FREE NHL Picks; January 16, 2018

St. Louis Blues(26-17-3) vs Toronto Maple Leafs(25-17-3) 

Two teams that have almost identical records and identical last ten games. The Blues have not been able to really gain any traction or anything really since the loss of Jaden Schwartz, on top of that Jake Allen has not been the greatest and Carter Hutton has taken most of the time. The Blues currently sit in the three spot in the Central, one point behind Nashville and four behind Winnipeg. They’re currently 4-5-1 in their last ten and have an away record of 11-8-0. I’m not sure what has happened to St. Louis but they need to start stringing together some wins, in just a month they have dropped out of the super sweet sixteen rankings and are slowly falling out of the top ten in the league. The Leafs, on the other hand, are another team that has not been great for the last month or so. They are 4-4-2 in their last ten, sit in three spot in the Atlantic, now three points behind Boston and twelve behind Tampa Bay. The Leafs are a team that has been dealing with some depth scoring issues all season and some slow starts from certain guys. The Leafs have zero chance of catching the Lightning but it is fair to say their three spot is a lock right now as they are ten points ahead of Detroit. That is the Leafs problem I believe they play with too many compliances and it hurts them in the long run. Tonight I am going Leafs though.

New Jersey Devils(22-12-8) vs New York Islanders(23-18-4) 

The New York Islanders are on a three-game winning streak and for those three games, it has been the Matt Barzal show. Barzal recorded another three points last night to add to his five-point night the other night vs the Rangers and is now seven points ahead of Brock Boeser for the Calder run. Barzal has been on an unbelievable run as of late, and all season this kid has been the mold to this team. Plus Anthony Bulliever has chimed in for his fair share and the Islanders consistent depth scoring continues. But they face an opponent who has been red-hot all season. The Devils currently sit third in the Metropolitan division just two points ahead of the Islanders… In the Devils last ten, they are 4-3-3 and recently dropped their last game to the Flyers, 5-3. The Devils are in jeopardy right now as the race in the Metro heats up, as we are halfway underway, the Devils are separated by just three points or less between the Penguins, Rangers, and Islanders. The last time these two met was just over a week ago, as the Devils won in a shootout, and I think we can expect a similar style of play to this game. This is a crucial game folks and a game that will have a playoff atmosphere feel, tonight I am staying with the hot hand going, Islanders.

Dallas Stars(25-17-3) vs Detroit Red Wings(18-18-7) 

The Stars are coming off a big overtime win against of the leagues best at the moment and currently have sneaked their way into a top-ten spot in the NHL. The Stars are sitting tied for a wild-card spot and just two points behind the Blues. Therefore a Stars win, Blues loss, makes for an interesting rest of January and February. The Stars have been very solid over their last ten as they are 7-3-0 and they face a very competitive and young Detroit team though. The Stars are 16-6-1 on home ice as the Red Wings are 8-11-1 on the road. The Red Wings are a .500 team right now, but they have almost zero shot at the playoffs as they are seven points out of the wild card. The Red Wings though always find a way to make games interesting and make it hard on opposing teams, their speed and youth play a major factor in their success this season. The Red Wings are 5-5-0 in their last ten and are coming off a 4-0 win against Chicago. Tonight though I have to stick with the hot hand, better overall team and Ben Bishop in net. Going Stars.

Vegas Golden Knights(29-10-3) vs Nashville Predators(25-11-6) 

I feel as if a rivalry is brewing between these two, they have met now two times and this makes for their final meeting. But in the first two meetings, the Golden Knights won both, one in a shootout and the other blanking the Predators, 3-0. The Golden Knights are on the road though and this season road play has been the only way the Golden Knights have lost, as they are 11-8-1 on the road but post an 8-1-1 record in their last ten. The Golden Knights have collected a point in 12 of their last 13 games and as much as we don’t think it could happen, well it’s happening the Golden Knights are a playoff team. Buckle up, folks. The Predators this season have dealt with some injuries to some key players like Ryan Ellis, Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and now Viktor Ardvisson is out currently. But, the Predators have found their ways to win, as their defensive depth helps a ton and some key offensives pieces step up the Predators are not a team anyone should be concerned about. The Preds currently sit in the two spot in the Central but just one point ahead of St. Louis, they are 4-4-2 in their last ten, with a 13-4-2 home record and currently on a two-game winning streak. This one is tough, the Predators cannot drop the season series to the Golden Knights, not the first ever season series, they have to find a way to win tonight. I’m going, Predators.

Other games on tonight…

San Jose Sharks vs Arizona Coyotes: Really did not feel like writing a long pre-game write up about a game where we all know the winner. Sharks. 

Philadelphia Flyers vs New York Rangers: Doing an extensive pre-game write up on this matchup, stay tuned! 


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