It’s been a handful of days since my last free NHL pick, although I hit another winner with my most recent pick of the Oilers +128 in Nashville on Monday.
I won’t go into any detail on that one as it was some time ago, but it did mark two straight wins after a frustrating cold stretch, so let’s make sure we build on that one on this six-game Friday night schedule!
Season Record: 105-92-1
Now let’s dive into this free NHL pick featuring the Blues vs. Devils from New Jersey!
Blues vs. Devils Betting Odds
- Blues (-208)
- Devils (+186)
- Blues -1.5 (+131)
- Devils +1.5 (-151)
- Over 5.5 (-104)
- Under 5.5 (-106)
Blues vs. Devils NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these clubs before I get into my final pick!
The Blues are the NHL’s hottest team entering tonight’s action as they’ll bring an eight-game win streak into this on, the most recent of which kicked off this three-game road trip with a win over the Rangers on broadway.
While there have been games that needed overtime and a shootout during the stretch, their domination at both ends of the ice has also led to same lopsided affairs as well.
They held the Rangers to just one goal on 22 shots on Tuesday, marking the fifth time during the eight-game win streak that they’ve allowed one goal or fewer.
Five of the eight came at home where they are among the elite defenses, and they sit tied for 12th with 3.06 goals against per game on the road despite allowing just three goals over their last three on the road.
Offensively they’ve been excellent of late and have been able to generate offense regardless of venue as well.
The Blues have scored at least three goals in seven of the eight wins and have averaged 3.63 goals per game during that stretch and 4.17 per game over their last six.
As a result, the Blues will enter this one tied for 10th with 3.09 goals per game on the road this season, hanging around some elite company in the Lightning and Bruins in that department.
Speaking of elite, the Blues’ road power play ranks among the best in the business, sitting third with a 25.3% clip away from home on the season.
That power play actually failed to score over their first four wins of the streak, but has since gone 4 for 9 (44.4%) over their last four.
While the Blues are red-hot and have managed a 17-11-5 record on the road this season, let’s not mistake them for an elite possession team, however. In fact, their road possession figures are among the worst in the game.
At 5v5 on the road, the Blues rank 27th with a 46.31% Corsi For%, 23rd with a 45.97% Scoring Chances For% and 26th with a 43.11% High-Danger Chances For%.
The good news is that the Blues have received a .924 Sv% at 5v5 from their goaltending away from home this season. The bad news is that Jake Allen has been the better of their two goaltenders on the road, but tonight’s start will go to Jordan Binnington.
Binnington will enter this one sporting a 2.56 GAA and .911 Sv% on the season, going 30-11-7 in the process, but his numbers slip to a 3.10 GAA and .903 Sv% on the road and a 10-7-2 record to show for it.
Now, Binnington was solid in turning aside 21 of 22 Rangers shots to open his month of March on Tuesday, but also surrendered seven goals over his previous two starts with an .851 Sv% in that time.
After taking the NHL by storm en route to a Stanley Cup championship last season, Binnington’s sophomore season has certainly been a bumpy ride, more so on the road.
While the Blues are of course the hotter team entering this one, the Devils haven’t been too shabby lately either with six wins over their last 10 games, although just one over their last four.
It’s too bad the offense has struggled as the Devils’ defense has actually been much better of late.
New Jersey hasn’t allowed more than three goals in a game over their last nine and have actually averaged just 1.71 goals against per game over their last seven.
They’ve allowed one goal or fewer in three of those seven games.
They still rank 27th with 3.16 goals against per game at home this season, but have yielded just three goals over their last two games at home.
What’s more is their penalty kill that sits eighth with an 83.7% mark at home this season while that kill has gone 24 for 26 over their last 10 games, good for a cool 92.3% mark over that stretch.
Of course, with defense and penalty killing like that, the Devils should be winning more often, but they’ve been unable to generate much at the other end of the ice.
Not only do the Devils rank 22nd with 2.94 goals per game at home, they’ve also averaged only 1.50 goals per game over their last four and 1.88 goals per game over their last eight.
They were also shut out by these Blues while mustering just 17 shots in a 3-0 loss back on February 18th in St. Louis.
That said, their offense is a lot better at home and their power play has been real good in going 7 for 19 (36.8%) over their last six games.
However, the Devils are also one of the worst possession teams at home this season and are unable to gain an advantage over the Blues in that department.
At 5v5 at home, the Devils rank last with a 46.43% Corsi For%, last with a 45.12% Scoring Chances For% and 27th with a 49.18% High-Danger Chances For%.
Getting the nod in goal for the home side tonight will be veteran Cory Schneider who has bounced back with some nice outings of late.
Schneider’s early-season struggles led to a demotion to the AHL, but he’s coming off a shutout of the Ducks in Anaheim, stopping all 34 shots he faced in that one.
He also allowed just four goals over his previous two starts and owns a .966 Sv% over his last three starts as a result.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is he owns a 3.68 GAA and .882 Sv% in 12 appearances for the season as a whole and wasn’t spectacular in posting a 2.71 GAA and .903 Sv% in 14 AHL games as well.
Still, the Devils will be hoping their once-reliable netminder can find his game and continue to support and mentor the young Mackenzie Blackwood who will start the second half of their back-to-back tomorrow night in New York against the Rangers.
This one here is tough for multiple angles.
On one hand, the under is an option in my opinion as both teams have played really well defensively of late, but the Blues could spoil that if they can get to Schneider with their red-hot offense.
That said, as hot as that offense is, I want to see if the Devils can continue to defend well for one more game and deliver some massive value tonight.
Yes, the Blues are the much better team and are red-hot. However, even those attributes don’t guarantee victory.
I’m looking at Jordan Binnington’s work on the road and it’s simply been wildly volatile all season long. Their road defense has been good of late, but they’re still allowing more than 3.00 goals per game on the road and the Devils, despite ranking 22nd, are averaging just shy of 3.00 goals per game at home.
The Blues dynamite road power play could very well be mitigated by an eighth-ranked Devils home penalty kill that is scorching hot at the moment.
Furthermore, the Devils’ power play is hot at the moment and the Blues are tied for 21st with a weak 77.6% mark on the penalty kill on the road and that kill has been getting torched of late, going just 4 for 9 (44.4%) over their last four games. Yikes.
Schneider’s inconsistency is a concern, but man I am actually seeing some value in the home team as a massive home underdog in this one.
The Blues obviously win this game more often than not, but I see some avenues for the home side to have success tonight, so give me New Jersey as huge +186 home dogs tonight.