Mike Miller

Blues slight favorites vs. Oilers for Wednesday Night Hockey

The St. Louis Blues will be trying to prove a point to their former coach when they face the Edmonton Oilers, who have struggled on the road even when superstar center Connor McDavid is healthy.

The Blues are the slim -120 betting favorite with the Oilers coming back at -105 with a 5.5-goal total for Wednesday night’s matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The tight moneyline is a commentary on both teams’ travails this season, as the Blues, now under the command of interim coach Craig Berube, are 2-6 in their last eight games. In the longer run, St. Louis is 11-7 in its last 18 home games as a favorite of -115 to -135 on the moneyline. The Oilers, with Ken Hitchcock, who coached St. Louis from 2011 to 2017, are 1-7 in their last eight road games.

McDavid, who missed Edmonton’s most recent game due to flu-like symptoms, is expected to play. The Blues’ best defenseman, Alex Pietrangelo (hand), is on injured reserve.

The Oilers are 13-12-2 on the season, including a 6-8-1 away mark, thanks in large part to McDavid, who is sixth in NHL scoring with 35 points despite being part of the league’s 27th-ranked offense. The change in focus under Hitchcock could help the Oilers improve their trend of being 5-8 in their last 13 road games against Central Division teams.

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Backing Edmonton does mean hoping their two major liabilities, lack of scoring depth beyond McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and a 26th-ranked penalty kill (75.6 per cent) can be overcome on a given night.

In goal, Edmonton is expected to start Cam Talbot, who has a 5-9-1 record, 3.29 goals-against average and .889 save percentage. Mikko Koskinen has been the more reliable goalie in Edmonton.

The Blues are 9-13-3 this season, including just 6-7-1 at the Enterprise Center, and the coaching change has yet to inspire results as they are just 2-4 with Berube behind the bench. If there are any positive signs with the Blues, right wing Vladimir Tarasenko is on a three-game goal streak and his move to a line centered by Tyler Bozak could make for a more balanced attack to go with the forward trios led by Ryan O'Reilly and Brayden Schenn.

St. Louis’ overall struggles have more to do with their 5-on-5 play, as they are 10th on both the power play (23.8 per cent, with Edmonton 14th at 21.2) and penalty kill (81.7 per cent).

Jake Allen, who is 7-7-3 with a 3.24 goals-against average and .896 save percentage, has had the bulk of the work in goal for the Blues.

The total has gone UNDER in seven of the Oilers’ last 10 games, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. The total has gone UNDER in seven of the Blues’ last 10 games. The total has gone UNDER in 13 of the Blues’ last 20 home games against Pacific Division teams.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Capitals are betting favorites vs. Penguins in marquee matchup

Neither the Pittsburgh Penguins nor the Washington Capitals are looking like world-beaters, but that has served to keep the moneyline in a range where the Capitals usually make good on their betting value.

The Capitals, led by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin, are -125 betting favorites against the +105 underdog Pittsburgh Penguins on the NHL odds for Wednesday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Capitals, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, are 8-2 in their last 10 regular-season home games as a moneyline favorite of -120 to -140, with the total going OVER in eight of those matchups. Washington is also 14-6 in its last 20 home games against the Metropolitan Division.

The Penguins are 6-4 in their last 10 regular-season road games as an underdog of +100 to +120 on the moneyline, with the total going OVER in seven of those matchups.

Led by centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins are 6-4-3 this season, but have lost their last four games by an aggregate score of 18-6. While they are 5-5 in their last 10 visits to Washington’s Capital One Arena, it’s tough to back the Penguins on anything more than a hunch until they can demonstrate more consistency. Pittsburgh’s power play is also in a 2-for-19 slump that has prompted putting Crosby and Malkin on separate units.

Penguins goalie Matt Murray is 5-4 with a 3.93 goals-against average and .875 save percentage in his career against the Capitals.

The Capitals also have a 6-4-3 record and are looking to win consecutive games for the first time this season. The defending Stanley Cup champions are going into their second game since coach Todd Reirden re-jigged his forward lines. While it meant Dmitrij Jaskin is now the right wing on the Kuznetsov-Ovechkin line, it might give the Capitals, who are 15-5 in their last 20 November home games, some extra secondary scoring.

Washington’s most recent victory, a 4-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, was sparked by its fourth line, now bolstered by left wing Jakub Vrana. The Capitals’ power play is also the league’s best, converting at a 36.6 percent efficiency.

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is 8-9-3 with a 3.10 goals-against average and .906 save percentage against the Penguins.

The total has gone OVER in three of the Penguins’ last five road games against the Capitals. The total has also gone OVER in 13 of the Capitals’ last 20 home games against Metropolitan Division teams. Wednesday’s total is set at 6.5 goals.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Canada rallies, stuns U.S. in OT to win women’s hockey gold


In women’s hockey, there is no bigger prize than Olympic gold medals.

On Thursday, the U.S. was fewer than five minutes from achieving the ultimate prize, before Canada stormed back with two late goals to send the contest to sudden death overtime, where Marie-Philip Poulin scored the goal that brought gold medals to Canada.

For Canada, it’s their fourth consecutive gold medals in women’s Olympic hockey.

VIDEO: Watch the shot that hit the post

For the U.S., it is their second straight silver medals.

The Canadians pulled within 2-1 when Brianne Jenner scored with less than four minutes to go in regulation. A short time later, they opted to pull goalie Shannon Szabados from the net – only to have an American shot fired from deep within their zone toward the open goal.

The puck hit the left post. Canada was still alive.

And with 55 seconds remaining in regulation, they pulled even as Poulin – who scored both goals in the Canadians’ 2-0 gold medal win over the U.S. four years ago in Vancouver – lit the lamp.

The game then went to overtime, which featured a series of penalties that left the Canadians with an eventual 5-on-3 advantage. At the 8:10 mark, Poulin struck again and zipped a quick shot into the net.

The heroine of Vancouver became the heroine of Sochi.

MORE: Watch the FULL REPLAY of today’s U.S.-Canada women’s hockey gold medal game

Team USA’s Anna Schleper (15) skates off the ice after Canada’s gold-medal winning goal in OT. Photo: AP.


Scoring Summary
Second Period
USA – Meghan Duggan (Jocelyne Lamoureux), 11:57 – USA 1-0

Third Period
USA – Alex Carpenter (Hilary Knight, Kelli Stack), 2:01 – USA 2-0
CAN – Brianne Jenner (Meaghan Mikkelson, Jocelyne Larocque), 16:34 – USA 2-1
CAN – Marie-Philip Poulin (Rebecca Johnston, Haley Irwin), 19:05 – TIE 2-2

CAN – Poulin (Laura Fortino), 8:10 – CAN 3-2

CAN – Shannon Szabados, 27 saves on 29 shots
USA – Jessie Vetter, 28 saves on 31 shots