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NHL • Wednesday Service Plays • 2/24/16

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    Preview: Montreal at Washington

    When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, February 24, 2016
    Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District Of Columbia

    The Washington Capitals continue to find ways to win close games, among the many reasons they are running away from the pack in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy. The streaking Capitals have won four straight and nine of their last 10 – seven by one goal – heading into Wednesday’s matchup against the visiting Montreal Canadiens.

    Washington, which set a league record by becoming the first team in history to win 44 of its first 58 games in a season, can match their victory total of 2014-15 by beating the Canadiens for the third time in as many meetings. The Capitals improved to 17-1-1 over their last 19 home games with a 3-2 win over Arizona on Tuesday. Montreal has dropped four of five (1-3-1) since a three-game winning streak to fall seven points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and now must find a way to derail Washington. “We’ve got to go in there with the mindset that it’s going to take a full 60 minutes, if not more, to beat a team like that,” Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty told reporters.

    TV: 7 p.m. ET; Sportsnet, RDS (Montreal), CSN-DC Plus (Washington)

    ABOUT THE CANADIENS (28-27-5): Already missing defenseman Jeff Petry, Montreal’s troubles on the blue line continued with the announcement that Tom Gilbert will undergo season-ending knee surgery and Nathan Beaulieu (lower body) will not accompany the team to Washington. Beaulieu was hurt when he was pushed into a goalpost during Monday’s shootout loss to Nashville, prompting the recall of defenseman Victor Bartley from St. John’s of the American Hockey League. The Canadiens on Tuesday signed forward Paul Byron to a three-year contract extension.

    ABOUT THE CAPITALS (44-10-4): Captain Alex Ovechkin has scored 18 times in his last 18 games to boost his league-leading total to 39 goals and leave him one shy of reaching 40 for the eighth time in his career. Meanwhile, Washington acquired defenseman Mike Weber from Buffalo on Tuesday for a third-round pick in the 2017 draft. “Mike is a stay-at-home defenseman who plays a physical game and is respected by his teammates,” general manager Brian MacLellan said. “We felt it was important to add depth to our blue line by adding another quality veteran defenseman.”


    1. Capitals G Braden Holtby is 8-0-2 with a 1.36 goals-against average versus Montreal.

    2. Pacioretty has scored only two goals in 22 games against Washington.

    3. Capitals D Brooks Orpik will appear in his 800th career game Wednesday.

    PREDICTION: Capitals 3, Canadiens 1


    Preview: Pittsburgh at Boston

    When: 7:30 PM ET, Wednesday, February 24, 2016
    Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

    Forward Loui Eriksson looks to continue his torrid offensive pace on Wednesday when the Boston Bruins vie for a three-game season sweep of the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Eriksson recorded his fourth multi-goal performance of the season on Monday, but the Bruins fell for the third time in five outings with a 6-4 setback to Columbus.

    Eriksson, who has scored seven goals and set up another during the last seven games, had an assist in Boston’s 3-0 victory over Pittsburgh on Dec. 16 before tallying two days later in a 6-2 rout of the Penguins. Those two contests were the second and third, respectively, under the watch of then-new coach Mike Sullivan. “We’re a very different team today than we were then,” Sullivan told the team’s website. “Our mindset has changed. We’re evolved.” The proof is in the pudding for Pittsburgh, which rebounded from the batterings by Boston to post a 15-7-5 record to slowly elevate in the Eastern Conference standings.

    TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVA, SN1

    ABOUT THE PENGUINS (30-20-8): Phil Kessel, who has netted four goals in his last five contests, has been held off the scoresheet in each of the last three meetings with his former team. Kessel is one tally shy of reaching the 20-goal plateau for the eighth consecutive season, however. Rookie Scott Wilson is also enjoying a strong surge of late, tallying in three straight games while defenseman Kris Letang has five assists in that span.

