FREE NHL Picks: January 5, 2018

Pittsburgh Penguins(20-19-3) vs New York Islanders(20-17-4): Both these teams are coming off tough losses, the Penguins a little bit tougher than the Islanders, as they got blanked by the Hurricanes. The Islanders yet again goaltending continues to kill them as they lost 5-4 to the Flyers Thursday night. These two teams both have their kryptonite and have faced their fair share of struggles. The Islanders are currently on a four-game losing streak and the Penguins are one game above .500, three points out of a wild-card spot. It seems as if we will see Jaraslov Halak in net for the Islanders and Penguins will probably go, Tristian Jarry, as Murray started Thursday night. These two teams have a history together and definitely do not like each other. Despite their struggles, a lot gets pushed in the past when these two see each other on the calendar. The Penguins beat the Islanders in overtime a month ago, and both teams have struggled in their last ten as the Penguins are 4-6-0 in their last ten and the Islanders are 3-6-1. This one is tough, the Islanders definitely perform better at home and the Penguins 8-12-2 record on the road does not help. Islanders need to snap this skid, going Islanders.

San Jose Sharks(21-12-5) vs Ottawa Senators(12-17-9): The Senators only allowed two goals last game that is a positive but they only scored one goal. In their last ten games, the Senators are 3-5-2 with 22 goals for and 32 goals against. The Sharks dropped a tough one Thursday night in a shootout to the Leafs but a point is a point in this playoff hunt. Going back to back is tough though but with a solid back up goaltender, the Sharks seem to play confidently in front of Aaron Dell. The Sharks have surprised me at least this season, especially since Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns started off very slow and struggled. The Sharks have a lot of forwarding depth it seems and a solid d-core. Ottawa we know what to expect they go down, they’re out of it. Keep it close all game is the key for Ottawa tonight, a simple defensive game and throwing everything towards the net is key. Either way, still going Sharks.

Florida Panthers(17-17-5) vs Detroit Red Wings(16-16-7): These two teams are very similar in terms of records, but I still think the Panthers defense is better in this case and the Red Wings may have a deeper offense than the Panthers. They rank up very well, and with the Panthers postponed game, it helps in terms of rest for James Reimer. The Panthers 6-3-1 and the Red Wings are 5-3-2 in their last ten and tied with 39 points. Two very similar teams going head to head and neither of them will see the playoffs more than likely, although they are only seven points away from a wild-card spot. These two have met twice and it’s tied at one piece both games either going to a shootout or overtime. Tonight I am going Panthers.

Buffalo Sabres(10-21-9) vs Winnipeg Jets(23-11-7): The Jets dropped a tough one to Colorado in overtime Tuesday night, and luckily they get the Sabres on their schedule here as they must get back in the win column and get a streak going. It is tough with top forward Mark Scheifele out but the Jets have a ton of depth on the front end, it comes down to Conor Hellebyuck or Steve Mason playing well and helping the Jets win. The Sabres well are the Sabres they either compete in games or just look terrible, they have a ton of youth and solid players on their roster but seems like things just do not click. The Sabres are 3-5-2 in their last ten and the Jets are 5-3-2, tonight is a no-brainer for me. Jets for sure.

Vegas Golden Knights(27-10-2) vs Chicago Blackhawks(19-14-6): It seems as if the Golden Knights do lose, as they lost their first game in 12 games Thursday night vs the Blues. The Blackhawks are coming off a big road win vs the Rangers and now they head home to continue this success and hopefully take another vs a top team in the league. The story of Jeff Glass has been amazing as the 32-year-old rookie goaltender has won two of first three starts and it seems as if they will be going Glass again tonight. Vegas is tough though coming off a loss this team will be hungry and the Blackhawks know that they will need to push the play on Vegas early as they are going back to back and traveling. The Blackhawks are 6-3-1 in their last ten and they need these two points to stay amongst the playoff race as they are three points out of a spot. Tonight I am going Blackhawks.


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