BlackJack’s Plays of the Day: All Ice, All Night

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Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Vegas day, brother. In a few short hours I’ll be on an airplane cruising through the night sky to the enchanting neon of Las Vegas. There’s only one way to start that trip for me and the weekend for the rest of us. Winning. We have to attack this weekend with a fierce determination and focus. We cannot be complacent. We cannot be satisfied. We cannot be satiated. We must want more. We must need more. We must be more. Today, we achieve more. Today, we win more.

 

WINNERS

Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins (-265)

7 p.m. ET


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Today is the day of 3-1 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The first one on the calendar is the Flyers and Pens. The Penguins can close it out at home and move on to await the winner of Washington and Columbus. I think after watching the first four games of this series, it’s clear the Penguins are the better team. The Flyers are talented, but the goaltending issue for them is one of critical importance this offseason. They simply do not have a No. 1 netminder. The Penguins are an experienced team, and I think they want the rest that would come with winning tonight. They certainly don’t want to head back to Philly for a Game 6.

THE PICK: Penguins Puck Line (+105)

Minnesota Wild at Winnipeg Jets (-230)

7:30 p.m. ET


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The Jets can finish off the Wild tonight in Winnipeg. This series has been very competitive for a 3-1 affair. There has also been a substantial amount of injuries in this one, most notably to Zach Parise of the Wild. The way these teams play, the injuries — and the closeness of talent — make the outcome here a little more doubtful than in the other two games tonight. It would not shock me if Minnesota pulled out a win, so I’m not willing to lay a puck line or the -230 price with the Jets. What I do like, however, is the total. I think as these series go on and teams become more familiar with each other, we see the total go down a bit. That, combined with the injuries and this being an elimination game, should keep the goals to a minimum.

THE PICK: Under 5.5

Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators (-330)

9:30 p.m. ET


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The biggest favorite of the night is Nashville. The Avalanche have been surprisingly competitive in this series, although they’ve been able to win just a single game so far. The Avalanche are young, talented and have a great future ahead of them, but the Predators are the team of today. The Game 3 loss was a blessing in disguise for Nashville, because it seems to have refocused the Preds to some extent. I expect Nashville’s crowd to be rocking, and I think the Predators come out hot and finish this thing off tonight at home.

THE PICK: Predators Puck Line (-120)

All right, baby, I’ll be checking in from Las Vegas with more of our “Postcards” series and Periscopes, so stay tuned.

Pictured above: Matt Murray