FREE NHL Picks: January 7, 2018

New Jersey Devils(22-11-7) vs New York Islanders(20-18-4): The New York Islanders are currently on a five-game skid, and during this five-game losing streak the Islanders have tallied eight goals while allowing twenty-five goals. There is a problem here in both cases the Islanders offense has not been as fiery lately and their goaltending continues to be terrible. Now, they face a cross-state rival and one of the better teams in the NHL right now, therefore things will not come easy for the Islanders. The Devils currently sit two points out of the lead for the division as well as two points in front of the Rangers. The Devils are 5-2-3 in their last ten and post a 10-6-4 away record. With how poorly the Islanders have been playing and the Devils always being a competitive team and one of the more deeper teams in the NHL right now, we cannot say this is an easy one for the Islanders to turn their fortune around. I think we see a very close game, and it goes into overtime or extra time. I’m still going, Devils.

Buffalo Sabres(10-22-9) vs Philadelphia Flyers(18-15-8): The Flyers are coming off a big vs St. Louis Saturday afternoon, where Sean Couturier tallied his career-high twentieth goal, and Claude Giroux tallied his 50th point of the season. The Flyers offense, fueled by Giroux-Courtier and Voracek has been amazing this season but now Jordan Weal and Travis Konecny are finally stepping in the ranks, the Flyers offense continues to look good. The Sabres are a team where one some nights we can expect a close game but other nights it seems like they’re still in the locker room. The Sabres offense is lead by three players, Evander Kane, Jack Eichel and Ryan O’Reilly other than that you are seeing little to no production from anyone else, which has killed the Sabres this season, depth scoring. Although the Flyers are going back to back I am still going Flyers today.

Edmonton Oilers(18-21-3) vs Chicago Blackhawks(19-15-6): The Blackhawks dropped a tough one Friday night vs the Golden Knights, where they came back but late in the third dropped the game and without even getting one point. The Hawks though look much better and their defense plus goaltending without Corey Crawford has been serviceable. Production from Nick Schmaltz and Alex Debrincat has helped take off some pressure from the big guns in Chicago. Edmonton played a 3 PM game the other day vs Dallas where they lost 5-1, it seems maybe, the Oilers are not coming back this season. I would have to be pretty confident to say the Oilers are not making a push for the playoffs right now. They have a few solid pieces on the front end, but without any defensive scoring and consistent goaltending, you really cannot get too far in this league. The Oilers are 5-4-1 in their last ten and post a 9-9-2 away record while the Hawks have a 10-6-2 home record with a 5-4-1 record in the last ten. These two are very close in points but Chicago at home, rested, going Chicago.

Boston Bruins(23-10-6) vs Pittsburgh Penguins(21-19-3): I feel as if the Bruins have not lost in the last month or so, but over the month of December they did only lose four games, the Bruins have been rolling as of late and a healthy line up is key. They blew out the Hurricanes Saturday night and now head into Pittsburgh for an NBCSN matchup. Pittsburgh has been struggling as of late and their playoff chances are slowly falling out of their hands, if they cannot string together a win streak it’ll be tough to do the bare minimum to get by in this division. Luckily the Islanders have been playing poorly though and the Hurricanes sneaked in, which we can assume won’t stay for long. The Penguins problems come in net and defensively. Matt Murray has been awful this year, I don’t care what you say he has not been a starting goalie and it has hurt the Penguins a lot. This will be a tough one though, Penguins at home with a 12-7-1 record, a win from them tonight puts them back in the playoff conversation, so this is a big two points. Bruins post a 9-5-3 away record and they are currently on a three-game win streak. Going Penguins though.

New York Rangers(22-14-5) vs Vegas Golden Knights(28-10-2): The Rangers seem to elevate their game when they play good teams and play terribly when they bad teams. They have struggled to close games out or get any offensive scoring, and tonight is not the night you want your offense to be sleeping as they head into Vegas one of the hottest teams in the NHL, and best team at home. Vegas is 17-2-1 in at home and 9-1-0 in their last ten, their production from the front end has been unbelievable, while their defense does not too a bad job of chiming in every once in awhile. Vegas just has the right guys on their line up, all extremely motivated ready to make a splash this season. It has been exciting to watch and something I am still not fully over yet. Tonight as the Rangers go back to back and Vegas comes off a day rest, will help the hot home team get another win tonight.

Other games on tonight…

Sharks vs Jets: Please Jets show some life, something to prove you can be a playoff team. Going Jets. 

Blues vs Capitals: Back to back for Blues will be tough but a bad loss the other night and dropping six of their last ten something needs to give. Come on Blues. 

Panthers vs Blue Jackets: Panthers

Canucks vs Canadiens: Canucks

Lightning vs Red Wings: Lightning are not dropping two in a row especially two games to teams they should beat. An ugly loss to the Senators will fire this team up. Going Lightning. 

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