Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:35 AM EST.
3:00 PM EST. Regulation only. Plenty of reasons to play the Jets here and we’ll start with the fact that they’ve lost three in a row so complacent they are not. Dustin Byfuglien is back in the lineup too with a couple of games under his belt, thus, other than Nikolaj Ehlers, the Jets are healthy. Winnipeg’s 5-2 loss to Ottawa yesterday looks bad on paper but the Jets Corsi count of 74 during five-on-five play was the highest by a wide margin of any of the 24 teams that played yesterday. Winnipeg’s power-play is 0-10 over the past three games after going 5/13 prior so Buffalo better stay out of the box because some Winnipeg PP goals are forthcoming.
Buffalo beat Detroit yesterday afternoon, 3-1 in a game that was as statistically even as can be. During five-on-five play, Detroit had a slight Corsi For % advantage with Buffalo holding an 18-17 edge in Scoring Chances. In High Danger Scoring Chances, Detroit held a 9-7 edge. Linus Ullmark stopped 28 of 29 shots while Jimmy Howard stopped just 18 of 21 shots and that was the difference. The best news for this one is that both teams will play back-to-back matinees, which means that Carter Hutton is almost guaranteed to be the Sabres starter. Hutton last played on Feb 1 when he was yanked in a 7-3 loss to Chicago. He has only started three times over the Sabres last 10 games and was yanked in two of them (the other one a 7-2 loss to Edmonton). Hutton has posted save percentages of .818, .892, .583 and .867 over his last four starts and his confidence is shot. Frankly, we never liked his style anyway. Credit the Sabres for making Ullmark the #1 goaltender (for now) despite Ullmark making only 750K per year while Hutton sits and collects 2.75M a year but Buffalo’s hand may be forced here. Finally, one has to go back to December 11 and 13th to find the last time the Sabres won back-to-back games when they beat Los Angeles and Arizona respectively. Winnipeg is a hungry team, they’re the vastly superior team, they have a big edge in goal (of Hutton starts) and they’re short priced because the results say they’re in a funk. Pencil us in for that.
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Winnipeg -½ +127 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.54)