John Tortorella gets another big year from GK Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers should get back to the playoffs. “Over” at MSG.

New Jersey Devils (90 ½)...The Devils dug themselves too deep a hole last season before New Year's, although they made an admirable run during the second half of the campaign. Veteran coach Jacques Lemaire has stepped down, however, with ex-Florida coach Pete DeBoer now in charge. Getting a healthy Zach Parise back on the wing should be a bonus, and Ilya Kovalchuk is a special talent, but the absence of C Travis Zajac (Achilles tendon) for at least a month is a negative. Getting one more big season from GK Martin Brodeur (who turns 40 in May) will be necessary to return to the playoffs. No call at the Pru Center.

New York Islanders (81 ½)...Hard as it is for those of us who recall the Trottier-Bossy Cup winners of the ‘80s, this is a franchise in trouble, with an aging arena on the island and no plans for facility upgrades anytime soon. Could the Islanders relocate to Kansas City, or somewhere in Ontario far enough away from the Maple Leafs’ protected territory? On the ice, young talent seem to coagulate as last season progressed for coach Jack Capuano, but lack of depth and keeping GK Rick DiPietro healthy are significant concerns. No call at Nassau Coliseum.

NORTHEAST DIVISION

Boston Bruins (102 ½)...There’s a big difference between the Bruins and their Cup-winning predecessors from Chicago, as unlike the Blackhawks a year ago, Boston returns mostly the same lineup from its title team. The Bruins still don’t have a major goal scorer, and could use an upgrade with a defenseman who can get the puck up the ice (the departed Tomas Kaberle wasn’t a consistent answer last year), but they have depth and Tim Thomas in goal. A threat to go back-to-back, although they might not take flight until after the All-Star break. No call at TD Garden.

Buffalo Sabres (98 ½)... The Sabres are spending money like a hockey version of the New York Yankees, adding high-priced defensemen Robyn Regehr and Christian Ehrhoff, plus forwards Ville Leino and Ales Kotalik to what is now the NHL’s highest payroll (really!). The heart-and-soul of the team remains GK Ryan Miller, in the prime of his career at 31 years of age, and memories of early Cup exits the past two seasons should spur Buffalo onward. “Over” at HSBC Arena.

Montreal Canadiens (92 ½)... They’ve had an entire offseason to stew about blowing a 2-0 lead (and a pair of road wins) in the opening round of the playoffs last spring to the Bruins. The Habs are still built on defense, and any upgrades to an offense that blew hot-and-cold last season would help (C Scott Gomez is on alert after posting his worst numbers in years last season). Look for second-year defenseman P.K. Subban to emerge as one of the new stars of the league, and GK Carey Price remains a workhorse. “Over” at Molson Centre.

Toronto Maple Leafs (89 ½)...It’s going to be 45 years at the least between Cup wins for the Leafs unless they pull the impossible this season. But no Johnny Bower, Dave Keon, or Red Kelly are on hand in 2011-12, and under-the-gun coach Ron Wilson is still trying to cobble together a couple of productive lines; perhaps adding center Tim Connolly will alleviate some of those concerns. Or maybe it won’t. “Under” at Air Canada Centre.

Ottawa Senators (74 ½)...The bar hasn’t been set too high for the Sens, but one of the league’s most impotent attacks (only 192 goals, second worst in the league) doesn’t appear to have been appreciably upgraded. Lots of pressure on GK Craig Anderson to keep Ottawa afloat. No call at Scotiabank Place.

SOUTHEAST DIVISION

Washington Capitals (107 ½)...The Caps have had all offseason to brood about their shock playoff ouster at the hands of the Lightning, which has put coach Bruce Boudreau under the gun. GM George McPhee decided to add some veteran leadership to the clubhouse (wingers Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer, former Caps captain Jeff Halpern, GK Tomas Vokoun, and a few others) in order to upgrade the chemistry. With all of the existing firepower on hand led by Alex Ovechkin, the sky is the limit in D.C. “Over” at Verizon Center.

