It wasn’t a banner night for my free NHL picks as I dropped both of last night’s picks and have now dropped three in a row.
That said, in no way was it a deserving 0-2 night.
I took a chance on the lowly Red Wings as big +179 home underdogs against a Flyers team that is statistically poor on the road, and it didn’t work out.
It was close as the Wings trailed just 1-0 entering the third, but they had only 11 shots on goal by then and finished with just 16 total in what ended up being a 3-0 loss.
I took a risk and it didn’t work out, but boy did I deserve a winner with my other pick.
I had the Maple Leafs on the three-way moneyline to win in regulation at -125 odds, and it looked excellent throughout.
They dominated the game and took a 2-1 lead into the third period while holding the Panthers to just 11 shots themselves through two periods. An early Auston Matthews goal had my pick looking fabulous with a 3-1 lead.
However, Frederik Andersen was injured in the first and didn’t return for the second period. Backup Michael Hutchinson managed to stop three second-period shots, but allowed three goals on 10 third-period shots and that was ball game in a 5-3 Panthers come-from-behind win.
The Maple Leafs outshot the Panthers 28-14 at 5v5 and 36-21 overall, controlled possession at over 56% and scoring chances – both normal and high-danger – at 70% apiece.
Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said after the game you win that game about 99 times out of 100, and I would tend to agree.
It’s a frustrating loss, but I’ll move on and take on tonight’s big 13-game NHL schedule!
Season Record: 86-76-1
Now let’s take a look at this free NHL pick featuring the Predators vs. Jets in a Central Division showdown from Winnipeg!
Predators vs. Jets Betting Odds
- Predators (-118)
- Jets (+107)
- Predators -1.5 (+205)
- Jets +1.5 (-245)
- Over 6.5 (-101)
- Under 6.5 (-109)
Predators vs. Jets NHL Pick Breakdown
Now let’s take a look at each of these teams before I get into my final pick!
The Predators need to rack up some wins to get themselves back inside of the playoff picture in the west, but were unable to build off of two straight wins with a 3-0 loss to Vegas on home ice before hitting the road for the first of four tonight in Winnipeg.
The game wasn’t actually close on Saturday against the Golden Knights. Vegas dominated that one in outshooting Nashville by a 38-19 count while killing off all five of the Predators’ power plays.
Offense hasn’t usually been an issue for this team, however, especially on the road.
The Predators enter this one ranked third with 3.64 goals per game on the road this season and have scored 11 goals over their last two away from home.
Their power play has been terrible at home, but it perks up to eighth with a 20.7% clip on the road.
It’s the defensive side of the puck that’s been the problem as well as their penalty killing.
The Preds sit in a tie for 21st with 3.36 goals against per game on the road this season where their penalty kill has been atrocious to the tune of a league-worst 67.8% mark.
As good as the offense has been on the road over their last two games, they’ve also allowed nine goals in that time and gone just 5 for 8 (62.5%) on the penalty kill in that span as well.
The Preds have not named a goaltender yet for this one tonight, so I won’t dive too much into that situation.
If it’s Pekka Rinne who gets the nod, as it has been in two straight and four of the last five, he will carry a 3.01 GAA and .898 Sv% into action to go along with a 17-12-3 record.
Rinne owns an improved 2.84 GAA and .908 Sv% on the road in going 8-5-0 on the year, but was shelled for five goals on 32 shots against a weak Devils offense in his last road start.
If it’s Juuse Saros, he will carry a 3.17 GAA and .894 Sv% into action to go along with a 7-8-4 record.
Saros has posted a poor 3.40 GAA and .895 Sv% on the road where he’s gone 5-4-3 and he’s allowed four goals in each of his last two starts with an .867 Sv% in that time.
However, Saros did shut out the Jets 1-0 in the Preds’ trip to Winnipeg on January 12th.
The Jets limped into the All-Star break with four consecutive losses and made it five coming out of the break with a tough 2-1 loss to the Bruins at home despite outshooting them 38-25.
However, they bounced back with a 5-2 win over the Blues the following night at home on the strength of 38 saves from goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.
The Jets, like the Predators, need to bank some wins moving forward. In fact, the Jets sit just one point ahead of the Predators at the moment, but have also played two more games so this is a huge one for them tonight as well.
Home ice advantage hasn’t exactly been an advantage, however.
The Jets have gone just 12-12-2 at home this season and have played better on the road where they are 14-11-2 on the campaign.
Offense at home has been a big issue – a rare occurrence for what used to be a deadly Jets home offense.
They rank just 28th with 2.69 goals per game at home this season and their power play sits 18th with a 19.8% clip at home.
Their home defense has been decent in a tie for 17th alongside the Ottawa Senators, but like the Predators, there’s been major penalty kill issues in this scenario.
Like the Preds, the Jets sit last in the NHL in this penalty killing split with a 69.8% mark at Bell MTS Place this season.
It’s been a little better of late, however, posting an 80% mark over their last eight games and an even better 83.3% mark (10 for 12) over their last five games on home ice.
Getting the nod in this one for the home side will indeed be Hellebuyck coming off that strong outing against the rival Blues.
If it weren’t for Hellebuyck, the Jets would be in a much tougher spot than just three points out of the playoffs.
Hellebuyck has posted a 2.72 GAA and .918 Sv% on the season across 41 starts and 43 appearances.
At home, he’s been quite similar with a 2.68 GAA and .917 Sv% in 21 starts and 23 appearances.
Finally, the aforementioned outing against the Blues could serve as a confidence booster after he surrendered 13 goals in a two-and-a-half game span, posting an .822 Sv% in that time.
It’s not uncommon for goaltender who participate in the All-Star game to come out strong after and that’s precisely what Hellebuyck accomplished on Saturday.
It’s a monumental game for both sides here as both look to make up ground on the Coyotes for the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference while both have played fewer games than Arizona.
Both have clearly has up-and-down seasons, but I want to see if the Jets can build off of what was surely a confidence-boosting win over the Blues on Saturday.
It wasn’t just Hellebuyck that was outstanding, but the Jets’ offense came to life for five goals against an excellent Blues defensive group after scoring just once the previous night against the Bruins.
While their offense has hurt them at home for the most part this season, the talent in the top still there and they are a candidate for a big performance any time they step to the ice.
Keeping a good Predators road offense in check will be a tough task, but I really like Hellebuyck coming back from the break with a brilliant outing after some pre-break struggles.
If that outing was indeed a springboard for a hot stretch, the Jets are in very good hands tonight.
As home underdogs, I’ll ride with the Jets tonight at some attractive odds.