(AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)
People, let's get our minds off of how Rob Manfred and the MLB have failed their fans this year. What better way to do that then to watch some hockey? And you can sweeten the pot a little more by potentially winning some money while your at it.
I tried to cheer you up. I'm sad too.
Disclaimer: I do not claim to be an expert, in fact, I'm the exact opposite. These are just my personal takes and my personal bets going into tonight's contests. Odds mentioned in this article are subject to change prior to puck drop.
Anyway, let's get to it. Take a look at my record from last week:
Game 1: St. Louis Blues @ New York Rangers
The St. Louis Blues travel to Madison Square Garden tonight to take on the New York Rangers at 7:30. The Blues are experiencing massive success here in 2022, just three years after their 2019 Stanley Cup victory. St. Louis is in second place in the Central Division with 70 points, and with the playoffs starting in a little over a month, the Blues are looking to finish the regular season as strong as they started.
St. Louis are among the big boys in the Western Conference, with the second most points behind the Colorado Avalanche.
The New York Rangers are perhaps one of the biggest surprise success stories this season. I wrote about them in my January 19th betting guide, going into detail about how the Rangers came into 2021-22 being looked at as a team that is still rebuilding and probably wouldn't compete, but here they are. New York sits in third place in possibly the toughest division in the NHL with 71 points.
The Rangers are coming off back-to-back losses against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Vancouver Canucks. In both of those losses, they put on a very lackluster offensive performance, and looked like they had lead in their skates. The Rangers look to get back on track tonight against a tough opponent in the St. Louis Blues.
This is also Pavel Buchnevich's first game back in New York since he was traded to St. Louis over the offseason... so look for him to announce his return by getting himself on the board.
NYR +1.5 puck line
Pavel Buchnevich O 0.5 points
Game 2: Nashville Predators @ Seattle Kraken
I wrote about the Nashville Predators in my February 9th betting guide, but since then there has been a strange development happening down in the Music City. It was reported sometime last week that the Predators are shopping perhaps their biggest star, Filip Forsberg. In the middle of a playoff push? I spent so much time and effort singing Forsberg's praises just a few short weeks ago.
I get it, Forsberg is a pending unrestricted free-agent at the end of the season, and is going to command a hefty payday. Nashville is also a team that has a dark raincloud moving in over their head's in the form of a long rebuild, so the assets that Nashville could receive for a player like Forsberg might be a driving factor in their desire to move him.
But they're currently in a playoff spot! The Nashville Predators are simply overachieving this season. I don't want to call it a fluke, but it's very close to being just that. It was then reported on Tuesday that Nashville's GM, David Poile, stated that he is trying to extend Forsberg amidst the trade rumors.
So what would you do? Would you keep your top offensive threat and try to go on one more deep playoff run, or ship him off and begin the inevitable rebuild?
The Seattle Kraken... if I had to sum them up nicely, I'd say: It's good to have a proper expansion team back in the NHL. I say that because unlike the 2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights, the Seattle Kraken just aren't good. And that's not a slight to them, because that's exactly what an expansion team should be in their inaugural season! Vegas' success right out of the gates was simply a once in a lifetime happening, so Seattle fans, I understand if your expectations were high because of that reason, but it's okay to be where you're at right now.
The good news for the Seattle Kraken is that they have the pieces to start seeing some resemblance of success in the coming years. They have 2021 second overall pick Matty Beniers developing down in the minors, they're sure to have a top 10 pick in this year's draft, and they have Jordan Eberle, Vince Dunn, Yanni Gourde and Brandon Tanev locked up for the next few years.
Seattle needs to workout new contracts with their captain, Mark Giordano, who is set to hit unrestricted free-agency this offseason, and Jared McCann who will be a restricted free-agent. Seattle sits exactly where you'd expect them to be, in last place in the Pacific Division.
Additional game picks this evening:
TOR Maple Leafs -1.5 puck line
LA Kings/DAL Stars O 5.5