Tampa Bay Lightning (98 ½)...No pun intended, but Tampa Bay really did catch lightning in a bottle in the playoffs, getting yeoman’s work from over-40 GK Dwayne Roloson and confounding the opposition with coach Guy Boucher’s unique “zone trap” system. We suspect, however, that the Lightning might miss departed winger Sean Bergenheim, who was a revelation in last year’s playoffs. This team could still be dangerous come Cup time. “Under” at St. Pete Times Forum.

Carolina Hurricanes (83 ½)...They aren’t asking the Hurricanes to do much to clear that number, which should be in reach for any team with a potential dominator such as Cam Ward in goal. But too many defensive breakdowns like a year ago could scuttle any playoff talk in Raleigh-Durham. No call at RBC Center.

Winnipeg Jets (85 ½)...The relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers and a rebirth of Winnipeg Jets II has all of Manitoba atwitter, but it also makes for an awkward scheduling year for the Jets (Winnipeg, in the Southeast?). Winnipeg will have a real home-ice edge at the MTS Centre, and GK Ondrej Pavelec looks like a star in the making, but lack of depth on the attack lines and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien’s recent off-ice problems are concerns. No call at MTS Centre.

Florida Panthers (83 ½)...GM Dale Tallon went into full rebuild mode in the offseason and might have delivered upgrades to a franchise that hasn’t seen the playoffs in ten years. But questions in goal with Jose Theodore being the main option have us wondering how much the Panthers can improve upon last year’s mere 72 points. “Under” at National Car Center.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
10/06/2011 05:54 PM

Western Conference - O/U Picks

October 6, 2011

Eastern Conference

The puck drops this week for the 2011-12 NHL season! But before the fun begins, a quick update on how the season is shaping up, and selected predictions on the best “over/under” season points totals posted at various sports books in Las Vegas.

Let the division-by-division preview commence. Posted point totals ( ) being offered in Las Vegas for the season are included ...

CENTRAL DIVISION



Chicago Blackhawks (102 ½)...The Hawks lost an awful lot from their Cup-winning side of 2009-2010, so last year’s backslide was not totally unexpected. But after a year of retooling, expect another run at the Cup this season, with the additions of winger Michael Frolik from the Panthers and rugged defender Steve Montador from the Sabres looking like useful upgrades to go along with the veteran core of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Only concerns are in goal, where second-year Corey Crawford must prove his encouraging rookie season was no fluke. “Over” at United Center.

Detroit Red Wings (104 ½)... How long can the veteran core continue to keep the Wings afloat? Twenty straight playoff appearances speak to the consistent excellence of the franchise, but the desperation which the club used to coax 41-year-old defender Niklas Lidstrom to put off retirement for one more year suggest some concerns. The lines paced by Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zettterberg remain potent enough to get the Wings back to the playoffs, and young wing Justin Abdelkader is a star on the rise, but not sure Detroit is a top-shelf Cup contender this year unless Jimmy Howard steps it up in goal. “Under” at Joe Louis Arena.

Nashville Predators (92 ½)...Slow and steady, the Mitt Romneys of the NHL, the Preds enter 2011-12 off of their first-ever playoff success (beat Anaheim in 6 games in last spring’s first round). Stability reflected in the fact that GM David Poile and coach Barry "The Vampire" Trotz have held those positions since the franchise was formed, and there is now real star power at Preds game with Carrie Underwood a regular spectator to watch hubby Mike Fisher score goals. Defenseman Ryan Suter and Shea Ward are among the league’s best, and any team with giant Pekka Rinne in goal is going to be tough. The Trotz system that mucks up action at center ice will frustrate enough foes to get Nashville back to the postseason. “Over” at Bridgestone Arena.

