Toronto Maple Leafs center Jason Spezza is shown during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
- An expected busy day of NHL action on Saturday, Feb. 6th, 2021 was victimized by COVID-19
- Robert Duff split his Thursday picks, bringing his NHL record to 6-5 (+0.36 units won)
- Four of Saturday’s games were postponed by the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols
There were going to be nine NHL games on tap on what was being anticipated as a busy Saturday on Feb. 6. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is curtailing action in 40% of those games.
The plug was pulled on four games – the New York Rangers-New Jersey Devils, Colorado Avalanche-St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild-Arizona Coyotes, and Buffalo Sabres-Boston Bruins. On a positive note, the league was able to reschedule the Blues to play the Coyotes, adding a sixth game to the Saturday slate.
The Vancouver Canucks are looking to end a decade-long losing streak at Toronto. The Pittsburgh Penguins rank among the NHL’s worst road teams.
NHL Odds February 6th
|Montreal Canadiens||-225||-1.5 (+115)||O 6.5 (-109)|
|Ottawa Senators||+190||+1.5 (-136)||U 6.5 (-110)|
|Arizona Coyotes||+133||+1.5 (-205)||O 5.5 (+108)|
|St. Louis Blues||-155||-1.5 (+170)||U 5.5 (-132)|
|Vancouver Canucks||+162||+1.5 (-165)||O 6.5 (-130)|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||-190||-1.5 (+138)||U 6.5 (+108)|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||-105||+1.5 (-286)||O 5.5 (-103)|
|New York Islanders||-110||-1.5 (+235)||U 5.5 (-120)|
|Edmonton Oilers||+105||+1.5 (-250)||O 6.5 (-117)|
|Calgary Flames||-121||-1.5 (+205)||U 6.5 (-105)|
|San Jose Sharks||+105||+1.5 (-265)||O 5.5 (-106)|
|Anaheim Ducks||-121||-1.5 (+215)||U 5.5 (-115)|
Odds taken Feb. 5th at DraftKings
Canada’s Team Isn’t the Canucks
Four coaches and more than 10 years ago, the Vancouver Canucks came to Toronto and won a hockey game. They haven’t done it since.
On Dec, 17, 2011, the Canucks won 5-3 at what was then called the Air Canada Centre. It was so long ago that current Leafs assistant coach Manny Malhotra was playing for Vancouver.
Thursday’s 7-3 setback at what’s now called the Scotiabank Centre was Vancouver’s eighth straight loss at Toronto. And much like that game, the outcomes haven’t really been close.
Scored seven 🎰#LeafsForever | @LGCanada pic.twitter.com/z6P1rwTEQX
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 5, 2021
There’s only been a solitary one-goal loss among the eight consecutive defeats. Toronto’s average margin of victory is 2.75 goals.
The Leafs, who lead the North Division, have won five of six overall. Toronto is 4-1 at home. The Buds have scored at least three goals in five consecutive games.
Vancouver has lost three in a row and been outscored 18-8 in the process. Sophomore defenseman Quinn Hughes shows team-leading 1-14-15 totals, as well as a team-worst -10 rating. That offers the indication that Hughes isn’t as helpful to the club when the puck is in possession of the other team.
Canucks are one of the NHL’s leakiest defensive units this season pic.twitter.com/2zS5tafNbQ
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) February 5, 2021
Neither Braden Holtby (.896 SV %, 3.63 GAA) or Thatcher Demko (.897, 3.81) is providing what could be termed as inspiring goaltending.
The Canucks need to get their Toronto mojo going and fast, or this streak could reach double digits. The Leafs play host to Vancouver again on Monday.
Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs -1.5 (+138)
2021 NHL Hart Trophy Odds Tracker
Penguins No Road Warriors
Entering their fifth stop of a seven-game road trip, the Penguins are currently 1-2-1 on the trip. They’re 1-4-1 on the road so far this season.
✈️ Back to New York. pic.twitter.com/nhisgyKijV
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 5, 2021
Pittsburgh has allowed three goals in every away game this season. In three of the four games on this trip, the Penguins have been held to two goals or less. The Pens show a -11 goal differential when not playing at PPG Paints Arena, where they’re a perfect 4-0 this season.
Pittsburgh forward Evgeni Malkin, a former Art Ross, and Hart Trophy winner, counts 1-4-5 totals through 10 games. He’s tied for 169th in NHL scoring.
Friday practice photos 📸 pic.twitter.com/6bDMHiwfiR
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 5, 2021
Coming off an 0-3-2 road swing of their own, the Islanders are a perfect 2-0 at home this season. They’ve allowed just one goal on home ice.
The Isles have won six of the past seven games from Pittsburgh, and six of the last eight games when they’ve faced the Penguins at home.
Pick: New York Islanders (-110)
An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.