A tired New Jersey Devils team makes its way back to the East coast from a less than successful trip out West. Winnipeg is the second to last stop on the five-game tour and the Jets are looking to snap a three-game losing streak of their own.
Winnipeg stormed from behind in their season opener against Edmonton and put on a show for the home town fans at the MTS Centre when they hosted the Los Angeles Kings three days later. Since then the Jets have been outscored 9-4 by three of their new Western Conference brethren and tonight they face an Eastern foe who ranked fifth in the conference last season for fewest regulation goals against (1.97 GPG).
No big deal, the Devils are starting their backup goalie tonight. How good can he be?
Oh wait, after a blockbuster NHL draft day trade with Vancouver the New Jersey Devils now own the rights to a player who is probably the most consistent “backup” goaltender the league has ever witnessed. Cory Schneider was technically the starter last season with Vancouver but he and the rest of the team lived in the shadow of Roberto Luongo’s mega-deal until Mike Gillis finally busted open the piñata, cutting ties with the Ginger while making sure he wouldn’t have to face him more than twice a year.
DEVIL WENT DOWN TO PORTAGE
Schneider is winless in two starts with the Devils thus far but he held his ground against the high-powered Penguins offense before losing in overtime, 3-2 in a return trip to Vancouver last Tuesday. Schneider made several key saves against the ‘Nucks top snipers who playing with notable intensity for their new (old) No. 1 (Lou) and Schneider is in a good position to get his first win tonight if his team can figure out a way to score more than two goals.
BATTLE OF THE BACKUPS
Al Montoya will start for the Jets and he was 3-1 last season, helping sportsbooks list Winnipeg (-106) as the small home favorite. The online betting total is 5.5 Under (-130). New Jersey might not score more than two against Montoya but we would be surprised if Winnipeg cracks the deuce either. Maybe one of these teams wins 3-2 in overtime so here are two options: Man up and lay the juice on the “Under” 5.5 or find a reputable hockey betting shop that offers double-action wagering for a reduced price (UNDER 5/5.5 at +102). We’ll go with the latter; it’s still early in the season and big juice is the single largest contributor to bankroll atrophy over a long season.
Pick: Take the Devils and Jets UNDER 5/5.5 goals