St. Louis Blues (91 ½)...Can it be more than 40 years since the Plagers, Glenn Hall, Jacques Plante, and Red Berenson made the Blues the rage of the first wave of expansion teams in the late ‘60s? Another sale of the franchise casts more questions upon the operation, but winger Chris Stewart showed lots of upside after being acquired from Colorado midway last season. Still, better work is needed from GK Jaroslav Halak to get the Blues back to the playoffs and perhaps save the job of coach Davis Payne. No call at Scottrade Center.

Columbus Blue Jackets (85 ½)...They’ve never had much of a power play in Columbus since the Blue Jackets were formed n 2000, but there’s hope that offseason addition center Jeff Carter can perhaps alleviate some of those woes. Adding defender James Wisniewski and winger Vinny Prospal look to be other useful upgrades, but we still have big questions about GK Steve Mason. No call at Nationwide Arena.

NORTHWEST DIVISION



Vancouver Canucks (106 ½)...It was kind of a traumatic way to end last season, first collapsing in the Cup finals vs. Boston, losing Game Seven at home after blowing a 2-0 series lead, then watching your city go up in flames after the humiliation on the ice. Unnerving to say the least. The Canucks were still the best NHL team for much of last year and retain much of the nucleus that got the franchise to the Finals for the first time since 1994. The core of that bunch, led by the Sedin twins, remains, so don’t expect much dropoff. No call at GM Place.

Calgary Flames (90 ½)...After Christmas, the Flames were one of the league’s best teams last season (27-11-9), although they were wretched the first two-plus months of the campaign. There is enough firepower at coach Brent Sutter’s disposal, especially if veteran Jarome Iginla rediscovers his best goal-scoring form, but not sure the Flames can play the type of defense Sutter demands. Expected quality and depth in goal with Miikka Kiprusoff and Henrik Karlsson makes Calgary a team to watch. “Over” at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Minnesota Wild (82 ½)... GM Chuck Fletcher didn’t sit on his hands in the offseason, jettisoning coach Todd Richards and promoting coach Mike Yeo from minor league affiliate Houston. Then he made a couple of bold personnel moves, adding sniper Devin Setoguchui and former 50-goal scorer Dany Heatley from the Sharks to inject some life into a pedestrian offense. If the changes work, the Wild can exceed last year’s 86 points. “Over” at St. Paul’s Xcel Center.

Edmonton Oilers (77 ½)...Perhaps this will be the year the rebuild process in Edmonton begins to deliver some results; then again, maybe it won't. Youth has been complemented by some veteran skill (Eric Belanger to help the worst face-off team in the NHL) and toughness (Danny Hordichuk and Ben Eager). But unless GK Nikolai Khabibuiln rebounds in a big way from a disappointing 2010-11, hard to see the Oilers improving more than 15 points from last year’s league-worst total of 62. “Under” at Rexall Place.

Colorado Avalanche (75 ½)... After allowing an NHL-high 288 goals last term, GM Greg Sherman knew where the Avs needed upgrades--defense and goaltending. So he went about seeking to improve both areas in the offseason. Size was added on the blue line with Jan Hejda and Shane O’Brien, while former Ducks star Jean-Sebastian Giguere is the new number one keeper. If the upgrades deliver, the Avs could be better than expected. “Over” at Pepsi Center.

PACIFIC DIVISION



San Jose Sharks (103 ½)...Tired of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals doorstep, only to continually be turned away, Sharks GM Doug Wilson tweaked the formula in the offseason, sending out Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley, adding a rugged defender in Brett Burns and perhaps an upgrade over Heatley on the wing in Martin Havlat. The clock is ticking, however, on forwards Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, and defender Dan Boyle, all on the other side of 30. “Over” at HP Pavilion.

Los Angeles Kings (102 ½)...This might be the year GM Dean Lombardi’s well-constructed rebuild plans finally come to fruition. Getting star defender Drew Doughty to end his contact squabbles was a big plus, but keeping center Anze Kopitar and wings Justin Williams and newly-added Simon Gagne healthy for the long haul are question marks. At least GK Jonathan Quick looks like the Kings’ best netminder since Rogie Vachon, or Kelly Hrudey for those partial to the Gretzky years. No call at Staples Center.