    ABOUT THE BRUINS (32-22-6): Tuukka Rask continued to torment Pittsburgh in the first two encounters this season, turning aside all 34 shots he faced in the first meeting before registering an additional 30 in the rematch. The 2014 Vezina Trophy winner owns a scintillating 10-1-1 mark with a slim 1.35 goals-against average in the last 12 meetings with the Penguins. Matt Beleskey was held off the scoresheet in each of those contests, but has heated up with three goals in his last two games.


    1. Pittsburgh C Evgeni Malkin returned to practice on Tuesday, but will miss his 10th straight game due to a lower-body injury.

    2. Boston, which has just 12 home wins this season, is 4-8-1 in its last 13 games at TD Garden.

    3. Penguins veteran D Ben Lovejoy is expected to have a “long-term” absence due to an upper-body injury, Sullivan told reporters.

    PREDICTION: Bruins 3, Penguins 2


    Preview: San Jose at Colorado

    When: 10:00 PM ET, Wednesday, February 24, 2016
    Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

    The San Jose Sharks hope to wrap up their final lengthy road trip of the season on a high note when they visit the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. San Jose, which isn’t away from home for more than two games for the remainder of the campaign, is 3-1-0 on its five-game trek after posting a 6-3 victory at St. Louis on Monday.

    Joe Thornton is coming off a two-goal, two-assist performance that drew him even with captain Joe Pavelski (55 points) for the scoring lead on the Sharks, who trail Anaheim by one point for second place in the Pacific Division. Colorado is clinging to the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference after dropping a 5-1 decision at Vancouver on Sunday. Matt Duchene netted his team-leading 26th tally against the Canucks for his fourth point in three games and a club-high 48 on the season. San Jose won two of the first three contests in the four-game season series, including a 4-3 triumph at Colorado on Nov. 1.

    TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, Sportsnet

    ABOUT THE SHARKS (32-21-5): Nick Spaling and defenseman Roman Polak are expected to make their debuts Wednesday after being acquired from Toronto two days earlier. Spaling recorded one goal and six assists in 35 games with the Maple Leafs while Polak netted one tally and set up 12 others in 55 contests. Thornton has not gone more than one game without a point since a two-game drought from Dec. 9-12 and has been kept off the scoresheet only three times in his last 29 contests, posting point streaks of seven, eight and 10 games in that span.

    ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (31-27-4): Colorado also figures to have its newest addition in the lineup in Shawn Matthias, who was obtained from Toronto on Sunday. The 28-year-old, who registered six goals and 11 assists in 51 games with the Maple Leafs, is expected to debut on a line with Carl Soderberg and Blake Comeau. Calvin Pickard is slated to start while Semyon Varlamov hopes to dress as his backup as he battles a flu bug that also has stricken Nathan MacKinnon, who is planning on being in the lineup.


    1. San Jose is tied with Washington for the most road wins with 21 while G Martin Jones leads the league with 19 victories away from home.

    2. Colorado rookie LW Andreas Martinsen, who has notched two goals and six assists in 44 games, was assigned to San Antonio of the American Hockey League.

    3. Sharks D Matt Tennyson is doubtful after suffering what likely is a concussion when he was hit from behind by St. Louis’ Ryan Reaves in Monday’s game.

    PREDICTION: Sharks 4, Avalanche 3


    Preview: Buffalo at Anaheim

    When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, February 24, 2016
    Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, California

    The Anaheim Ducks look to extend their winning streak to six games and avenge an early-season shutout at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday when the two teams collide at the Honda Center. The Ducks rebounded from that 3-0 setback to the Sabres on Dec. 17 to post a 20-5-3 mark to swim into second place in the Pacific Division.

    Offense has been the order of the day for Anaheim, which has scored 24 goals during the winning streak and is 8-for-18 on the power play. “We’re playing good hockey and we’re on a roll right now,” said defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who scored with the man advantage in the Ducks’ 5-2 victory over Calgary on Sunday. While Anaheim has been on a torrid stretch, the Sabres seem to have its number. Chad Johnson turned aside all 44 shots he faced in the first meeting as Buffalo blanked Anaheim for the seventh time in the last 31 outings.

    TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, MSG-B (Buffalo), FSN West (Anaheim)

    ABOUT THE SABRES (24-29-7): Buffalo saw its point streak (3-0-1) come to a halt on Sunday as it dropped a 4-3 decision to Pittsburgh in its first game without top-line center Ryan O’Reilly. “It’s tough to replace him because you can’t replace him,” rookie Sam Reinhart told the team’s website of O’Reilly (club-best 49 points), who is expected to be sidelined three-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury. “It’s not going to be one or two guys; it’s got to be everyone.” Zach Bogosian scored two goals and set up another versus the Penguins after notching just two points (both assists) in his previous 14 games.

    ABOUT THE DUCKS (31-19-8): Ryan Kesler recorded his third two-goal performance of the season against the Flames and has nine tallies and 12 assists over his past 22 games. “I don’t know if he’s getting into that mode,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told the Orange County Register. “That’s how he has been for a long time. He’s been a beast.” Captain Ryan Getzlaf has been pretty dominant in his own right, recording 16 points since the All-Star break.


    1. Buffalo sent D Mike Weber to Washington on Tuesday for a third-round pick in the 2017 draft.

    2. Anaheim has yielded nine power-play goals in its last seven games.

    3. The Sabres are 3-for-8 with the man advantage in the last two contests after going 0-for-13 in the previous four.

    PREDICTION: Ducks 6, Sabres 1


    Hot teams
    — Washington won eight of its last nine games.
    — Penguins won three of their last four road games.
    — San Jose won three of its last four games. Colorado won four of its last six.
    — Anaheim won its last five games, scoring 24 goals.

    Cold teams
    — Montreal lost four of its last five games.
    — Boston lost three of its last five games.
    — Sabres lost six of their last nine games.

    Series records
    — Washington won five of last seven games with Montreal.
    — Bruins won six of last seven games with Pittsburgh.
    — Sharks won five of last six games with Colorado.
    — Ducks won four of last five games with Buffalo.

    — Under is 6-1-1 in last eight Montreal-Washington games.
    — Under is 3-1-1 in last five Pittsburgh-Boston games.
    — Seven of last nine San Jose-Colorado games went over.
    — Over is 8-0-2 in last ten Anaheim games.

    — None


    Grand Salami – February
    By VI News

    The Grand Salami in pro hockey is decided by adding up all the goals scored in every game scheduled for that particular day. You can wager on ‘over’ or ‘under’ the Grand Salami total. The total is set by adding up all listed ‘over/under’ odds for each game on that particular day.

    Note: The Grand Salami will have no action if any game is suspended or cancelled before the regulation time of three twenty minute periods. Also, regardless of the number of goals scored during the shoot out portion of the overtime, the final scored recorded for the game will give the winning team on more goal than its opponent based on the score at the end of regulation time.

    *The majority of sportsbooks do not put out a total on the Grand Salami when there is only one game on the card. For tracking purposes, we will continue to show the ‘over/under’ for goals and combined goals scored on days with just one game.


    Date No. of Games Total Goals Combined Goals Scored Result

    2/1 No games scheduled – – –
    2/2 12 64.5 75 OVER
    2/3 3 16 15 UNDER
    2/4 12 64.5 77 OVER
    2/5 4 21 27 OVER
    2/6 12 62 67 OVER
    2/7 3 16.5 17 OVER
    2/8 4 20 20 PUSH
    2/9 12 64.5 72 OVER
    2/10 3 16.5 10 UNDER
    2/11 9 49.5 66 OVER
    2/12 7 35.5 47 OVER
    2/13 10 52 56 OVER
    2/14 5 25 24 UNDER
    2/15 7 38.5 47 OVER
    2/16 8 43.5 39 UNDER
    2/17 3 16.5 21 OVER
    2/18 11 60.5 68 OVER
    2/19 5 26.5 24 UNDER
    2/20 9 47 59 OVER
    2/21 6 30.5 34 OVER
    2/22 4 21 27 OVER
    2/23 9 49.5 43 UNDER
    2/24 4 –


