I endured a three-day cold streak coming off a red-hot stretch this week, but that drought was snapped with a 3-1 night last night with my four free NHL picks.
I’ll start with the losing pick, which was a tough one to swallow.
After tying the game 2-2 late-ish in the third period, the Islanders took a penalty with under two minutes to go in their game against the Rangers, and Chris Kreider made them pay with a go-ahead power play marker to make it 3-2 Rangers and that’s the way it ended, giving us a hefty loss at -149 on the moneyline.
However, everything else went our way.
It was a little bit if a risk to take the Capitals on the puckline at rare -125 odds considering they lost 5-1 to the Devils just five days earlier, but I felt a strong offensive output was forthcoming.
That was indeed the case as Alex Ovechkin led the way with a hat trick while Ilya Samsonov did his part at the other end of the ice and the Capitals exacted revenge on the Devils, beating them 5-2 and netting us a winner.
At about the same time, the Maple Leafs and Flames were playing a tight-knit affair in Toronto where I had the Flames as notable +142 road dogs.
Calgary held a 1-0 lead into the third period, but the Maple Leafs tied it before the midway mark of the period. However, this one went into overtime and then the shootout where Matthew Tkachuk’s goal was the only one scored and the Flames hit us a nice winner with a 2-1 shootout win.
Shoutout to David Rittich by the way who made several 10-bell saves and was easily the reason why the Flames won that one.
Finally, we hit another winner at quality odds between the Sharks and Avalanche where I had Colorado on the puckline at +120.
This one wasn’t close as the Avs took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission and would add two more while Philipp Grubauer got back on track with a shutout in a 4-0 Avalanche victory.
All told, we netted 2.13 units on the night despite the hefty Islanders loss, and came very close to a perfect 4 for 4 night.
Now, we’ll turn our attention to this three-game Friday night schedule!
Season Record: 80-67-1
Now let’s check out this free NHL pick featuring the Penguins vs. Red Wings from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit!
Penguins vs. Red Wings Betting Odds
- Penguins (-230)
- Red Wings (+190)
- Penguins -1.5 (+125)
- Red Wings +1.5 (-145)
- Over 6 (-115)
- Under 6 (-105)
Penguins vs. Red Wings NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these clubs before getting into my final pick!
Tonight marks the second game in as many nights for these Penguins as they saw their four-game win streak snapped with a 4-1 loss in Boston last night despite taking a 1-0 lead just 24 seconds into that one.
The lead was courtesy of Sidney Crosby who has come off the IR white-hot with five points through his first two games since returning.
The Penguins saw their power play cooled by an elite Bruins penalty kill in that one as well, going 0 for 3 after going 4 for 8 in wins over the Coyotes and Wild over their last two games.
We’re still talking about an elite road offense here that was simply shut down by one of, if not the best defense the NHL has to offer.
The Penguins enter this one ranked sixth with 3.36 goals per game on the road this season, although they’ll look for Crosby to give their road power play a kick in the pants as they are tied for just 15th with an 18.9% clip on the man advantage away from home. Of course, that power play unit has been decimated by injuries like the remainder of their roster has been.
The Penguins have slipped a bit defensively on the road as the season has moved along as they’ve allowed at least three goals in each of their last four on the road, however their offense has bailed them out, winning all three of those and winning four straight road games prior to last night’s loss.
They’ll look to get back to their stout defensive ways on the road from earlier in the season tonight, but they’ll need a better effort from Matt Murray who is the presumed starter in this one with Tristan Jarry taking the loss last night in Boston.
Murray isn’t having a great season, mostly due to his work on the road.
He’ll enter tonight’s contest sporting a 2.91 GAA and .896 Sv5% on the season, but he’s also posted a 3.11 GAA and .875 Sv% on the road across 13 starts compared to his 2.70 GAA and .914 Sv% at home.
He’s been better of late, however, posting a 2.40 GAA and .915 Sv% over his last two starts – both on the road – in wins over the Canadiens and Avalanche. He’s now won four of his last five starts, including a 5-3 win in Detroit when he allowed three goals on 28 shots back on December 7th.
The Red Wings showed a little life in rattling off back-to-back wins over the Canadiens and Senators at home, but were then blasted by a 5-1 count to the Sabres on Sunday before getting shelled again for an 8-2 loss on Long Island two nights later.
So, the Red Wings will enter this one having lost two in a row and being outscored 13-3 in that time.
It’s been that type of season for the Red Wings who enter this one sporting an 8-15-1 record on home ice this season.
When you own a -81 goal differential, you know things aren’t going well at both ends of the ice, and that’s certainly been the case in the Motor City this season.
They’ve also been bad on the penalty kill at home, sitting 27th with a 76.1% mark, however their power play is the single respectable aspect of their home game with a 20% clip that sits 19th in the league.
The biggest problem I see with the Red Wings tonight is in goal.
While we don’t know who will start in this one for the home side yet, we do know for sure that it’s going to be someone who is having an atrocious season as Jonathan Bernier is out of the lineup until at least the All-Star break.
Jimmy Howard took the 5-1 loss to the Sabres on Sunday and got the start against the Islanders on Tuesday, only to allow three more goals on just seven shots. He’s allowed eight goals on his last 34 shots against, good for a cool .765 Sv%.
Calvin Pickard took over on Tuesday, but when on to surrender five goals of his own on just 19 shots, good for a .737 Sv%.
Howard would enter this one sporting a ghastly 4.26 GAA and .876 Sv% with an atrocious 2-16-1 record on the season while he’s gone 1-9-0 at home with a 3.79 GAA and .894 Sv%.
Pickard has made just one start and appeared in only three NHL games this season, but would bring a 5.46 GAA and .797 Sv% into action from the NHL this season while he owns a mediocre 2.90 GAA and .902 Sv% in 24 AHL contests this season.
Needless to say, the Red Wings goaltending situations is… subpar tonight.
When you see a home team in the NHL – and I don’t care who – listed at +190 odds, you have to dive deep into that matchup and see if there is indeed value there.
I have taken the Red Wings as +215 home underdogs against the Bruins this season and won the pick. I actually have a nice track record with big underdogs this season, especially at home.
I simply can’t pull the trigger here.
The Penguins are playing their second game in as many nights tonight and Murray has not been great on the road overall this season, although much better of late.
That said, this Red Wings team is ice cold at both ends of the ice entering this one, and that doesn’t even mention that the Penguins are about the best possession team in the NHL on the road.
Some could view this as a “let down” game for the Penguins after a battle of the titans last night in Boston, and hey, maybe the Red Wings somehow pull this one out and get a miracle outing out of either Howard or Pickard.
But I just can’t bet on that when I look at the numbers. Any bet on the Red Wings in this one is simply throwing money at a huge home underdog and praying you get extremely lucky.
Rather, I am going to do when I always do and go with what the numbers tell me.
They’re telling me the Penguins dominate this one and win it on the puckline at what I believe are attractive odds.