PHT Oddsmaker: Let’s gamble on the NHL

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PHT Oddsmaker will be a regular feature where we set pretend odds and pretend to gamble on them. If you’d like to bet real money, meet us in the alley and we’ll talk.

Odds the 2013 Winter Classic is held in Detroit at Comerica Park (-120)

Ask most fans where an outdoor hockey game hosted by the Red Wings should be played and they’ll say Michigan Stadium, aka the Big House. Last December, the Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans played in front of an announced crowd of 113,411. It was quite the spectacle. But here’s why I’d bet on Comerica Park, the home of MLB’s Tigers – the Ilitch family owns the Tigers and Red Wings, and it operates Comerica Park. The baseball stadium’s also downtown, not 45 miles away in Ann Arbor. Of course, for Comerica Park to host the Winter Classic, Detroit has to be awarded the game first. But based on the speculation, that’s all but a done deal.

Odds Boston’s Brad Marchand has a fight Saturday versus the Canucks (+300)

We wrote about the upcoming Stanley Cup rematch earlier today, making specific reference to the Marchand angle. Vancouver has all the motive it needs to go after the Bruins’ pesky forward for repeatedly jabbing Daniel Sedin in the face at the end of Game 6. Though Marchand isn’t a frequent scrapper, he’s dropped the gloves twice this season, once with PK Subban, the other with Matt Niskanen. Who could he fight on the Canucks? Kevin Bieksa would love to beat on Marchand and maybe he’ll try, but that would be a mismatch. Dale Weise fights, but he’s new to the Canucks. Keith Ballard is a potential candidate. Heck, Maxim Lapierre has a couple of scraps on his card. Maybe those two could engage in a rat fight. (Cheese and tails everywhere.) With +300 odds, I’ll take this bet.

Odds Seattle gets an NHL team in the next 5 years (+300)

Elliotte Friedman wrote about the possibility this week, thus the odds. Seattle’s an interesting potential NHL market. The league would no doubt love to put a franchise in the backyard of companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks. But make no mistake – most sports fans in that city want the NBA back before they want an NHL team. So if a new arena gets built – and that’s still a big if – chances are a basketball team will follow. And if a basketball team follows, would Seattle be able to support the NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS, NCAA and NHL? I’ll stay away from this one. It might happen in 10 years, but I don’t see anything imminent. (I hope I’m wrong though.)

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.