BlackJack’s Plays of the Day: Dancing with the Devils
What a day, baby! The Stanley Cup Playoffs were in full swing with some great games, including a classic in Vegas to end the night. We had a 12-inning win in Philadelphia, we had the Penguins trounce the Flyers, 7-0, and, by the way, we hit a fantastic parlay to top the night off. It was awesome. But that was yesterday. Today is a new day, and we live in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately kind of world. Time to get back out there and re-establish dominance. Let’s get some wins!
New Jersey Devils at Tampa Bay Lightning (-215)
7 p.m. ET
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
I fully understand that earlier this season the Lightning looked like the consensus pick to emerge from the East to go to the Cup Finals. I understand their offense can at times be a steamroller. But I also understand they’ve been playing their worst hockey of the season over the past month or so. Their counterparts tonight, the Devils, have played their best hockey down the stretch. The Devils are a physical, defensive team that also happens to have Hart Trophy candidate Taylor Hall. And their biggest weapon might just be Keith Kinkaid in net. Kinkaid has been stellar while helping the Devils reach the playoffs. If he stays hot, the Devils could be a team that makes a run in the East. Either way, at +185 I’m taking a shot here.
THE PICK: Devils ML +185
St. Louis Cardinals (-143) at Cincinnati Reds
6:40 p.m. ET
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Wacha is on the mound for St. Louis today, and he has not looked fantastic this year. That said, the Reds absolutely stink. They are not good defensively, offensively or on the mound. This seems like a nice little spot for Wacha to get right. The Reds also played a 12-inning affair last night in Philly, so the bullpen might be a little depleted today. I’m taking the Cardinals to get the job done against one of the worst teams in baseball.
THE PICK: Cardinals ML -143
Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators (-290)
9:30 p.m. ET
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
The Predators are heavily favored here and rightfully so. They looked like the most dominant team in the NHL this season. They made it to the Stanley Cup Finals last season and pushed the Penguins to the brink before losing. They have the talent, the experience, the goaltender and the desire to overcome last year’s disappointment. Colorado is a nice story: Nathan MacKinnon is a beautiful player to watch, and he’s always a danger to score. Nevertheless, I just don’t think the Avalanche have a shot here. I think the Preds come out on fire at home and look to set the tone early. I think this one could get ugly.
THE PICK: Predators Puck Line +105
Let’s get after it, fellas. Make sure you’re hydrated and ready to go because these playoff games are going to be extreme. Let’s WIN!
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports