My most recent free NHL pick didn’t go my way as the Bruins and Blue Jackets got together from Boston.
The Blue Jackets are absolutely ravaged by injuries at the moment and are without their No.1 goaltender Joonas Korpisalo who had fully hit his stride in December.
As a result, you’d figure it would be a tough game in Boston against the Bruins, one where I saw a blowout as a possibility when I took the Bruins on the puckline.
That said, good on the Blue Jackets for once again defying expectations in this one, coming back from a 1-0 deficit, tying it early in the third and even winning the game in OT to pull off the unthinkable upset.
I don’t mind that loss as I truly believed it was the right pick and the Bruins just failed to take advantage there while we have to tip our caps to the Jackets as well.
Let’s put that one behind us and move onto a busy Saturday night NHL schedule!
Season Record: 64-55-1
Let’s take a look at this free NHL pick featuring the Avalanche vs. Devils from New Jersey!
Avalanche vs. Devils Betting Odds
- Avalanche (-200)
- Devils (+170)
- Avalanche -1.5 (+130)
- Devils +1.5 (-150)
- Over 6 (-120)
- Under 6 (+100)
Avalanche vs. Devils NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these clubs before I get into my final pick!
There’s little doubt the Avs haven’t played their best hockey of late.
They snapped their three-game win streak on Thursday, however, with a thorough 7-3 win over the Western Conference-leading St. Louis Blues while outshooting them 42-27 in the process.
Still, that’s just their second win over their last seven games as they fell back to the pack a little but in that difficult Central Division.
Now, the Avs will hit the road for the first of three tonight in New Jersey.
They’ll enter this one sporting a tidy 13-6-2 record on the road this season where they’ve been excellent on home ice.
Their offense has been very good regardless of where they’ve played this season and they’ll enter this one ranked fourth with 3.48 goals per game on the road.
However, it’s their defense that’s been the biggest change from their play at home versus on the road.
At home, the Avalanche rank 28th with 3.30 goals against per game, but on the road that numbers shrinks to 2.62 goals against per game which checks in as the fourth best mark in the league.
Perhaps the Avs have been fortune to sport such solid numbers at both ends of the ice as they’re a middle-of-the-pack team in most advanced numbers on the road, but they have indeed benefited from a top-ranked 10.38% shooting percentage on the road at 5v5 which is where most of their goals have come from this season considering their road power play ranks just 22nd with a 15.5% clip.
They’ve also benefited from a .922 save percentage on the road, mostly between Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz.
The Avs haven’t announced a netminder for this one tonight, but both goaltenders have been very good on the road this season.
Philipp Grubauer – who has received each of the last three starts – owns a 2.72 GAA and .918 Sv% on the road this season while backup Pavel Francouz has posted a stellar 1.94 GAA and .943 Sv% on the road to go along with a sparkling 6-1-0 record.
Don’t look now but the Devils have rattled off three straight wins entering this Saturday showdown, most recently going into New York and upsetting the Islanders as +190 underdogs by a 2-1 count.
They’ve actually won four of their last five and their lone loss in that time was a 5-4 overtime loss to the red-hot Maple Leafs back on December 27th.
Of course, when you sit second-last in the Eastern Conference with a 6-8-6 record on home ice, your numbers just aren’t going to look good and that’s certainly the case with the Devils both on the surface and underneath.
The Devils enter this one ranked 26th with 2.85 goals per game at home while their 3.35 goals against per game at home checks in at 29th.
On special teams, the Devils sit 26th with a 15.1% power play on home ice, but 19th with a decent 80% mark on the penalty kill at home.
The possession numbers aren’t looking all too good, either.
At 5v5 at home, the Devils rank 26th with a 48.49% Corsi For percentage (CF%), 28th with a 48.33% scoring chances for percentage (SCF%) but also move up to 17th with a solid 53.14% high-danger chances for percentage (HDCF%).
Now, the Devils have actually posted a solid +2.6 average shot differential at home this season, but have been bitten by a last-ranked .880 Sv% on home ice.
Looking to improve that number tonight will be Mackenzie Blackwood who is responsible for their three-game winning streak and has been particularly good over the last two with a .950 Sv% in that time.
Still, he’s been plagued by inconsistency this season behind a weak Devils blueline and has struggled at home at times.
He’ll enter this one with a 2.79 GAA and .909 Sv% on the season, but his numbers have slipped a bit at home where he owns a 2.85 GAA and .897 Sv% across 15 starts and 16 appearances at the Prudential Center.
The Devils have played better of late, that’s for sure. Winning on Long Island is not easy and the Devils were able to do that after knocking off the powerhouse Bruins at home in their previous game.
However, this is going to be one heck of a test.
For one, After losing three in a row and five of six, the Avalanche pummelled the best team in the west and hung seven goals on a very good defensive team.
Their power play is white-hot in going 5 for 9 over their last two games and their lineup is fully healthy and performed as such their last time out.
The Devils will be missing some of their best forwards in Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt for this one tonight, so their offensive ability is hampered while they are going to get all they can handle on the defensive end.
I think the Avs are set to go on a roll at this point after gaining plenty of steam in that blowout win on Thursday, and I think they get plenty of offense going in this one.
As a result, I’m going to take the Avalanche on the puckline here to go into New Jersey and win this one by at least a pair of goals tonight.