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Lightning road favorites on NHL odds for Wednesday at Colorado

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The Tampa Bay Lightning are not only a fresher team as the visitors against the Colorado Avalanche, but they’re also a solid commodity as a road favorite.

The Lightning, anchored by defenseman Victor Hedman, are the -140 road betting favorite  on the NHL odds with the host Colorado Avalanche coming back at +120 for Wednesday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The total is set at 6.5 goals.

Tampa Bay is 6-3 in its last nine regular-season games as a road favorite, as well as 14-6 in its last 20 road games against Western Conference teams. The Lightning have had two days off since their last game, while the Avalanche have the shorter turnaround after completing a four-game road trip along the East Coast on Monday.

Tampa Bay is 5-1-1 on the season as it embarks on the middle game of a five-game road trip through the Western Conference. The Lightning are third in the NHL in scoring at 3.86 goals per game. The Lightning, who have won in each of their last three visits to the Pepsi Center, are also solid on special teams, particularly with a penalty killing unit that is operating at an NHL-best 96.6 percent efficiency.

Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy has a 2.16 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage on the season.

Colorado is a somewhat surprising 6-1-2 on the season, with the likes of center Nathan MacKinnon and right wing Mikko Rantanen leading the way for an attack that is scoring at a 3.64 goals per game clip. The Avalanche are 8-1 in interconference home games since the last time the Lightning came to the Mile High City, but those kind of trends are hard to maintain, especially in a situation where a team is re-adapting to home climes after a road trip.

Not unlike the Lightning, the Avalanche have one of the league’s most efficient penalty kills, ranking third at 90.5 percent, but they are also allowing a league-worst 4.67 power plays per game and few teams can afford that against the highly potent Lightning.

Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov has a 1.64 goals-against average and a .953 save percentage. Colorado has one notable injury with center J.T. Compher (concussion) out indefinitely.

The total has gone OVER in six of Tampa Bay’s last eight games when it was favored on the road, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. The total has gone UNDER in four of Colorado’s last six home games against Eastern Conference 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.

NBCSN has the NHL’s All-Star weekend covered

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The Honda NHL All-Star Game will feature a new 3-on-3 divisional format this year, inspired by this year’s new 3-on-3 overtime format, with a prize pool of $1 million to be paid to the winning team. Pre-game coverage begins Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, hosted by Liam McHugh, alongside analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick.

NBCSN’s NHL All-Star coverage begins Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET with a special NHL Top 10 – 3-on-3 edition, as host Liam McHugh and analysts Mike Milbury and Keith Jones count down the best 3-on-3 moments of the 2015-16 NHL regular season. Friday night’s coverage moves to Nashville at 8 p.m. ET with NHL All-Star Friday Night: Live in Music City. Hosted by NBCSN’s Kathryn Tappen and Kimberly Perry, lead singer of Grammy Award and CMA Award-winning group The Band Perry, the primetime special will feature top NHL stars, as well as performances from Aaron Lewis, Kristian Bush, Big & Rich, John Hiatt and Lee Brice from the outdoor Honda Stage at Bridgestone Winter Park in the heart of downtown Nashville.

Coverage continues on Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET with the NHL Skills Competition. Each of the 44 All-Stars will compete in at least one of the following skill-based contests: Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater™, Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge™, DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting™, Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay™, AMP Energy NHL Hardest Shot™, and Discover NHL Shootout™. Kenny Albert (play-by-play), Olczyk, McGuire and Jeremy Roenick will call the NHL Skills Competition.

Following is NBCSN’s All-Star coverage schedule:

ASG

2010 NHL Free Agency: Winners and losers after day one

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After one day of free agency, you start to get a sense for just who
the “winners” and “losers” will be free agency. And today, it looks like
there’s more losers than anything as teams grossly overpaid for
mediocre players. Our list:

Winners:

Pittsburgh
Penguins –
The Penguins lost Sergei Gonchar, but arguably upgraded
on defense anyways. It came with a price however. The Penguins landed
two of the top defensive free agents as they signed Paul Martin and
Zbynek Michalek for $9 million between the two players. Both signed
five-year contracts, with Martin’s ($25 million) worth more overall than
Michalek’s ($20 million). Neither will produce the same offense as
Gonchar, but the Penguins now have two relatively young defensemen
locked up as the cornerstone of their defense for the next few seasons.

Vancouver
Canucks –
Dan Hamhuis took a bit of a discount to head to
Vancouver, where he was promised top minutes and the chance to play with
a team that always has the opportunity to head deep into the
postseason. Hamhuis could have certainly signed elsewhere for more, but
settled for a six-year, $27 million contract with Vancouver. Hamhuis
might not have been the big free agent target in other years, but this
summer the deal that Vancouver got for him has to be a positive.

Atlanta
Thrashers:
Nothing earth shattering happening down in Atlanta
today, but two nifty moves by Rick Dudley definitely helped the team.
First, the Thrashers traded prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy to Chicago for RFA
Andrew Ladd, who they should have no problems signing. Dudley says that
Ladd is the scoring winger they’ve been needing, and consider him a big
piece of the team moving forward. They also acquired Chris Mason for a
steal, signing the goaltender for almost half of what he was about to
make in St. Louis.

