It was a much better night with my free NHL picks last night as I snapped a cold spell with a 2-1 night, although it could have went either way from being a 1-2 night or a 3-0 night, to be honest.
The cleanest result of the night came between the Maple Leafs and Stars where I had the Leafs as slight +101 road dogs in Dallas.
The Maple Leafs scored first and held leads of 3-1 and 4-2 in this one, and while the Stars narrowed it to 4-3 and had come chances to tie it, the Maple Leafs added an empty-netter and took this one by a 5-3 final.
It was a little bit sticky from there on out, however.
The Battle of Alberta did not disappoint on the pre-game hype from a physical and entertainment standpoint, but the result was a disappointing one for my Oilers moneyline pick at -116 odds.
The Oilers never led this one, but did manage to overcome one-goal deficits on three occasions and sent the game to overtime with a tying marker with less than nine minutes left. However, despite some nice chances for the Oilers to win it in the extra frame, the game needed a shootout where Sean Monahan’s goal was the only one scored and the Flames posted a 4-3 shootout upset of the Oilers.
Finally, I had the Lightning -1.5 on the puckline in L.A. at +113 odds, and this one was as close as it could have been.
In fact, the Kings jumped out to a 2-0 lead, putting our pick in serious doubt. That said, Tampa Bay’s offense got going and they rallied back and even took a 3-2 lead midway through the third period. While it seemed it would end that way and our pick would lose, Steven Stamkos scored an empty-net goal with just one second left and the Lightning managed a 4-2 win.
It was a fortunate result but as I said, we were just an Oilers OT winner away from a perfect night.
Nonetheless, we notched a 0.98-unit profit on the night and I’ll now turn my attention to this three-game NHL schedule tonight!
Season Record: 84-73-1
Now let’s take a look at a free NHL pick featuring the Predators vs. Devils from the Prudential Center in New Jersey!
Predators vs. Devils Betting Odds
- Predators (-136)
- Devils (+120)
- Predators -1.5 (+180)
- Devils +1.5 (-210)
- Over 6 (-123)
- Under 6 (+112)
Predators vs. Devils NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these clubs before I get into my final pick!
The Predators need to be a desperate team down the stretch here and they bounced back nicely from a 5-2 loss to the Maple Leafs coming out of the break to upset the Capitals by a 5-4 count last night in Washington.
The win probably would have looked more thorough had the Predators not essentially put two pucks into their own net, but hey, a win’s a win, and the Preds will certainly take it.
There’s just something different about this team on the road compared to at home.
Usually an excellent home team, Bridgestone Arena in Nashville has been a much happier place for opponents this season than in year’s past, but the Preds have played well on the road where they are a solid 12-9-3 this season.
One reason has been on the offensive side of the puck where Nashville ranks third in the league with 3.52 goals per game, a number that sits well above their 3.04 mark at home. That’s a good half-goal-per-game difference.
Furthermore, their 20.3% mark on the power play on the road – good for 11th – sits well above their 28th-ranked 14% mark at home.
The issues have been at the other end of the ice, just like they have been at home.
The Preds enter this one ranked 18th with 3.29 goals against per game on the road this season, a number right in line with their 3.24 mark at home.
Their road penalty kill has also struggled mightily as they are dead last with a 69% mark on the season.
That said, after being torched for a stretch in early January, the Predators have at least improved to a 77.8% clip over their last six games but also a 9 for 10 mark over their last three games.
Possession-wise, they’re about a middle of the pack road team.
At 5v5 on the road, the Preds rank 17th with a 48.28% Corsi For%, 16th with a 47.90% Scoring Chances For% and 20th with a 46.17% High-Danger Chances For%.
After Juuse Saros earned the win in last night’s contes, the Predators will likely turn to Pekka Rinne to complete the back-to-back set tonight.
Rinne has had a down season to be sure, posting a 2.98 GAA and .897 Sv% on the season to go along with a 16-11-3 record.
However, on the road, Rinne has put together a much better 2.67 GAA and .914 Sv% on the road and has gone 7-5-0 in the process.
He allowed four goals to an unstoppable Maple Leafs offense on Monday, but posted a .935 Sv% over a three-start stretch prior to that one and owns a .930 Sv% over his last three on the road.
The Devils got their second half started on the right note with a shootout win over the Senators on Monday and dominated the shot count in the process by outshooting the home side by a whopping 53-38 count.
Interestingly, the Devils have put more than 40 shots on goal in two straight games after putting 41 on the Blue Jackets – only to be shut out – in a 5-0 loss in their final game before the break.
While the shots are nice and they managed three regulation goals in Ottawa, this offense largely continues to struggle as it has for the majority of the season.
The Devils will enter this one ranked 24th with 2.83 goals per game at home this season where their power play sits in a tie for 25th with a 16% clip.
Of course, it’s going to be difficult to win games when you allow as much offense as the Devils have this season.
New Jersey enters this one ranked 29th with 3.35 goals against per game on home ice this season, although their home penalty kill has been solid at 14th with an 81.5% mark.
That means that a lot of their goals against have come at 5v5 at home and their possession numbers show why.
At 5v5 on home ice this season, the Devils rank 29th with a 47.34% Corsi For%, dead last with a 45.86% Scoring Chances For% and 24th with a 50.60% High-Danger Chances For%.
It’s also interesting to note that the Devils have struggled to score despite ranking eighth with a 9.25% shooting percentage at home as well.
However, no reasonable shooting percentage in this world is going to save you from the goaltending the Devils have received at home as their .902 Sv% at 5v5 at the Prudential Center this season ranks them 29th in the league. Only Edmonton (.899) and San Jose (.898) have been worse.
Looking to buck that trend tonight will be youngster Mackenzie Blackwood who earned the win on Monday in Ottawa.
Blackwood has largely stood tall considering he’s playing behind one of the worst defensive teams in the league, but his work at home has left something to be desired.
Blackwood has posted a 2.95 GAA and .906 Sv% – solid numbers given the circumstances – on the season, but also just a 2.97 GAA and .896 Sv% at home. As a result, he’s just 5-7-6 at home this season.
In Monday’s effort, Blackwood snapped a three-start stretch in which he posted an .869 Sv%.
Back-to-backs are never easy in the NHL and despite it appearing that the heavy lifting is out of the way with the win in Washington last night, the Devils aren’t going to be a pushover coming off a hard-fought win of their own.
New Jersey has had two full days off and are, of course, the much more rested team in this one.
That said, the Predators have played well on the road this season and I think their offense is going to show up against in this one tonight.
Oddsmakers and advanced stat gurus that I follow seem to believe that the Predators will still get into the playoffs.
I’m far less optimistic, but I do believe that chances at a win tonight are quite high given the high-octane offense and the momentum built off of last night’s win.
The defense and penalty kill are of concern, and they did allow four goals and a power play goal last night.
Still, the talent on this forward group is far-and-away better than this Devils team that is both thin in depth and void of high-end skill like the Predators have in players like Filip Forsberg, Matt Duchene, Viktor Arvidsson and Norris Trophy candidate Roman Josi.
To be honest, I really considered the three-way money line (in regulation) and the puckline here. I think we are getting good value at +100 in regulation and +175 to win by two or more.
That said, it’s also possible that New Jersey indeed battles them hard, and as I mentioned, back-to-backs are not easy in this league.
I am still extremely confident in a Predators win however, but it might be closer than I think so I am going to go the safer route and take them on the moneyline to win both ends of their back-to-back.