NHL Picks and Predictions for January 18th

It is a busy night for a Tuesday in January, the NHL has a slate of 10 tilts tonight.

Tonight we will most likely see Sid “the kid” return from his recent head woes to take on the dominant Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings are once again a powerhouse this year and the ageless Nicolas Lidstrom is still the most productive and capable defensemen in the league. The Red Wings will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight in what could very well be a preview of the Stanley Cup finals.

Another team poised to make the finals this year is the surging Philadelphia Flyers. The conventional wisdom says the Philadelphia Flyers are a team built for the playoffs. And maybe that should serve as a warning to the rest of the league. With so much attention focused on the powerhouses in the Western Conference and the marquee Eastern teams in Pittsburgh and Washington, it is sometimes easy to overlook just how good and consistent Philadelphia has been so far.

NHL Betting Picks For Today:

Boston Bruins @ Carolina Hurricanes (Total: 5.5)

We hit last night on the Bruins spanking the Canes’ in a Monday afternoon tilt and I expect this game to have some intense after tones from that match. Boston controlled the tempo for all three periods and gave little room for Eric Staal and the Hurricanes offense to skate. Yesterday’s afternoon goal plethora is not something to marvel at, in fact these teams have a pretty consistent streak of producing high-scoring affairs. The total has gone OVER in 10 of Boston’s last 13 games when playing on the road against Carolina.

Carolina’s sloppy effort was somewhat surprising, considering the Hurricanes (22-17-6) arrived in Boston having notched 23 goals in their previous five games and hadn’t been shut out since Oct. 30. Eric Staal’s season-best eight-game points streak came to an end for Carolina, which lost in regulation for just the second time in 11 games (7-2-2).The Carolina Hurricanes will look to avenge yesterday’s embarrassment tonight at the RBC Centre, a spot the Canes’ have protected all year long. Carolina has one of the better home records in the league and they do because they turn into scoring freaks. The Canes’ own the leagues best home-scoring average at 3.4 and they pepper the opposing teams net for an average of 32.3 shots per contest. The total has gone OVER in 5 of Carolina’s last 5 games at home.

The OVER is quite favorable in this spot tonight as we have a lopsided contest yesterday working with a strong home team. The last time the Canes’ were pumped for 3+goals in a game and did not produce a 3+ goal performance the next game was October 22 of last year. This Carolina club is a resilient bunch and I expect them to bounce back with a strong performance at home. The Boston Bruins are also a tough bunch and I do not expect them to take the foot off the peddle tonight.

We will consider the goals to keep on pouring on tonight in a classic grudge match scenario.

Pick: OVER 5.5 (+102)

Columbus Blue Jackets @ Tampa Bay Lightning (Total: 5.5)

The Columbus Blue Jackets may be the most inconsistent team of this young NHL season thus far. At times they look capable, others they look like the Toronto Marlies could give them a fight. Twenty-four hours after pulling out a big win in Nationwide Arena, the Blue Jackets suffered a heart-breaker in Joe Louis. Johan Franzen’s game-winner only 45 seconds into overtime gave the Red Wings their third win in four games against the Blue Jackets this season. The Blue Jackets forced a 5-5 tie with 1:04 remaining and their goaltender pulled for an extra skater. Jackets captain Rick Nash scored the goal to force overtime. Nash thought he had the game-winner with 10.8 seconds remaining in regulation, but replays showed his wrap-around attempt did not get under the pad of Red Wings goaltender Joey MacDonald. Derick Brassard, R.J. Umberger, Grant Clitsome and Matt Calvert scored for the Jackets, while Nash added two assists.

For an outsider looking in, the Lightning’s latest struggles are not a tell-tale sign of their season thus far. Tampa Bay’s special teams this season have been especially consistent. Lately, however, it’s been the team’s downfall. In a loss to Carolina on Saturday, the Lightning allowed a season-high four power play goals — one into an open net — along with a shorthanded goal, the ninth given up this season by Tampa Bay. In addition, the Lightning came up empty on five power play chances, which ended up being the difference in the game. The Lightning power play has been a strength throughout the season, and with Columbus coming to town on Tuesday, will need to be once again if Tampa Bay wants to win games. While Lightning head coach Guy Boucher has been using a power play unit featuring five forwards, the experiment will likely end after Saturday’s showing.

There are many factors that tilt this game in the favor of Tampa, the most dominant o f factors is the fact the Tampa has not done on a three game losing streak in close to three months. Columbus is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games and is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games on the road. Tampa Bay is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games at home and will look to snap their two game slide. Tampa Bay has won four of five all-time meetings at home against Columbus but is 5-4-1 overall in the series.

The line may be pricey but we will consider the Lightning getting it done at home against an inferior Blue Jackets’ club, take a look at the moneyline if you have enough swagger.

Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning -160 (Moneyline)

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