Losers:

Calgary Flames: Don’t
ask me what Darryl Sutter was thinking today. I have no clue. But he
signed two players today that have been wholly disappointing the past
few years, and who have both spent time with Calgary in the past. Yes,
Ollie Jokinen and Alex Tanguay are back in Calgary, which has to be the
most head-scratching decisions I’ve seen in a long, long time. I don’t
even know how to opine on this. Ridiculous.

New York Rangers:
Good job in signing Martin Biron to be Henrik Lundqvist’s backup.
Horribly bad job in giving Derek Boogaard a four year contract worth
$1.65 million per season. Every year there is one contract handed out
that ruins it for the rest of the NHL, completely skewing the market and
opening the door for horrible contracts all over the league. For some
reason, it seems that it’s the Rangers that do this every year.

St.
Louis Blues:
It seemed the Blues were on the cusp of being big
spenders in free agency, and were poised to do so. They have nothing but
massive amounts of room under the salary cap, but other than extending
Alex Steen and signing Vladimir Sobotka to a one-year contract, were
very quiet and didn’t make any noise in the first day of free agency.
Perhaps they were spooked by the big contracts being handed out to
fringe players, but the Blues needed to make some moves — especially on
defense — in order to get the team back to the playoffs next season.
Still some time over the next few days, however.

2010 NHL Free Agency: After one day, who's left?

With one day in the books in the 2010 NHL free agency period — that
wasn’t really a frenzy as much as it was nutty — here’s the top free
agents remaining (and their 2009-2010 cap hit) who are still looking for
jobs.

Forwards:

Ilya Kovalchuck – 27 –
$6,389,300

Pavol Demitra – 35 – $4,000,000

Mike Modano – 40 –
$3,450,000

Fredrik Modin – 35 – $3,250,000

Patrick
O’Sullivan – 25 – $2,925,000

Owen Nolan – 38 – $2,750,000

John
Madden – 37 – $2,750,000

Lee Stempniak – 27 – $2,500,000

Matthew
Lombardi – 28 – $2,900,000

Maxim Afinogenov – 30 – $800,000

Alexei
Ponikarovsky – 30 – $2,105,000

Ryan Potulny – 25 – $525,000

Eric
Belanger -32 – $1,750,000

Mike Comrie – 29 – $1,250,000

Kyle
Wellwood – 27 – $1,200,000

Raffi Torres – 28 – $2,250,000

Aaron
Asham – 32 – $640,000

Defensemen:

Marc-Andre
Bergeron – 29 – $750,000

Pavel Kubina – 33 – $5,000,000

Carlo
Colaiacovo – 27 – $1,283,333

Ruslan Sulei – 35 – $3,025,000

Denis
Grebeshkov – 26 – $3,150,000

Joe Corvo – 33 – $2,625,000

Kim
Johnsson – 34 – $540,000

Shaone Morrison – 27 – $1,975,000

Nick
Boynton – 31 – $1,500,000

Goaltenders:

Evgeni
Nabokov – 34 – $5,375,000

Marty Turco – 34 – $5,700,000

Jose
Theodore – 33 – $4,500,00

Ray Emery – 27 – $1,500,000

Vesa
Toskala – 33 – $4,000,000

Denis Yann – 29 – $500,000

Patrick
Lalime – 35 – $1,000,000

Wade Dubielewicz – 31 – $600,000

Matt
Climie – 27 – $574,500

Some thoughts:

The run
was on defensemen the first day, leaving plenty of forwards for the
pickings in the next few days. With the amount of overly expensive
contracts we’ve seen so far, it’s not surprising to see teams take it
easy and wait for the market to shake out a bit.

2010 NHL Free Agency: Marty Turco and Evgeni Nabokov still available

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turcovechkin.jpgYou knew this was bound to happen; with so many goaltenders hitting free agency this summer and with not that many teams in need of a starter there was bound to be some goaltenders on the outside looking in.

But Marty Turco and Evgeni Nabokov?

Trends build in sports, where one or two teams have success with a certain aspect of the game and the rest of the NHL follows suit. Lately, especially after what happened in the playoffs, it seems that the NHL is looking more towards cheaper goaltenders while boosting the rest of their roster. That’s left expensive veterans like Turco and Nabokov on the outside looking in.

Before free agency began, Turco turned down an offer by Philadelphia worth $2 million a season. No exact reason was given, but you have to figure pride came into for Turco, who made over $5 million last season and wasn’t willing to take such a paycut. As it turns out, that deal would have been the most expensive contract handed to a goaltender today, as Martin Biron, Alex Auld, Antero Nittymaki, Chris Mason and Dan Ellis all received multi-year deals for less that $2 million a season.

Even Andrew Raycroft found a job.

Now, both Turco’s and Nabokov’s options are severely limited and there’s no way they’ll get the deal they had likely hoped for when the day began. Philadelphia, perhaps the one team out there still in drastic need of a starting goaltender, ended the day by saying they’re content with their situation in net if they have to go into the season with their current roster.

Even if they wanted to get one of the two they’d need to make a move for salary cap space.

There’s still a chance Turco could land with a team like the Capitals, and get a shot at the starter’s spot — but not for anywhere close to $3-4 million like he was likely holding out for. Marty Turco is a prideful man, one who was a great leader in the locker room and did a lot for the community during his time in Dallas. And he’s still a capable goaltender.

But his desire to remain a starting goaltender at the price he wanted came at the wrong time.