Thursday Night Picks: Playoff Edition
By Stephen London
Hello all and welcome to yet another edition of Thursday Night Picks. Last week, Thursday's picks went 4-1, while the special edition of picks on Friday achieved only a 2-2 record. There are still picks pending, considering all of the series winners picked last week. But the unit number continues to rise as the season progresses. Let's see what tonight's playoff hockey has in store.
Florida Panthers at New Jersey Devils
The Florida Panthers have a chance to be up three games to one in the series if they can get a second consecutive win in New Jersey. Future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur was taken out 2 minutes and 18 seconds into the second period of Game 3, after he allowed three goals on just 12 shots in what ended up being a 4-3 Panthers win.
Scott Clemmensen improved to 5-0 against the Devils during his career and is most likely going to get the start in net for the Panthers. Brodeur is going to be starting in net for the Devils, but is his age (39) starting to show in his performance? Maybe, but it would be hard to make a pick against one of the best goaltenders to ever play.
Both of these teams are trending the over. The over has hit three of the last four Devils games. The Panthers have hit the over in four of their last five games. There might be two picks in this matchup, considering the underdog is 4-0 when these two squads square up with each other. The underdog streak will most likely end tonight.
Picks: 1U on over five goals -105 ... risking 1.05U
1U on the Devils -175 ... risking 1.75U
Phoenix Coyotes at Chicago Blackhawks
The Phoenix Coyotes beat the Chicago Blackhawks during the first game in the Windy City, and would make a statement if they were to beat the Blackhawks again in Chi-town. The Coyotes are already up a game in the series (2-1), making this game a must-win for the Blackhawks. The Coyotes' Raffi Torres was suspended indefinitely for his malicious hit on Marian Hossa. Hossa was released from the hospital the next day, but most likely will sit out of this game.
Expect the Blackhawks to come out with a lot of firepower and a surge of energy. Even so, the Blackhawks will have a tough time tonight, considering the Coyotes are 4-1 during their last five meetings in Chicago. Mike Smith, the goaltender for the Coyotes, must be nothing short of spectacular for the Coyotes to win. The Blackhawks fans should be in full force, which might be the final push the home team needs.
Pick: 1U on Blackhawks -140 ... risking 1.4U
St. Louis Blues at San Jose Sharks
The St. Louis Blues lead the San Jose Sharks in this series, 2-1. In order for the Sharks to get back into contention in the series, they need to come away with a win tonight. Last game, the Blues came away with a 4-3 win in San Jose, which probably did not sit too well with the Sharks. The Blues have had the Sharks' number this season, losing only one game out of seven, including this postseason.
All-Star goaltender Brian Elliott will get the start in net, which does not help the Sharks' chances of winning. Almost a lock as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, Elliott was one of the best goaltenders in the NHL this season, if not the best. The Sharks will counter with starting goaltender Antti Niemi.
Even though Elliott starting should scare away any over picks, the over is only five goals and not 5.5. The score went over with a total of seven goals during the last game in this series. If Game 4 is the same type of game, which it should be, the score should reach at least five.
Pick: 1U on over five goals +105 ... winning 1.05U
Posted April 19, 2012