I made a single NHL pick last night featuring the Blue Jackets and Kings, but unfortunately this one didn’t work out for us.
The Blue Jackets continued to win without key members of their lineup in tow – including their No.1 goaltender – as they built a 2-1 lead heading into the third period, added a goal five minutes into the final frame and while the Kings closed to within one, an empty-netter sealed a 4-2 Jackets win and sunk my pick at -107 odds.
It’s been a hot few weeks nonetheless and I’ll look to shrug that one off and take a look at tonight’s big 12-game NHL schedule!
Season Record: 67-57-1
Now let’s take a look at this free NHL pick featuring the Avalanche vs. Rangers from Madison Square Garden in New York!
Avalanche vs. Rangers Betting Odds
- Avalanche (-146)
- Rangers (+132)
- Avalanche -1.5 (+170)
- Rangers +1.5 (-195)
- Over 6.5 (-109)
- Under 6.5 (-101)
Avalanche vs. Rangers NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these teams before getting into my final pick!
The Avs will skate in the second half of their New York back-to-back set after taking a 1-0 loss last night at the hands of the Islanders.
It was a cooling of the Avs’ red-hot offense that has scored 16 goals over their previous three games as the Islanders managed to stifle the league’s sixth-ranked road offense.
While the Avs couldn’t muster anything at the offensive end, they also held their own defensively, something they’ve done well on the road this season and not so well at home.
At home, the Avs rank 28th with 3.30 goals against per game, however they’ll enter this one tonight ranked fourth with just 2.52 goals against per game on the road where their penalty kill ranks 13th with a 79.5% mark.
While their offense has worked on the road as a whole, it’s mostly thanks to their play at even strength as their road power play, for whatever reason, has struggled to the tune of a 14.5% clip, good for a share of 24th league wide.
Indeed, despite a little better than average advanced metrics on the road, the Avalanche own the NHL’s third-best road shooting percentage at 5v5 with a mark of 9.80% which helps explain their sixth-ranked road defense despite a 24th-ranked road power play.
After Pavel Francouz took a tough-luck 1-0 loss last night against the Islanders, it will be Philipp Grubauer getting the starting nod for the road side tonight.
Grubauer has dealt with injuries that have slowed him a bit this season, but he’s been solid with a 2.87 GAA and .911 Sv% across 25 starts.
That said, like his team’s defensive game, Grubauer has been better on the road as he owns a 2.66 GAA and .919 Sv% in 13 road starts on the campaign while he’s posted a 2.50 GAA and .912 Sv% across a pair of January starts to this point.
The Rangers return home after a four-game road trip that saw them drop the final three, most recently being edged 2-1 by the Canucks in Vancouver.
If you’ve read these picks throughout the season you might have noticed that I’ve been rather harsh on the Rangers. Not because I dislike them whatsoever, I actually love where they’re headed, but I’m just going by the numbers.
Their offense has clicked well this season as they’ll enter this one ranked 11th with 3.35 goals per game on home ice this season where their power play sits 18th with a 20.5% mark.
However, it’s their defense and possession game that has me bearish on the team as it stands today.
They rank 25th with 3.20 goals against per game on home ice this season where their 34.2 shots against per game ranks 30th. They are one of the handful of teams with a negative average shot differential at home with a mark of -3.8, the worst mark in the NHL.
The advanced stats don’t get any prettier.
At 5v5 at home, the Rangers rank last with a 44.67% Corsi For%, last with a 45.72% scoring chances for percentage and 25th with a 50.12% high-danger chances for percentage. Those are just pitiful numbers and ones that don’t lend themselves to any long-term success for the team.
However, this is a big night towards the Rangers’ future as goaltender Igor Shesterkin is going to make his NHL debut as the team’s goaltender of the future at 24 years of age.
To be blunt, he’s been unbelievable leading up to this night. Here are his numbers over the last four seasons:
- 2016-17 with St. Petersburg SKA (KHL): 1.64 GAA / .937 Sv%
- 2017-18 with St. Petersburg SKA (KHL): 169 GAA / .933 Sv%
- 2018-19 with St. Petersburg SKA (KHL): 1.11 GAA / .953 Sv%
- 2019-20 with Hartford (AHL): 1.93 GAA / .932 Sv%
Last season in the world’s second-best hockey league, he was giving up about one goal per 60 minutes of action. That’s hard to fathom.
He’ll make his debut playing behind a team that allows a lot of shots and loses the possession game by the widest margin in the NHL, but that’s about as impressive of a resume you can have leading up to your NHL debut.
Needless to say, the Rangers might have something special here in the young Russian.
The Avs are playing their second game in as many nights and I’m going to give Shesterkin the benefit of the doubt and say he’s going to be tough to beat despite the NHL being a whole new ball game than what he’s faced to this point.
I don’t like the Avs on the moneyline here, and I don’t trust the Rangers pretty much anywhere, but I like something with the total.
As noted, the Avs red-hot offense was cooled right off last night, but they remained stout defensively on the road.
The Rangers haven’t defended well this season, however Shesterkin seems like he’s ready to produce at the NHL level and I think he enjoys a successful NHL debut tonight.
As a result, I’m thinking we could get a low-scoring affair in this one. Both teams played to the under in their most recent games and I think they’ll do so again here, so give me the under 6.5 tonight from Broadway.