It was a clean 3 for 3 with my free NHL picks last night and it didn’t require much of a sweat, either.
The first winner was almost over before it started as the Buffalo Sabres walloped the visiting New Jersey Devils by a 7-1 score on the back of five first-period markers.
The second winner was more stressful for sure as the Islanders and Red Wings threatened to go over the 5.5 total (mostly the Islanders) but a one-goal third period gave me a winner on the under 5.5 at +101.
Finally, it was smooth sailing throughout the Blues and Blackhawks game as St. Louis led 2-0 after the first period and never looked back in a 4-0 shutout win over their rivals.
It was the night I was waiting for and I’ll look to build on it on tonight’s 10-game NHL schedule!
Season Record: 35-29-1
Let’s take a look at this free NHL pick featuring the Senators vs. Canucks from Vancouver!
Senators vs. Canucks Betting Odds
- Senators (+140)
- Canucks (-160)
- Senators +1.5 (-175)
- Canucks -1.5 (+155)
- Over 6.5 (-105)
- Under 6.5 (-115)
Senators vs. Canucks NHL Pick Breakdown
Let’s take a look at each of these clubs before getting into my final pick!
The Senators were playing much better hockey into the middle of November when they won five of six games and were even threatening to make some moves towards the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. However, a current four-game losing skid has put a resounding thud into that notion.
The first two losses of the streak weren’t too bad at all as the Senators lost 1-0 to the Blue Jackets and 2-1 to the league-best Bruins while actually outshooting those teams by a combined 59-40 count. However, a 7-2 loss in Minnesota to kick off a five-game road trip happened on Friday before they dropped a closer 3-1 decision in Calgary the following night.
The defense has actually held up well. Really well, in fact. Over their last nine games outside of that Wild game, the Senators have averaged just 2.00 goals per game, on average. They have allowed the same 2.00 goals per game outside of that Wild loss over their other three defeats in their current skid.
That said, they still enter this one ranked 26th with 3.60 goals against per game on the road and also 26th with 34.5 shots against per game on the road.
Their recent stout defense doesn’t mean much when you can’t produce offensively, however. The Senators have averaged just 1.00 goals per game over their last four and 2.30 goals per game over their last 10 despite winning five of them.
On the road this season, the Senators rank 27th with just 2.27 goals per game and their 28.8 shots per game ranks 22nd. Their -5.7 average shot differential away from home is the fourth-worst mark in the NHL.
That usually doesn’t mean good things for their possession numbers at 5v5.
Getting the nod in goal for Ottawa tonight will be Anders Nilsson who will face the team that traded him to the Senators a season ago.
Nilsson was the recipient of that 7-2 beatdown in Minnesota, snapping a streak of four quality starts. After a hot start on the road, Nilsson has posted a 3.58 GAA and .910 Sv% on the road this season while facing plenty of rubber.
Compare that to his 2.42 GAA and .923 Sv% at home and the Canucks are getting him right where they want him tonight.
After a lengthy six-game road trip that saw them win three of the last five, the Canucks returned home on Sunday night and dropped a 3-2 affair to the rival Oilers after beating them 5-2 in Edmonton the night before.
It was special teams that did them in on Sunday as they allowed two goals on two Oilers power plays while going 0 for 2 on the power play themselves. That said, the power play hasn’t been a concern for this team whatsoever this season as they’ll enter tonight’s contest with the league’s fourth-ranked power play at 26.4% and the league’s fifth-ranked home power play at an increased 29.7%. Furthermore, the Canucks draw more penalties than any team in the league with 110 power play opportunities on the season, or 3.9 power plays per game to this point.
Offense on the whole on home ice hasn’t been an issue, either. The Canucks rank third with 3.82 goals per game at Rogers Arena, thanks in part to their 11th-ranked HDCF% at 54.76% at 5v5 play at home.
The Canucks’ 10.47% home shooting percentage at 5v5 is the best mark in the NHL which makes sense when you have sharp-shooters such as Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser running the show up front.
Defensively, the Canucks are right in the middle of the pack with 2.82 goals against per game on home ice, although they’ve struggled to kill penalties at home where they own just a 75.9% mark on the season, good for 27th league wide.
Getting the nod in goal tonight will be Thatcher Demko who is the No.1 netminder in the absence of Jacob Markstrom who returned to Sweden to attend his father’s funeral.
Demko enters this one with a decent 2.92 GAA and .907 Sv% in 10 outings this season, owning that .907 Sv% both at home and on the road. He is, however, coming off a brutal outing in Pittsburgh in which he allowed seven goals on 39 shots (.821 Sv%) after he impressed in turning aside 32 of 34 shots (.942 Sv%) in a tough-luck 2-1 loss in Philadelphia two nights earlier.
At this point, we aren’t quite sure what to expect from the 23-year-old and presumed goaltender of the future in Vancouver.
Bottom-feeding teams go through some very tough stretch throughout the season (just ask the Red Wings) and the Senators are enduring that as we speak.
Their losing streak stands at four, but I think it gets to five in this one tonight.
There was always going to be regression back to the mean after their hot stretch in mid-November, and that’s what we’re seeing now.
While Demko doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence, the Canucks should be able to keep a bad Senators road offense at bay. Not only do they struggle to score on the road, they struggle to even generate chances, both at 5v5 and on the power play. Their brutal road possession numbers inspire zero confidence.
The Canucks have one of the deadliest home offenses in hockey, both at 5v5 and, of course, on the power play. I can see them putting up five-plus goals in this one tonight.
As a result, I’m going to look at a three-way play here with Vancouver and take them to win this one in regulation time at -110 odds.