FREE NHL Picks: January 24, 2018

Toronto Maple Leafs(26-18-5) vs Chicago Blackhawks(22-19-6) 

The Leafs and Blackhawks, two original six teams, two teams with very skilled forwards, two teams struggling on the back end. An NBCSN matchup, Wednesday night rivalry night. The Leafs, Hawks will make for an interesting outcome. The Maple Leafs are coming off a 4-2 loss to Colorado and have been struggling over the last ten games, posting a 3-4-3 record. With Morgan Reilly hitting the injured reserve, the only other Leafs defenseman back there is now Jeff Gardiner, obviously, there are other pieces but no one capable of much. The Leafs were once in second place in the Atlantic and since the Bruins going on a 17 game point streak they are now seven points behind Boston. The Leafs have not seen much offensive production from a lot of players this year, Kadri, Komarov, JVR, Nylander, Marner, basically their top six has struggled. The positive side though they face a team that is on a three-game losing streak and struggling as well. The Hawks are 4-5-1 in their last ten coming off getting shutout by the Lightning. Much like Toronto, the Hawks have struggled on the offensive side of things besides one player, Patrick Kane. Other then Kane, they have not seen a ton of offensive nor defensive depth, and have dealt with Corey Crawford being injured for quite some time all season. Two teams that are frustrated, begging for a win, one team that is out of a playoff race and one team that has been there before but hopes to turn their fortune around in coming years. Auston Matthews vs Patrick Kane. The Hawks at home are 12-10-2 while the Leafs are 13-10-3 on the road, tonight I am going Leafs.

Los Angeles Kings(25-18-5) vs Calgary Flames(25-16-6) 

One of these teams has been on a tear as of late while the other has watched their playoff chances dwindle away. Guess who is who? Flames are 7-1-2 in their last ten and in third place in the Pacific, while the Kings are 3-7-0 in their last ten and now two points out of a playoff spot. The Flames offense has been fueled by Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monohan with the respects of Michael Freland stepping up. Plus, Mike Smith has been a legitimate starting goaltender and actually gives the Flames a chance to win. The Flames also on home ice are not the greatest team to take that into consideration when choosing tonight, they post a 12-11-2 home record. Not great for a top 15 NHL team. While the Kings have some solid forward pieces but not enough that produce consistently, besides Anze Kopitar the Kings have not seen a ton offensive depth. Without Kopitar and Quick, the Kings would not have even been in contention for a playoff spot. The Kings are coming off a 6-2 shackle by a basement team, Vancouver. A back to back on the road, with a record of 13-9-2, I am not liking L.A. tonight. Tonight I am going Flames.


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