NHL Opening Night PreviewThere are five games going on across the NHL tonight, and you can’t go wrong with whichever one(s) you choose to watch. I believe all but one of them have the chance to be extremely competitive, and I would not be surprised to see one, or maybe even two of them go into overtime. With that said, the one game I do not think will be competitive is the one I’m most excited to bet on.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers (-106) / 5:30 p.m ET, NBCSNIf you’re a fan of hockey, you know that not much has to be said about this rivalry. It’s one of the oldest and most heated in sports. Both these teams have the potential to win the newly dubbed MassMutual East Division, and will be looking to get a jump start on the other in the first of a 56 game sprint this season. The Penguins have always been the better team, and the better organization, but after seeing what the Flyers were able to do last season with such a young core and a 21 year old in net, the tables may be starting to turn. I’ve got Philadelphia winning this whole division, and making a deep run into the playoffs, so give me them at home on opening night too. If you need any more convincing, how about the fact the Flyers went a league leading 25-6-4 on home ice last season, will that do it? Pick – Flyers ML (-106)
Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning (-245) / 8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSNThis is the game I eluded to early in the article. I’m sending out a warning to all Blackhawks fans. I think this could get ugly. Chicago was a middle of the road team last year who barley squeaked into the playoffs. They have a ton of veteran leadership, but as far as I can see, that’s really it. Corey Crawford is now gone, which some people may see as a positive thing, but I cannot agree with that if your season long starter is now Malcolm Subban. Subban has been a career backup, never having started more than 22 games in a season, and has posted very average numbers throughout the duration of his career – .899 sv%, 2.97 GAA, and one shutout. In the net on the other side of the ice you have a Vezina Trophy winning stud who not only has his eyes locked on yet another year as a finalist, but may just be the best goalie in the entire NHL.
In addition, in case you’ve forgotten, the Lightning are the defending Stanley Cup Champions. They get a chance to play at home and hoist the banner just three months after hoisting the Cup.
Tampa Bay is far and away a better hockey team, and that is going to show tonight.
Chicago drew a mismatch for opening night, and they are going to get absolutely crushed.
Picks – TB -1.5 (+102) / TT o4 (+108) OR o4.5 (+163)
The rest of the games on tonight’s schedule are as follows
Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs (7:00 p.m. ET)
Vancouver Canucks at Edmonton Oilers (10:00 p.m. ET)
St. Louis Blues at Colorado Avalanche (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)