FREE NHL Picks: December 22, 2017

Philadelphia Flyers(15-12-7) vs Buffalo Sabres(8-19-7)

The Sabres are coming off a shutout loss to Boston, as the Flyers are coming off a win vs Detroit, both teams have had a day of rest and there should be no reason for dead legs. The Sabres as we’ve said before and time after time, they have the talent and definitely are not as bad as everyone thinks they are, but they simply cannot close out games or some games cannot score. The frustration level in Buffalo has to be high, new head coach Phil Housley has not done a great job and we can essentially rule the Sabres out for the rest of the season. In their last ten, they are 2-5-3 with a 4-9-5 away record, also Buffalo has a record of 1-9 vs Metropolitan teams this season. The Flyers now have luckily turned their season around and currently are climbing the standings for a hopeful playoff spot, unfortunately, with how close the Metro is, every game matters and the Flyers former 10-game losing streak could come back to kill them. The Flyers are 7-3-0 in their last ten with an 8-7-4 home record. This one is easy for me(I’d hope), but I’m going Flyers.

Minnesota Wild(18-13-3) vs Florida Panthers(13-16-5)

The Wild have slowly been getting their offense back together, and their line up is relatively healthy, but with Devan Dubynk, Alex Stalock has been the go-to guy, while he has not done an amazing job, Stalock has been “serviceable” to say the least. The Wild have probably one of the best d-core’s in the league and a well balanced forward group. Over the last ten, the Wild are 7-3-0, currently tied for the last wild-card spot. The Wild also post a 4-3 record vs Atlantic division teams and this will be the first meeting of the season vs the Panthers. The Panthers have been in the middle of the pack all season, they have not been able to take that leap and go on a streak yet, while they have a ton of offensive pieces and a few solid defenseman, their goaltending has not been great and definitely an issue for this team. The Panthers are 3-4-3 in their last ten and have a record of 2-2 vs Central division teams. Tonight I am going Wild.

Montreal Canadiens(15-15-4) vs Calgary Flames(18-14-3) 

The Canadiens have been a very rocky team this season and a team we do not know what to expect on certain nights. While their offense has been extremely sub-par, production from Jonathan Drouin and Max Pacioretty can be there to credit for the Canadiens poor offensive play. Their defense takes a major blow with the loss of Shea Weber, and again this team must rely on Carey Price to carry the workload. The Canadiens are 6-3-1 in their last ten, with a 2-7 record vs Pacific division teams. The Canadiens beat the Flames two weeks ago, 3-2 in overtime. The Flames have been playing .500 hockey right now, and without Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monohan, I’m not sure what this team would do. Luckily Gaudreau has been off to an unbelievable start, is a big confidence booster for this team. While bringing in Travis Hamonic was to solidify that top four it has not due to Hamonic’s injury and the Flames defense has been quite lackluster. Mike Smith has been a reliable starter for the Flames which is a good sign. The Flames are 4-4-2 in their last ten and post a 2-4 record vs Atlantic division teams. Tonight I am going Calgary.

Washington Capitals(22-12-1) vs Arizona Coyotes(7-24-5) 

Wow, that really does frighten me that the Coyotes have not collected ten wins yet(neither has Buffalo), but the Coyotes have an excuse as they have played the most road games this season(21), the Coyotes started out the season playing 17 road games of their first 27 games. The Coyotes have some young talent, in Anthony Duclair, Max Domi, and rookie sensation Clayton Keller, they get some decent goaltending, some veteran and depth scoring this is a borderline playoff team. The Coyotes in their last ten though are 1-7-2(by God), and post a 3-6 vs Metropolitan division teams. The Capitals honestly have been a major surprise this season, with their lackluster defense and losing some key pieces on the front end is still one of the best teams in hockey. Alex Ovechkin’s league-leading goals does not hurt along with some key depth players stepping up have helped the Capitals to a first-place start right now. In the last ten, the Capitals are 8-2-0 and post a 5-3 record vs Pacific division teams. Tonight, easy going Capitals.


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