FREE NHL Picks: January 20, 2018

New Jersey Devils(24-12-8) vs Philadelphia Flyers(21-16-6)

The Devils and the Flyers met not too long ago, and the outcome was a Flyers 5-3 win, well now seven days later and the two meet again. The Flyers are coming off an overtime win during Eric Lindros’s banner night as the Devils are coming off an overtime as well versus the Capitals. The two meet four times a year, and each game feels like a playoff game. The shocking part of this game is that Keith Kinkaid is making his third straight for the Devils, Kinkaid has 7 wins, a 3.09 GAA and .898 save percentage. The Devils are 4-3-3 in their last ten, coming into this game during a two-game winning streak, the Devils also have one of the better away records of 11-6-5. The Flyers are more than likely going with Brian Eliott on this Saturday matinee, the Flyers are looking to pick up their sixth win in seven games, as they are 6-3-1 in their last ten. The Flyers are three points out of a playoff spot and a win tonight brings them closer to the Rangers/Penguins(if they lose tonight). I like the Flyers play against the Devils they always seem to keep it simple and close, I am going Flyers.

Winnipeg Jets(26-13-7) vs Calgary Flames(25-16-4) 

The Flames have been one of the best teams in the NHL since coach Glen Gulutzan had his little meltdown, in the last ten the Flames are 7-2-1 and on a seven-game winning streak. The play of Mike Smith has helped a ton as he has collected four wins, allowed six goals, has a 1.49 GAA and .956 save percentage over the last two weeks. Something the Flames never had, they finally get and now seem to run with it. Smith was not this type of caliber goaltender all year, but perhaps the goaltender is settling in and getting comfortable now. Their offense has been run by two guys, while they have a solid defensive core that scores as well. The Jets, on the other hand, are coming off their bye week and intend on playing Michael Hutchinson I believe, their AHL goalie, due to their two goalies being on a bye week and not seeing any action recently. The Jets prior to their break were 6-3-1, on a two-game losing streak, they have a 10-10-6 record on the road(one of the worse for a top ten team) and are still without Mark Scheifele. I’m a big Jets supporter but seven days without playing facing a team that is rolling and has won sevens straight, going Flames.

Boston Bruins(26-10-6) vs Montreal Canadiens(19-21-6)

The Canadiens are coming off a big win in Washington Friday night as they won 3-2 in a close back and forth game. The Bruins are coming into this game off a 5-2 win over the Islanders and have won seven of their last ten games while picking up a point in all those ten games. The Bruins are arguably one of the hottest teams in the NHL at the moment and a win tonight puts them only three points behind the Lightning for the division lead. The Canadiens are finally seeing scoring from Max Pacioretty, but I just cannot see this team competing with the Bruins tonight. The last time these two met was not too long ago(three days ago), the Bruins won 4-1, and prior to that meeting the Bruins took the first meeting of the year also in January 4-3 in a shootout, they meet one more time after tonight and a Bruins win completes the season series win. Tonight I am going Bruins, maybe March 3, the Canadiens will win.

Pittsburgh Penguins(25-20-3) vs San Jose Sharks(24-14-6)

Some people don’t forget, but a little rematch of the 2015-16 Stanley Cup, where the Penguins beat the Sharks. The Sharks definitely will have that memory in the back of their head tonight when the Penguins come into San Jose for the first of two meetings this season. The Sharks are the better team this year and at the moment as they are 5-3-2 in their last ten and tied for the second place spot in the Pacific division. The Sharks are also coming off a tough loss to Colorado, therefore a win tonight is crucial. Not many teams can afford to drop back to back games at this point in the season. The Penguins are 6-4-0 in their last ten, hanging on for a dear life of a playoff spot and are coming off a 3-1 win versus the Kings Wednesday night. But, like I said the Penguins, Sharks have some history together and I would be shocked if you told me the Sharks aren’t looking for a little revenge coming into this game, they only meet two times a year and rarely see each other, I think the Sharks want to make the most of this game. They do meet ten days after tonight, in Pittsburgh and tonight I am going Sharks.

Tampa Bay Lightning(31-11-3) vs Minnesota Wild(24-17-5)

The Lightning are coming off a tough loss to the leagues best Vegas Golden Knights, and as the Bruins continue their winning ways, the Lightning’s division lead is getting smaller and smaller, another loss tonight and a Bruins win puts the Lightning, only three points in comfort. A win is crucial for Tampa Bay tonight and coming into this game they are 5-4-1 in their last ten, on a two-game losing streak, and post a 14-6-2 road record. TheLightning has yet to drop three games in a row this season and going on a skid at this time of the year is definitely not the best timing. The Wild, on the other hand, are battling for a playoff spot and a win tonight for them is a must as teams they are battling are either on tonight or have won their last game. The Wild are 6-2-2 in their last ten and post a 15-4-4 home record, home ice tends to treat the Wild well. This is a tough one, both teams need a win and the Wild definitely need it more than the Lightning but the Lightning do not want to even have those doubts in their head this time of year. Tonight I am going Lightning.



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