I made a quartet of free NHL picks last night, and as has been the case a lot of late, we ended the night with a substantial profit thanks to a 3-1 night at the office.
The lone loss of the night was ever so close to making it a perfect night as I had the Bruins on the puckline over the visiting Jets.
The teams traded goals for most of the night, but the Bruins took a 5-4 lead midway through the third, giving our pick hope. However, they were unable to add an insurance marker or an empty-netter and we dropped that one by a single goal.
However, it’s was smooth sailin’ from there on out.
I had the Lightning to deliver the visiting Coyotes a loss in regulation time at -125 odds, and that one came to fruition.
In fact, this one wasn’t even close as the Lightning scored four times while posting a goose egg at the other end of the ice in a smooth 4-0 victory.
I also had the Canucks and Panthers to play a high-scoring affair in Sunrise, going over the 6.5 total.
This one wasn’t as easy. The Panthers led 3-1 after one, however the scoring slowed from there and it took a meaningless Canucks goal with seven minutes left to push the total over in a 5-2 Panthers win.
Finally, I had the Oilers to go into Montreal and deal the Canadiens their eighth consecutive loss at nice +113 odds.
Despite falling behind 2-0, the Oilers closed it to within one goal entering the third where they would add three more unanswered goals in a 4-2 Oilers win.
All told, we nabbed 2.13 units in profit on the night as I turn my attention to tonight’s three-game Friday night schedule!
Season Record: 74-59-1
Now let’s turn our attention to tonight’s free NHL pick featuring the Penguins vs. Avalanche from the Pepsi Center in Denver!
Penguins vs. Avalanche Betting Odds
- Penguins (+134)
- Avalanche (-148)
- Penguins +1.5 (-180)
- Avalanche -1.5 (+160)
- Over 6.5 (+104)
- Under 6.5 (-115)
Penguins vs. Avalanche NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these two teams before getting into my final pick!
Over the last 22 games, guess who the best team in the NHL is? Can’t be the injury ravaged Penguins, right?
That’s indeed the case as the Penguins just keep winning hockey gamed despite being devastated by the injury bug.
They’ll hit the road for this one in Colorado as the NHL’s fourth-ranked home offense this season where they’ve scored 3.47 goals per game.
Defensively, they’ve slipped into the middle of the pack as they’ve allowed 3.05 goals per game on the road this season but they’ve allowed just seven goals over their last three on the road as well.
Their special teams are also roughly in the middle of the pack away from home as their tied for 15th with an 18.2% clip on the power play while their penalty on the road checks in at share of 20th with a 77.2% mark.
The possession numbers, however, are among the best in the business on the road.
At 5v5 on the road, the Penguins rank fourth with a 52.05% Corsi For%, first with a 52.98% Scoring Chances For% and first with a 54.85% High-Danger Chances For%.
Add in their third-ranked 9.96% shooting percentage at 5v5 on the road and it’s not hard to see why the Penguins have been able to score goals away from home in generating plenty of chances and capitalizing on them.
The Penguins have yet to announce a starting netminder for this one tonight after Tristan Jarry started each of the last two including a 4-3 win to start this road trip in Vegas their last time out.
If Jarry gets the nod, he’ll bring an eye-popping 2.04 GAA and .934 Sv% into action across 19 starts and 21 appearances.
While the numbers are still very good, he’s been worse on the road where he owns a 2.52 GAA and .923 Sv% across seven starts and eight appearances.
He hasn’t been quite as good of late, however, posting a 2.97 GAA and .910 Sv% over three January starts.
If it’s Matt Murray, he would bring a 2.92 GAA and .896 Sv% into action across 24 outings.
Murray has also posted a poor 3.14 GAA and .872 Sv% on the road, although he stopped 26 of 28 shots en route to a win in Montreal last Saturday in his lone start of January after posting a .878 Sv% in just three December appearances.
The Avs return home from a three-game road trip that started well with a 5-2 in in New Jersey but finished with back-to-back losses to the Islanders and Rangers.
They scored just three goals over the final two games of that trip, however offense has been anything but an issue, but rather an asset, especially at home this season.
Entering this one, the Avalanche rank second in the league while averaging 3.90 goals per game on home ice this season and seventh with a 24.7% mark on the power play at home as well.
The problem has certainly been on defense and on the penalty kill.
While they’re one of the better road defenses in the NHL, the Avs sink all the way to 28th in allowing 3.30 goals per game at home where their penalty kill ranks 25th with a mark of 78%.
The power play went 0 for 8 on the three-game trip, however, while the penalty kill has allowed one goal in six of their last seven games overall.
Like the Penguins, however, the Avalanche are a strong possession team in this scenario.
At 5v5 on home ice this season, the Avalanche rank 11th with a 52.43% Corsi For%, ninth with a 54.38% Scoring Chances For% and eighth with a 55.99% High-Danger Chances For%.
Also like the Penguins, they’ve been able to capitalize on their chances thanks to a seventh-ranked 9.44% 5v5 home shooting percentage.
Goaltending as been a little bit of an issue of late, especially at home, and it will be up to Pavel Francouz to turn that around in this one.
Francouz has largely been a pleasant surprise as he sports a 2.32 GAA and .929 Sv% on the season, but he’s been worse at home where he owns a 2.77 GAA and .913 Sv%, although those are hardly poor numbers.
He’s coming off an excellent outing in stopping 32 of 33 shots against the Islanders, but took a tough-luck 1-0 loss in that one. He’s actually now allowed just one goal against in four of his last six starts.
This here is a tough one.
You have two of the better teams in the NHL and two teams that own both a strong offense and strong possession numbers.
However, I can’t help but think there is more regression coming the way of Tristan Jarry, and we’ve seen some of that regression kick in across his work in January to this point.
If he’s not on the top of his game, this Avalanche team can bury you. I think that’s going to happen tonight.
No, I’m not anticipating a blowout, but I do feel like the Avalanche are going to get their offense going in this one and while they’ve been excellent in fighting off injuries, they are missing key pieces to their blueline.
I’m going to roll the dice a little bit here. Rather than lay juice on the -148 moneyline odds, I am going to lower my risk to a one-unit play (rather than a 1.48-unit play) on the Avalanche to win this one in regulation at +100 odds.
The risk is lower and the reward is the same. Of course, with all the overtime games in the NHL these days, the in-game risk of this one extending past regulation is there.
Still, I think the Avs get 4-5 goals in this one and I would hope that would be enough for them to take this one down in the first 60 minutes tonight.