We have eight games on the NHL docket tonight. Three of those games have piqued our interest and made their way into this evening’s individual wagering portfolio. We’re also going to kick things up a notch and include the trio of games in a single parlay ticket in a quest for an even greater return on investment.
First up, we have a meeting of two Eastern Conference powerhouses that no one is going to want to face in the opening round of this year’s playoffs. The defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals will be on the road to face off with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the latest installment of this storied rivalry.
We head out west for game two which will feature two of the best squads in the Western Conference. The red-hot San Jose Sharks head to Winnipeg to take on the Jets, a meeting of the current number one and number teams in the conference.
Our final game will see a club that’s battling for playoff positioning hit the road to face off with one of the also-rans of the league. The Nashville Predators will begin an away swing by taking on an Anaheim Ducks team which has actually been playing some decent hockey of late.
We have three solid games to break down and analyze for what should be an entertaining evening of hockey action as the playoff races across the league continue to intensify. Let’s get started by taking a look at the heavyweight showdown in the east.
All betting odds provided by: Sportsbetting.ag
Washington Capitals @ Pittsburgh Penguins, 7:00 PM EST, NBCSN
Capitals vs. Penguins pick:
The Capitals have been cruising since the end of last month. The team is riding a seven-game undefeated streak, a span which includes a shootout and an overtime victory. Washington was last in action at home on Sunday as they skated to a 3-1 victory over the visiting Winnipeg Jets. For the season, the Capitals have 89 points, which leaves them in 4th place in the east.
The Penguins are in 7th place in the conference with 83 points. While not quite as hot as the Capitals, the Penguins have been playing pretty well in their own right with victories in four of the last five, a span which includes an overtime win. The team has also been off since Sunday when they picked up a 4-2 home win over the Boston Bruins.
The Capitals have not lost since February 23 when they fell by a score of 5-2 on the road versus the Buffalo Sabres. The club is a ridiculous 9-1-0 over its last 10 outings and has only five losses in total since February 1. Washington has been solid on the road this season with a mark of 20-12-2 in away games to date.
The Penguins suffered through a four-game winning streak at the beginning of last month, but the team has turned things around since that point. The club is 6-2-2 over its last 10 games, and two of the team’s last three defeats have come in extra time. The home-ice advantage has been strong as Pittsburgh has a record of 20-12-2.
Braden Holtby has been confirmed as the starter in goal for the Capitals tonight. For the season to date, he brings a record of 26-16-4 to the table with a .910 save percentage and a 2.88 goals-against average. Holtby has wins in five straight with just eight goals allowed over that span.
For the Penguins, it will be Matt Murray between the pipes. He’s 23-11-3 for the year with a 2.78 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. Murray has been almost as hot as the goalie who will man the opposing crease. He’s 4-1 over his last five with eight goals against.
Alex Ovechkin is the top goal scorer for the Capitals with 46 and also leads the team in points with 77. John Carlson leads the way in helpers with 50. For Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby tops the team in points and assists with 88 and 57. Jake Guentzel leads the way in goals with 34.
This will be the fourth meeting of the season for these two clubs. The Penguins hold a 2-1 edge so far. The last meeting took place in December on Washington’s home ice. Pittsburgh picked up a 2-1 win, a payback for the Capitals 2-1 win on the Penguins home ice the month before.
We have two hot goalies and a pair of dangerous teams getting ready to face off. The end result should be a stellar game which goes back and forth. In the end, we’ll look for the Penguins to pick up the victory on the home ice.
San Jose Sharks @ Winnipeg Jets, 8:00 PM EST, ESPN+
Sharks vs. Jets pick:
The Sharks are one of the hottest teams in the league. The club has ripped off five straight wins to take over 1st place in the west. The team was in action last night in Minnesota, skating to a 3-0 victory over the Wild. For the season, San Jose has 92 points, which leaves them a single point ahead of the 2nd place Calgary Flames.
The Jets occupy the number three spot in the conference with 84 points. They’re one point in front of the 4th place Nashville Predators and three points in front of the 5th place Vegas Golden Knights. Winnipeg was last in action on Sunday on the road at the Capitals. They came out on the wrong side of a 3-1 decision, the team’s second loss in its last three games.
Seven wins in the last 10 games have helped the Sharks surge to 1st place in the west. The team is 7-2-1 over that span, and they haven’t tasted defeat since a 4-1 road loss to the Boston Bruins on February 26. The team has played well on the road this season with a mark of 19-14-3 thus far. San Jose has won two of its last three away games.
The Jets haven’t been faring as well in recent times while going 4-5-1 over the last 10 games. That said, the team has won three of its last five, a span which includes a huge 8-1 road win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The team has been real strong at home this season with a record of 22-8-4. However, the Jets are just 2-3 over the last five.
Aaron Dell is expected to be in goal for the Sharks. He’s 8-6-3 on the year with a 3.01 goals-against average and .892 save percentage. Dell has wins in two of his last five with 10 goals allowed. Connor Hellebuyck has been confirmed as the starter for the Jets. He’s 28-19-2 with a .910 save percentage and 2.97 goals against average. Hellebuyck has wins in two of his last five with 14 goals allowed.
Brent Burns tops the Sharks in points and assists with 73 and 60. Joe Pavelski leads the way in goals with 36. For the Jets, Blake Wheeler leads in points and assists with 83 and 64. Mark Scheifele has the team lead in goals with 32.
This will be the third meeting of the season for these two squads. The teams have split the first two with the road team winning both times. They met last month in Winnipeg and needed overtime to decide things with the Sharks skating away with a 3-2 win.
The Sharks are on fire, but the Jets have been stout on the home ice this season. We’ll take the hosts to notch the win in what should be a close one.
Nashville Predators @ Anaheim Ducks, 10:00 PM EST, ESPN+
Predators vs. Ducks pick:
Our final game of the evening will see the Predators kick off a three-game California trip with a game in Anaheim versus the Ducks. Both squads enter tonight’s game coming off of losses. For the Predators, it was a 5-3 home defeat at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. The Ducks were last in action at home on Sunday versus the Los Angeles Kings, falling by a score of 3-2.
The Predators are hanging on to 4th place in the west, but the team has been average of late while going 5-5 over the last 10 games. Interestingly, each of the team’s last three victories have come via the shootout. Nashville has been pretty good on the road this season with a record of 17-13-4 thus far.
The Ducks have struggled on an overall basis throughout the season, but the team has showed a little life while winning three of its last five. However, that stretch came on the heels of a five-game winless run. The club is average at home with a record of 14-13-8 on the season.
Pekka Rinne is the expected starter for the Predators. He’s 24-17-3 this season with a .913 save percentage and 2.53 goals against average. Rinne has wins in three of his last five with 15 goals allowed. John Gibson has the probable tag for the Ducks. He has victories in two of his last five while allowing 12 goals.
Ryan Johansen leads the way for the Predators in both points and assists with 55 and 44. Viktor Arvidsson tops the team in goals with 28. For the Ducks, Ryan Getzlaf is the team leader in points and assists with 40 and 29. Jakob Silfverberg is the leading goal scorer with 19.
This will be the third meeting of the season for these two teams. They have split the first two with the home team winning each time. The last meeting came back in November in Nashville with the hosts exiting the building with a 5-2 win.
The playoff race in the west is getting really tight. The Predators simply can’t afford to stub their toe against one of the league’s poorer squads. We’ll take the visitors to skate to victory.