Anaheim Ducks (95 ½)...Plenty of firepower at coach Randy Carlyle’s disposal with Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaff, and Bobby Ryan forming one of the most-potent lines in the league. But not sure about GK Jonas Hiller and his worrisome vertigo systems that could force backup Dan Ellis into first-string status at any time. No call at Honda Center.

Phoenix Coyotes (87 ½)...Thanks to the city of Glendale stepping in to bail out the team on a short-term basis, it was Atlanta, and not Phoenix, that moved to Winnipeg in the offseason. Given a reprieve in the desert, the Coyotes still don’t have much money to spend upon reinforcements, and watching GK Ilya Bryzgalov leave for Philadelphia puts a big question mark in goal with ex-King Jason LaBarbera and ex-Lightning Mike Smith now manning the nets. A dropoff from last year’s 99 points looks inevitable, but we’re not sure how far. No call at Jobing.com Arena.

Dallas Stars (87 ½)...The franchise has emerged from bankruptcy with new ownership, but the loss of star center Brad Richards to the Rangers hardly helps the on-ice product. “Under” at American Airlines Center.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
10/06/2011 05:55 PM

Cup runner-up Vancouver hosts Pittsburgh Thursday

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (49-25-8, 106 points in 2010-11)

at VANCOUVER CANUCKS (54-19-9, 117 points in 2010-11)


Puck drops: Thursday, 10:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Vancouver -160, Pittsburgh +140, Total: 5.5

The second half of the opening night double-header has no shortage of star power—even though each team will be missing one of its best players.

There is still no timetable for the return of Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby, who is still experiencing concussion symptoms dating back to the Winter Classic. And the Canucks will be without Selke Trophy Winner Ryan Kesler—recovering from postseason hip surgery. The Canucks had the best home record in the NHL last season (27-9-5) and were 6-2-1 against Eastern Conference opponents at Rogers Arena. The Penguins, meanwhile, had the best record against Western Conference teams (11-4-3) of any team in the East.

In what could be a preview of the Stanley Cup Finals, this game’s about as close as it gets. Because of home ice, we give the slight edge to VANCOUVER, which looks to make up for its last home game—a Game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup Finals. But because the odds are so terrible, the better play may be on the UNDER, with two elite goaltenders and each squad missing a key offensive player.

The FoxSheets also like the Under to occur in this game:

PITTSBURGH is 49-34 UNDER (59.0%, +13.1 Units) in road games in all games over the last 2 seasons. The average score was PITTSBURGH 2.8, OPPONENT 2.5 - (Rating = 1*).

These teams usually play just once a year, and the Penguins won last year’s meeting 3-1 in Pittsburgh. But the Canucks won each game in the previous two seasons (6-2 in ’09-’10, 3-1 in ’08-’09).

Until Crosby returns, there’s no doubt that this is Evgeni Malkin’s team. The Russian center returns to the ice for the first time since suffering a torn ACL on February 4. C Jordan Staal (30 points in 42 games) gives the Pens a dynamic one-two punch up the middle. Imagine how dangerous they’ll be once Crosby returns.

The Pens still feature one of the league’s best defenses, led by Kris Letang (50 points, 167 hits) and Zbynek Michalek (149 blocked shots). Letang’s usual partner, Brooks Orpik (194 hits) will miss this game with a groin injury.

The Sedin twins—who combined for 208 points last season—will lead Vancouver’s high-octane offense. LW Daniel Sedin (104 points, 1st in NHL) won the Art Ross Trophy last season, following in brother Henrik Sedin’s (75 assists, 1st in NHL) footsteps, who won the award the year before.

