It was a perfect 2-0 night last night for our NHL picks as we were able to hit a home underdog as well as a road favourite. The Philadelphia Flyers scored the first two goals and were able to hold onto a 2-1 lead for the better part of the third period and capitalize as home underdogs in a 2-1 victory. Our road favourite predicted the Boston Bruins to come out of Edmonton with two points and the B’s did just that thanks to three first period goals and two on the evening from Jarome Iginla in a 4-2 Bruins victory. Just three games on the NHL slate tonight but I do see a couple picks I like so let’s keep rolling heading into the weekend.
New Jersey Devils @ Pittsburgh Penguins
My Pick – OVER 5 (-120) @ 5Dimes.eu ($520 free)
Things won’t get an easier tonight for the ice cold Devils as they travel to Pittsburgh to clash with a red-hot Penguins squad. The Devils come into tonight’s action having dropped four of their last five games, while the Penguins are on the complete opposite side of that spectrum, having won four of their past five. Usually when the Devils play a road game (or a home game for that matter) they like to slow the pace down and clog up the neutral zone to lull their opponent to sleep to keep the game close. I’m not so sure that strategy is going to be so effective tonight against a team that boasts some of the best players in the world. Evgeni Malkin is the hottest player on the planet right now with five goals and 15 assists during a 10-game point streak and Malkin has recorded at least one point in 16 of his last 17 contests. Sidney Crosby is doing his usual thing scoring three goals and adding four assists over his last four games while leading the NHL with 43 points so far on the season. Although these two superstars are arguably two of the top three players in the world, I’m not convinced their defensive ability is looked at all that often. As mentioned, Crosby leads the NHL with 43 points but he is just +2 on the year, while Malkin is trailing Crosby with 38 points on the season, but he is just +1 on the season. This means a couple things. One, they score a lot of points on the powerplay which is clicking at over 26% on the season, and two, they are vulnerable to be scored against in even strength situations.
Not that New Jersey is a high-octane offensive team, but the Devils have scored four goals in back-to-back games and you bet Devils leading scorer Jaromir Jagr is excited to return to Pittsburgh after all the magical years the big Czech spent in the Steel City. The OVER is 3-1 in the Devils last four games and the Penguins have scored five goals in two of their last five games. Let’s look for the Penguins to score tonight and get past a low total from the Consol Energy Centre in Pittsburgh, PA.
Washington Capitals @ Florida Panthers
My Pick – CAPITALS (-125) @ 5Dimes.eu ($520 free)
Two former Southeast division rivals will do battle tonight in Florida as the Washington Capitals will visit the Panthers. Both teams have been playing well lately as the basement-dwelling Panthers have won three of their last five while the Capitals have been victorious in four of their last five contests. Perhaps the biggest storyline coming into this game tonight is the talk about Alex Ovechkin’s chase for 50 goals in 50 games. Through 29 games the Russian sniper has 26 goals, a total which was boosted on Tuesday night against Tampa Bay as Ovi potted four goals in a 6-5 Capitals shootout victory. The Capitals as a team have scored 19 goals over their last 5 games, thus averaging almost four goals per game over that stretch. A lot of that scoring has to do with their powerplay as the Capitals were 3 for 5 with the man advantage on Tuesday and have a success rate of almost 30% over their last five games. Their 24% clip on the season more than doubles the 11% clip the Panthers currently sit at, and over their last 10 head-to-head matchups the Capitals sit at 34.5% on the powerplay, again doubling the Panthers success rate of 17.1%. The Capitals are 8-2 against the Panthers over that stretch and outscore them 4.1 to 2.3 on average.
We were bitten by the Panthers on Tuesday night as we took the Red Wings but it was Florida who came out on top, but I just don’t feel the Panthers are good enough to do it again. The win on Tuesday was just the fourth in Florida’s last 12 home games and just their 7th in their last 23 games overall. The Capitals are 5-1 in their last six games, 5-0 in their last five games against the Panthers, and 10-5 in their last 15 games on the road against the Panthers. Take the road favourite tonight to continue their hot streak and take down the Panthers.