If there wasn’t any bad blood between the Colorado Avalanche and the Minnesota Wild before the playoffs started there is now after Matt Cooke’s knee connected with Tyson Barrie and will sideline the Avs defenseman between four and six weeks. Cooke is likely to miss the remainder of the series, as well, as he has an in-person meeting with the NHL Department of Player Safety and a suspension is almost certainly coming. Cooke has been suspended five times previously, so he could be in the press box for some time.
While Cooke’s loss will hurt the Wild, Barrie’s loss is bigger for the Avalanche, as Barrie was the team’s best offensive defenseman, accounting for 38 points on the season. His loss will make it tougher for the power play to click and special teams take on added meaning in the playoffs. Colorado is -260 to win the series, while the Wild are +220 and there is a bit of value in taking Minnesota. The Wild should have won the first game and can even the series with a home victory on Thursday and the extra day in between games will give Minnesota a bit more time to adjust their lines in Cooke’s absence.
The St. Louis Blues are still -195 favorites over the Chicago Blackhawks at Bookmaker.eu after jumping out to a 2-0 series lead. Chicago won the last game and is +165 to come back and win the series. While the price on Chicago is tempting, the Blues figure to get stronger as the series goes on, as they will be getting players back or at least healthier. Injuries depleted St. Louis down the stretch, but the team picked it up once the playoffs began.
Colorado wasn’t the only team to lose a defenseman on Monday night, as Anaheim defenseman Stephane Robidas fractured his leg playing against his former team, the Dallas Stars. It was the second time this season Robidas has broken the same leg and there’s speculation that it could mean the end of his career.
The Stars did what they did to earn a win and get back in the series, now trailing 2-1. The Ducks are -310 and Dallas is +255 to come back and win the series. The first two games of the series were fairly close and the Stars had their chances to tie either game late, but were unable to get the equalizing goal against Frederik Andersen. Both teams had 35 shots on goal in the first game, which Anaheim won 4-3 after being up 4-0, and the Stars out-shot Anaheim 36-19 in Game 2.
A bit of value in the Stars, who are -120 in Wednesday’s game, but probably not enough to make it worth a wager.
The Columbus Blue Jackets suffered a late meltdown against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday and dropped a 4-3 decision after coughing up a 3-1 third-period advantage. The Blue Jackets are relatively new to the playoffs and it will be interesting to see how they react to coughing up their second 3-1 lead. The Jackets know they can play with Pittsburgh, but haven’t been able to put the Penguins away.
Pittsburgh is -425 and Columbus is +335 in the series.
Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.