Goaltender Roberto Luongo, who posted a stellar 2.11 GAA (2nd in NHL) and .928 SV Pct. (3rd in NHL), hopes to get off to another strong start following a disappointing performance in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Vezina Trophy finalist was pulled early in each of Vancouver’s first three losses in the Finals.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
10/06/2011 05:57 PM

NHL season opens with Flyers at Bruins

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (47-23-12, 106 points in 2010-11)

at BOSTON BRUINS (46-25-11, 103 points in 2010-11)


Puck drops: Thursday, 7:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Boston -145, Philadelphia +125, Total: 5.5

TD Garden will be rockin’ on Thursday night as the new-look Flyers head to Boston to face the Stanley Cup Champion Bruins to open the 2011-12 NHL regular season.

This year’s version of the Flyers will look completely different—with leading goal scorer Jeff Carter (36 goals) and team captain Mike Richards (66 points) traded during the offseason. Boston, on the other hand, returns nearly every key player from its championship roster—most notably Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas (1.98 GAA, .940 SV Pct. in playoffs). It’s hard to imagine a better atmosphere for hockey on Thursday night than when the Bruins raise a Stanley Cup banner to the rafters for the first time since 1972. The crowd will be raucous, and there’s no way the home team disappoints in this one. Couple that with the early-season growing pains the Flyers will go through adjusting to their new roster, and BOSTON is clearly the pick.

The FoxSheets also like the UNDER to occur on Opening Night:

BOSTON is 20-9 UNDER (69.0%, +10.7 Units) in home games first half of the season over the last 2 seasons. The average score was BOSTON 2.8, OPPONENT 2.1 - (Rating = 1*).

The upstart B’s swept Philly in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on their way to the Cup last season, just one year after blowing a 3-0 series to the Flyers in the same round the year before. The Bruins also won the regular-season series between the two teams, going 3-0-1 against Philly.

The losses of Richards and Carter will certainly affect the Flyers’ forward depth, but they still return the top two point-getters from last season: C/RW Claude Giroux (76 points) and C Danny Briere (34 goals, 34 assists). Expect 22-year-old LW James van Riemsdyk (40 points) to break out this season with increased ice time among the top-six.

Philly’s defense remains as stout as any team in the league—led by Chris Pronger (25 points in 50 games), Matt Carle (40 points, 157 blocked shots) and Kimmo Timonen (37 points, 175 blocked shots). Free-agent pickup Ilya Bryzgalov (.921 SV Pct.) finally gives the Flyers an elite goaltender—something they’ve lacked for many years.

The Bruins offensive success is predicated on an extremely balanced attack; with their top three lines all adding to the score sheet. Last year’s top four leading scorers—LW Milan Lucic (62 points), RW Nathan Horton (53 points) and centers David Krejci (62 points) and Patrice Bergeron (57 points)—are as young as they are talented: none of the four are older than age 26.

The defense—led by towering captain Zdeno Chara (44 points, 153 hits)—ranked third in the NHL in goals allowed last season (195). Thomas might have had something to do with that as well. Thomas has been excellent in his regular-season career against Philly, going 10-2-2 with a 2.19 GAA and .936 SV Percentage.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
10/06/2011 06:01 PM

Thursday, October 6

Game Score Status Pick Amount

Montreal - 7:00 PM ET Montreal -108 500

Toronto - Under 5.5 500

Philadelphia - 7:00 PM ET Boston -123 500

Boston - Under 5.5 500

Pittsburgh - 10:00 PM ET Vancouver -147 500

Vancouver - Under 5.5 500

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
10/06/2011 06:49 PM

NHL
Short Sheet


Thursday, October 6

PHILADELPHIA at BOSTON, 7:00 PM ET
PHILADELPHIA: 21-26 SU as a road underdog of +100 to +200
BOSTON: 48-38 SU as a home favorite of -200 or less

MONTREAL at TORONTO, 7:00 PM ET
MONTREAL: 51-54 SU as an underdog
TORONTO: 27-50 SU first half of the season

PITTSBURGH at VANCOUVER, 10:00 PM ET
PITTSBURGH: 18-10 SU in a road game where where the total is 5.5
VANCOUVER: 103-52 SU as a favorite

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
10/06/2011 06:50 PM

NHL preview: Eastern conference forecast and picks

The post-Stanley Cup honeymoon didn't last long for the Boston Bruins, who learned over the offseason that they might have to do without forward Marc Savard for good. While the Bruins (+450 to win the East this season) prevailed in dramatic fashion without him, they could be hard-pressed to repeat the feat after getting career-best contributions from a number of players.

