FREE NHL Picks: Janurary 4, 2017

Florida Panthers(17-17-5) vs Boston Bruins(22-10-6): Bruins continue to win and come back to home ice, where they have taken 29 of the possible 39 points this year, they currently are 7-1-2 in their last ten and have officially taken the lead over Toronto for that second spot in the Atlantic. As the Canadiens and Senators continue to have poor seasons it seems inevitable for the Bruins to make the playoffs. The Panthers another Atlantic team, in fourth but behind the Maple Leafs by 10 points. Coming off a tough loss to Minnesota the Panthers hit the road versus one of the hottest teams in the NHL. The Panthers are 6-3-1 in their last ten and much of that credit can be handed to James Reimer, as he has posted four wins, 1.52 goals against, .957 save percentage and two shutouts over the last two weeks. The Panthers will be going with Reimer again tonight(if he is healthy to play), but still with Reimer in net, playing well, the Bruins are still the favorites here and a no-brainer for me. Going Bruins tonight.

New York Islanders(20-16-4) vs Philadelphia Flyers(16-15-8): Flyers are coming off a terrible loss to rivals Pittsburgh Penguins, but they stay on home ice and welcome the Islanders. Another team that has a great offense and can score from anywhere, and could easily pot four-plus goals on any night. The Flyers will need to play a simple defensive game and capitalize on their power play chances to win tonight. It seems Eliott is the guy in Philadelphia and he will probably go tonight. For the Islanders coming off, a similar lose like the Flyers, getting back in the win column is crucial as the Rangers dropped a game Wednesday night, so a point or two is important for the Islanders to stay amongst this playoff race. Their high powered offense led by some unlikely heroes like Matt Barzal and Josh Bailey the Islanders still need to find a way to ratchet things up on defense and get one of their two goalies playing somewhat decent. Tough one tonight, two teams that don’t like each other and are battling for a wild-card spot. I’m going Islanders tonight.

Vegas Golden Knights(27-9-2) vs St. Louis Blues(25-15-2): The Blues finally get back in the win column and it comes against one of the better teams in the league. A shutout win, but two points are two points and the Blues will take them any way they come. Carter Hutton stood tall Tuesday night and it would not be surprising to see him back in between the pipes tonight. The Blues need to start producing more on the offensive side of things, mixing and matching lines and their offense needs to come tonight against one of the highest scoring teams in the league. These two met earlier in the year, and Vegas slipped one by in overtime for the win, a lot of time between the last time these two met and things have changed for both squads. Vegas has an unbelievable offense, an offense that seems to show up every night, along with defense and goaltending, it seems there is no weak spot on this team. Tonight I am going Blues though.

Los Angeles Kings(24-11-5) vs Calgary Flames(19-16-4): These two teams have some history together, and they play out of the same division so that makes it even more interesting. Right now the Kings are ahead of the Flames by 11 points but these two will always make for an interesting game. The Kings have seen a ton of success due to Anze Kopitar’s 42 point season along Dustin Brown’s 31 points, factor in a strong defense, some depth scoring and one of the top goaltenders in the league, it isn’t surprising to see the Kings success. The Flames have been a bit inconsistent and in the last ten they are doing the bare minimum to get by, 4-4-2 in their last ten, and currently sit outside of a wild-card spot by 4 points, so two points tonight would be crucial. Tonight, Flames at home looks good, but the Kings road record is solid(13-6-2), would not be surprised to see this game go to overtime or shootout. But, tonight I am going Flames.

Anaheim Ducks(19-14-8) vs Edmonton Oilers(17-20-3): The Oilers continue to make it harder on themselves, they seemed to be turning it around but now are back to their losing ways and a playoff spot, looks nearly impossible right now. They’re 5-4-1 in their last ten and currently sit nine points out a wild card spot. And that team in the wild card spot right now are the Ducks. The Ducks have been a story this season dealing with some major injuries to their roster, continuously losing guys each week, playing players who have never played top-six minutes in their life before and they still managed a way to win and be in a playoff spot. Now as Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler are back the Ducks center depth is about as good as they come. I like the Ducks this season a very strong d-core, depth on the front end and two serviceable goaltenders, they seem to be a favorite for that wild card this season. Tonight I am going Ducks.

Other games on tonight…

Sharks vs Leafs: Leafs need two points here or that climb for the second spot gets even harder and harder as the Bruins continue to stay hot. Going Leafs.

Hurricanes vs Penguins: Don’t sleep on them the Canes are 7-2-1 in their last ten and in the last wild card spot right now. Need to stay hot, need to keep rolling. Going Canes.

Lightning vs Canadiens: Lightning.

Sabres vs Wild: Pominville returns back to Minnesota, a special night but still going Wild.

Devils vs Stars: Stars look good lately, they are fighting for a wild-card spot and cannot afford to drop games at home. Going Stars.

Blue Jackets vs Avalanche: Jackets.

Predators vs Coyotes: Predators


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