December 5, 2014

NHL Betting Preview for December 5, 2014

NHL Betting Preview for December 5, 2014&h=253&w=372&zc=1

Short NHL card tonight with only three games scheduled. We’ll preview all of ‘em in this writeup:

ANAHEIM DUCKS AT MINNESOTA WILD:

Defenseman Ryan Suter has the mumps and will miss tonight’s game. This is unfortunate for the Wild (and for Suter) but the viral infection more commonly associated with children has become a frequent occurence this season in the NHL. Suter is the fifth Wild defenseman to catch the mumps. The Anaheim Ducks have had three players miss time with the mumps. All in all, nine players in the league have come down with the mumps this season. The mumps has all but been eradicated in the United States due to a mandatory childhood vaccination plan. Canada doesn’t require mumps vaccination for school age kids which might have something to do with the mini-epidemic in hockey this year. The Wild players have all had booster shots but the vaccine is only 88% effective and the illness sometimes takes a while to show symptoms. In other words, there may be more mumps in the Wild locker room over the next few weeks.

Anaheim hasn’t been playing particularly well of late. They’ve had some injury issues in goal where backups John Gibson and Jason LaBarbara are currently sidelined. At least starting goalie Frederik Andersen is healthy now though he’s also missed a few games with an injury. Gibson’s not only injured he’ll reportedly be spending most of the season in Norfolk, Virginia with the AHL Norfolk Admirals. The plan is for Anaheim to sign veteran goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a contract for the rest of the year and have him back up Andersen. Gibson is just 21 so it’s not really a bad thing for him to work on his craft at the minor league level.

On paper, the Ducks are the better team but we all know the deal with the Minnesota Wild. They’re mediocre at best on the road (6-7-0) but are among the toughest home teams in the NHL (8-2-1). Mumps or no mumps, I look for the Wild to continue their strong home performance against a Ducks team that’s just 5-3-2 in their last 10 games.

BET MINNESOTA WILD -130 OVER ANAHEIM DUCKS

COLORADO AVALANCHE AT WINNIPEG JETS:

The artists formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers host the Colorado Avalanche tonight. The Avs were expected to be a contender in the West this season after finishing with 112 points, second best in the conference a year ago. Not so much–they’re in 11th place due in large part to generally pitiful defense. Pitiful defense isn’t the problem in Winnipeg–it’s a pitiful offense. The Jets rank #29 in goals scored per game (2.00) leading only the lowly Buffalo Sabres. The Jets’ defense, on the other hand, has been excellent this season. Heading into this game they’ve got the #4 scoring defense in hockey trailing only Chicago, Los Angeles and Nashville. Winnipeg will be challenged to maintain their spiffy defensive play as all of a sudden they’ve got a cluster injury problem with their defensemen. Dustin Byfuglien is moving back to the blueline–he’s always been a solid offensive player but hasn’t been known for his tenacious defensive play. Still, things in Winnipeg are in much better shape than in Denver. Jets win this one.

BET WINNIPEG JETS -140 OVER COLORADO AVALANCHE

MONTREAL CANADIENS AT CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS:

Not sure what’s up with the Habs but they draw a tough assignment tonight facing the red hot Chicago Blackhawks. Hawks have won 8 of their last 10 games but will be playing without starting goalie Corey Crawford for several weeks–he injured his foot at a Rise Against concert at the House of Blues. Backup Antti Raanta has played well befitting someone with that many vowels in his name. Chicago playing very good defense across the board leading the NHL in goals allowed per game.

BET CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS -185 OVER MONTREAL CANADIENS