There will be no shortage of challengers to the Bruins' Eastern Conference crown, either.

The Washington Capitals (+366) are confident they will be able to put their previous playoff struggles behind them. The Pittsburgh Penguins (+600) will eventually get Sidney Crosby back in the lineup, a development that is sure to make them one of the conference's most dangerous units. And challenges from a handful of up-and-coming clubs can't be discounted, either.

Here's what the Bruins will be up against as they seek defense of their first Stanley Cup championship in nearly 50 years:

BEST OVER BET: The New York Islanders (33.5 season O/U win total) are a criminally bad team on the defensive end, having allowed the most goals of any team in the East over a three-year span. Even if goaltender Evgeni Nabokov bounces back from a year away from the NHL, he should expect to see plenty of rubber rocketed his way. On the plus side, the Isles are showing marked improvement on the offensive end. John Tavares looks ready to break through the 80-point barrier this season, while rookie sniper Michael Grabner should approach 40 goals. The over went 42-35-5 in the Islanders' games last season.

BEST UNDER BET: The Philadelphia Flyers (+585) gained as much on the back end as they lost up front during an eventful offseason. Gone are lynchpin forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, who combined for 59 goals and 132 points last season. Veteran Jaromir Jagr leads a parade of new faces, but he's almost certainly a step back. Fortunately, the Flyers believe they have the answer in goal in Ilya Bryzgalov, who has posted 15 shutouts the past two seasons and should cut Philly's goals against by a sizeable margin.

MOST IMPROVED: It has become fashionable to write off the Toronto Maple Leafs (40.5 season win total) before the first overpriced beer is guzzled in the Air Canada Centre platinum seats. Yet it bears pointing out that Toronto was a sizzling 18-9-6 from Feb. 1 onward - a development no doubt precipitated by the emergence of goaltender James Reimer as a star in the making. With key additions up front (Tim Connolly) and on the blue line (John-Michael Liles), only another season of good luck in the health department can keep the Leafs from threatening to end a six-year playoff drought.

TEAM TRENDING DOWN: The Flyers surprised just about everyone with the trades that sent Carter to Columbus and Richards to Los Angeles. Developing chemistry will be critical to this team's success - and with the enigmatic Jagr leading the way, Philly fans shouldn't hold their breath. After all, they aren't exactly getting the 1990s incarnation of Jagr. Bryzgalov excelled in Phoenix, but he didn't face much scrutiny in the desert. If he struggles at any point in the City of Brotherly Love, he's going to find himself facing tough questions - and tougher critics.

SLEEPER TEAM: Aided by new owner Terry Pegula shelling out bushels of cash over the offseason, the Buffalo Sabres (+935) appear to be on the path to long-term success in the East. Armed with a roster that features legitimate firepower on the forward units, a sensational defense led by behemoth Tyler Myers and new arrival Christian Ehrhoff and goaltending anchored by perennial All-Star Ryan Miller, the Sabres' time might as well be now. With health on its side, Buffalo could very well top the Eastern Conference standings.

PICK TO WIN EAST: Washington. The selection is a little boring because the Caps are the favorites to win the East, but there's no way Alex Ovechkin struggles again like he did last season, and with a stronger commitment to defense than in seasons past, the Capitals are on the fast track to finally ending their recent playoff struggles.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
10/06/2011 06:51 PM

NHL preview: Western Conference forecast and picks

The Vancouver Canucks were the class of the Western Conference last season, but returning to that lofty perch will prove difficult in 2011-12.

The core of the club that reached the Stanley Cup final remains largely intact. But key losses on defense and an injury that will keep forward Ryan Kesler out to start the season have question marks surrounding the Canucks (+387 to win Western Conference), in what should be an incredibly competitive conference.

