Tonight’s game lineup is great but there are a few games that should be awesome battles to watch and top teams turn on the fire power in the quest to get two points and bragging rights in the conference. The Eastern conference has some hot match ups, and there is one good battle in the West, so let’s get to it, so you can plan your evening and get your bets in on time!
Pittsburgh vs. Toronto
The Pens have not had such a great go of it in the opening 2 weeks of the season. With only 2 wins in their pockets, they are coming into the intimidating Scotia Bank center, the newly rebranded home of the Maple Leafs. The main problem for the Penguins is going to be how to stop the sheer firepower the Leafs have down the center. Auston Matthews is on a roll, but so is John Tavares, and a hot younger winger named Kasperi Kapanen, that ironically enough was acquired in the Phil Kessel trade from Pittsburgh. This match up is always exciting due to the history the teams shares and the player exchanges. Kessel was a popular yet controversial personality in the city, and left under some clouds, to then go on and win two Stanley Cups with the Pens.
It won’t be so easy now to win games in the hockey center of the universe. Toronto is shooting on all cylinders and Pittsburgh need to put their work boots and play hard every shift if they are going to stop this juggernaut. So much so, that Evgeni Malkin doesn’t think it will be long before both Tavares and Matthews have the type of impact on their team that he and Sidney Crosby made themselves with Pittsburgh starting over a decade ago.
“Toronto did a great job when they signed Tavares,” Malkin told NHL.com. “It shows they are doing it the right way. And now we’re seeing that they are dominant in every game… I watched the last game against L.A.,” Malkin explained. “They played unbelievable.”
It was the mutual appreciation club when Matthews was asked about tonight’s upcoming opponent:
“They’ve been dominant for years now,” Matthews told. “That’s a big reason they’ve been successful and being able to win Cups with their depth down the middle throughout the whole team. Two guys, three guys, four guys don’t win Cups, but it helps when you have that depth.”
That depth is exactly what will help Toronto win tonight against the team that set the standard for it all.
Pick: Toronto wins, 6 plus goals
Moneyline: Toronto Maple Leafs -155 / Pittsburgh Penguins +125
Match in West:
Vancouver vs. Winnipeg
A notable match up in the Western conference will be when the Canucks come to visit the impressive Winnipeg Jets. No one would think that after’s last year’s performances, that Vancouver would be the team coming into town with the better record, but that’s exactly what’s happening. Vancouver has surprised many critics and has won games using their young players and infusion of rookies into play that usually was reserved for veterans. Their fresh approach has given fans in B.C. a reason to cheer again after a few dismal years post Stanley Cup final visit back in 2011. Winnipeg on the other had has had some woes playing in the Pacific division, going 1-5 in their last 6 games, and will want to rectify that tonight at the MTS centre. Also with Elias Pettersson out due to a controversial hit, the chances for the Jets to get their swagger back rises.
It may not seem like it as of yet, but on paper Winnipeg has one of the best rosters in the NHL and have been considered on of the favourites this year to win the Stanley Cup. Last season they have an amazing record on home ice at an intimidating 45-14 in their last 59 games. So it’s exactly why tonight it should be a tough place to play, especially when the likes of Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele get going.
Pick: Winnipeg wins, 6 plus goals
Moneyline: Winnipeg Jets -205 / Vancouver Canucks +193