    Hockey Crusher

    Buffalo Sabres + Anaheim Ducks – OVER 5
    (System Record: 50-4, won last 2 games)
    Overall Record: 50-61-17

    San Jose Sharks -134 over Colorado Avs

    Boston Bruins -123 over Pittsburgh Penguins

    Washington Capitals + Montreal – UNDER 5.5



    Penguins / Bruins – Under 5.5



    Washington – Under 5.5

    Colorado – Over 5.5



    Play Anaheim -230 over Buffalo



    500* Play Boston -130 over Pittsburgh



    1000* Play San Jose -120 over Colorado



    Play Anaheim -230 over Buffalo—Top Play (25 units)



    2-Unit Play. Take #3 Pittsburgh (+110)
    over Boston
    (7:30) p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24)
    Boston has now beaten Pittsburgh 4 straight times and will feel very confident in coming into tonight s match-up just like they did the other night against the Blue Jackets. But this Boston team is not performing like they should especially at home. The Bruins are 3-6-1 in their last ten games at TD Garden and are playing extremely poor defense as well. The Bruins have given up 18 goals in five games and think Pittsburgh new found offense will take advantage of this tonight. Pittsburgh has put up 15 total goals in their last five games with their only losses coming from Florida and Tampa Bay. The Penguins will try to slow this Boston team down and at the same time take advantage of their mistakes. Pittsburgh is the better all-around team and have more depth in their lines. Look for another upset tonight in Boston.

    2-Unit Play. Take #2 Washington (-1.5, +140)
    over Montreal
    (7:00) p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24)
    Montreal is now 0-4 in their last 4 road games and while this team may have been the best team in the league over the first month of the season it has become apparent that they are not even close. With a 2-7-1 record in their last ten games on the road it will be extremely tough for Montreal to compete with Washington tonight. The Caps have now won 9 of their last ten and are 8-1-1 at home in their last ten games. Washington has beaten the Canadians 5 straight times and I see no reason why this would change tonight. The Caps are 24-6 in their last 30 home games vs teams with losing records and are a much more complete team than Montreal right now. I anticipate a high scoring game with the Caps on top tonight.

    2-Unit Play. Take #5 San Jose (-135)
    over Colorado
    (10:00) p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24)
    Before San Jose improved to 3-1-0 on a five-game trip with Monday’s 6-3 win at St. Louis, it acquired veteran defenseman Roman Polak and Forward Nick Spaling from Toronto for some picks in the upcoming draft and forward R. Torres. The Sharks are third in the pacific and are one point behind Anaheim and in striking distance of the Kings. The Sharks have scored at least 23 goals in their last 6 games, are 4-2 over the stretch. Colorado doesn’t have the fire power or talent to keep up with San Jose tonight. On Sunday the Av’s lost 5-1 to the Canucks and just looked like they have given up on the season. They are 1 for 17 on the power play in the last five contests and have only beaten the Sharks 1time 6 contests. On January 26th these two teams faced off against each other where the Sharks destroyed them 6-1. I anticipate the Sharks winning 4-2 tonight in Colorado.

    Best of Luck – Strike Point Sports



    3 Unit Play Take #3 Pittsburgh +100
    over Boston
    (7:35pm est):
    Looking to continue to fade Boston as the Bruins are one of the more overvalued teams in the NHL right now. They’ve faced one of the easiest schedules of any team in hockey this year. They’ve been awful at home this season also.

    The Penguins have the much better advanced stats between these two teams. They’ve outshot their last 4 opponents and 5 of the last 6. They need this game badly and should be focused also due to their recent struggles versus Boston.

    Take Pittsburgh.

    Thank you and good luck,

    Jason Sharpe

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