Challenges from the Detroit Red Wings (+588) and the San Jose Sharks (+502) are a yearly occurrence, while the Nashville Predators (+1,703) are riding high after reaching the second round of the postseason for the first time in franchise history. With the retooled Los Angeles Kings (+739) and staying-put Phoenix Coyotes (+1,875) also expected to make noise, picking a winner out West is no easy task.

Here's what the Canucks face as they aim for back-to-back Western Conference titles:

CONFERENCE FAVORITE: The Canucks can certainly be had, but by whom? Each of the top challengers have flaws that could prevent them from mounting a serious challenge and none of them have the kind of potent tandem Vancouver possesses in Henrik and Daniel Sedin. If Roberto Luongo continues his stellar play and the Sedins can cope with the absence of Kesler for the first few weeks of the season, Vancouver should be able to get off to a solid start and remain on top the rest of the way.

TAKE THE OVER: The Red Wings remained a formidable offensive unit last season, ranking second in the NHL in goals, but began to show cracks on the defensive end. Nicklas Lidstrom is entering his twilight and a shaky defense corps behind him is sure to make goaltender Jimmy Howard busy for the second year in a row. Expect plenty of high-scoring games when the Winged Wheel is in action.

TAKE THE UNDER: Things looked bleak for the Anaheim Ducks' (+1,189) defense in the early going last season. As the campaign wore on, the Ducks' beleaguered blueline improved dramatically, helping guide the club into the postseason. Expect fewer goals against, especially with a healthy Jonas Hiller in goal. Little has changed up front, but don't expect another 50-goal season from Corey Perry or an 80-point effort from 41-year-old Teemu Selanne.

MOST IMPROVED: The Kings believe it's their time and, with former Philadelphia Flyers star Mike Richards in the fold, they may finally be right. Following years of teasing fans with a talented but inconsistent lineup, Tinseltown has more depth in its forward lines than it has had in several years. The defense received a major boost with the signing of Drew Doughty to a long-term contract and Jonathan Quick proved he has the chops to be an elite NHL netminder. If the team can avoid the extended periods of lethargy that plagued it last season, it should find itself battling for a spot in the conference final.

TRENDING DOWN: The Calgary Flames (+1,703) used a sensational second-half run to nearly squeak into the postseason. It'll take a miracle for them to duplicate the feat. Following a failed bid to land prized free-agent center Brad Richards, the Flames have precious little down the middle. The first-line job will likely go to unproven Mikael Backlund, followed by a collection of rabble that includes Matt Stajan and Olli Jokinen. The defense lost a key piece in Robyn Regehr, and goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff will find himself pushed by young backup Henrik Karlsson from the get-go. It may be time to opt for a rebuild in Calgary.

SLEEPER TEAM: The only thing preventing the Minnesota Wild (+4,279) from joining the West elite last season was a startling lack of offense. The Wild recorded the second-fewest goals in the conference - a major reason why the team missed the playoffs for the third year in a row. Minnesota believes it has found a partial solution with the acquisition of Sharks forwards Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi. Heatley, as enigmatic a forward as you'll find, is reportedly motivated and in great shape. Playing alongside skilled veteran Mikko Koivu, the Wild now have a top line capable of leading them back to the postseason.

PICK TO WIN WEST: San Jose endured off-years from Heatley, Setoguchi and Joe Thornton in 2010-11 and still wound up with 108 points. If anyone can give Vancouver trouble, it'll be the Sharks.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
10/06/2011 06:52 PM

NHL betting: Six teams that will defy your expectations

It seems just about every sports fan gets a kick out of predicting breakout teams before they breakout.

Of course, by the end of a long season, no one remembers who you picked as you anyway. Nevertheless, you can take some self-satisfaction from the exercise and maybe even a few dollars by making a futures wager on your sleeper.

With the NHL season starting Thursday, let’s use a little math involving goal differential in the form of the Pythagorean Theorem to find three teams that are good bets to move up the standings in 2011-12 and three teams that are ready to, shall we say, slip on the ice.

The margin between a team's goals for and goals against is often a good statistic to determine what a team's true record should have been in that season. If a team outperforms its expected record, it usually will win fewer games the following season and vice versa.

PRIMED FOR IMPROVEMENT

New York Islanders (30-39-7-6, 56-26 ATS)

The Islanders were biggest winners in the NHL against the puckline last season and they have the look of a team ready to win more games straight up this season after they underperformed their Pythagorean record by five victories in 2010-11.

Center John Tavares, left winger Matt Moulson and right winter Michael Graber give the Islanders plenty of offensive firepower and all are young enough to improve.

The Islanders also welcome back Mark Streit, a fine two-way defenseman, who was named captain at the start of training camp after missing last season while recovering from shoulder surgery.

Boston Bruins (46-25-5-6, 39-43 ATS)

Can you improve on winning the franchise's first Stanley Cup in 39 years? Perhaps by playing up to your full potential as the Bruins finished four wins short of their Pythagorean mark during the regular season in 2010-11 before turning it on in the postseason.

The skeptics believe the Bruins have no chance of repeating as champions because they lack a top point producer due to the retirement of concussion-plagued Marc Savard and only won last year because 36-year-old goaltender Tim Thomas stole the Cup with a brilliant playoff performance.

But the Baby Bears believe they can make up for Savard's scoring with a balanced attack, and they have Tuukka Rask waiting to take over in the nets should Thomas fail.

New York Rangers (44-33-2-3, 43-39 ATS)

Coach John Tortorella has longed for a true No. 1 center since taking over the Rangers and the need became more apparent than ever last season when his team underperformed its goal differential by four wins then lost in five games to the Washington Capitals in the first round of the playoffs. The Rangers got Torts his man by signing Brad Richards to a nine-year, $60 million contract as a free agent.

Tortorella and Richards teamed to win a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning, though that was eight years ago. The Blueshirts hope the magic can happen again, particularly if Richards can boost an anemic power play and bring out the best in enigmatic right winger Marian Gaborik.


PRIMED FOR A FALL

Anaheim Ducks (47-30-3-2, 43-39 ATS)

The Ducks overachieved by five games last season as the statistics showed they should have been were a 42-win team. Of course, it helped to have the Hart Trophy winner in Ryan Perry.

However, there are reasons to believe the Ducks are set up for a fall, chief among that 41-year-old Teemu Selanne will have a hard time duplicating his 31-goal season of a year ago and 36-year-old Soku Koviu will be fortunate to score 15 goals again.
Goaltender Jonas Hillier is healthy after missing the latter part of last season with vertigo but it is a condition that often reoccurs.

Tampa Bay Lightning (46-25-5-6, 41-41 ATS)

Steven Stamkos lit the lamp 45 times last season, which is one of the reasons why the Lighting won 46 games in a year that the numbers said they should have had 42 victories. It is also helped that the Lightning converted 20.54 percent of their power plays.

While the Lightning should be a high-scoring team again after re-signing Stamkos, the defense is slow, making it vulnerable against good offensive teams. Goaltender Dwayne Roloson turns 74 next week. OK, it will actually be his 42nd birthday but the Lightning prepared by signing Mathieu Garon to be the backup and hold Rolo's walker.

New Jersey Devils (38-39-3-2, 29-53 ATS)

The Devils would seemingly figure to fall into the other category after finishing last season with 28 wins in their last 41 games and nearly sneaking into the playoffs after winning just 10 of their first 41. Don't let the fast finish fool you because the Devils won four more games than they should.

Pete DeBoer takes over as the coach in GM Lou Lamoriello's never-ending cycle of bench bosses following without a playoff berth while guiding Florida Panthers. Devil backers have to wonder will Ilya Kovalchuk tank it again this season and will 39-year-old goalie Martin Brodeur finally reach the end of the line?

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: