FREE NHL Picks: February 26, 2018

Washington Capitals(35-20-7) vs Columbus Blue Jackets(31-26-5)

The Capitals dropped out of first in the Metro for the first time this season this week, and the Flyers and Penguins have really gained some traction on the Capitals and cut they’re divisional lead by one, do not worry the Capitals are back in first with a win over Buffalo Saturday night. The Capitals are only up by one point and have one game in hand to Pittsburgh, the same amount as games played as Philadelphia. The Capitals now face a team they have played three times already and currently hold the series lead 3-0. Two coming in Washington, two in Columbus and tonight’s matchup comes in Columbus where the Blue Jackets are usually known as a great team but they are subpar and as of late they have not been playing great, but they are within a playoff spot by two points ahead of the Islanders. The Blue Jackets did just acquire former Blue Jacket and Penguin Mark Letestu. Letestu was acquired for a depth role and help this team with their second power play and some depth scoring. Going up against the Capitals and Ovechkin’s almost 40-goal marker, it won’t  be easy to slow this offense down. The Capitals are 5-3-2 in their last ten with a 14-11-5 road record, going into this game already taking three from Columbus they clearly have the Blue Jackets number and also come off a day of rest. Well, the Blue Jackets now in a playoff spot are 4-5-1 in their last ten coming off a win Sunday night vs Chicago. Not the greatest win but the Blue Jackets need points, I could see this game going into overtime also. Going with the Capitals though.

Philadelphia Flyers(33-19-10) vs Montreal Canadiens(23-29-9)

The red-hot Flyers continue their tear with a win vs Ottawa and now they head to another Canadian based team to face off against the Canadiens for the second time in six days. The Flyers currently hold the seasons series 2-0, last game coming in overtime and but now the Flyers travel to Bell Centre where the Canadiens are a bit more successful with a 15-10-7 record. Don’t think the Flyers are too worried as they are 9-0-1 in their last ten and currently a point out of the top spot in the Metro. The Canadiens are 3-4-3 in their last ten coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to Tampa Bay. The Canadiens are without Carey Price due to the Flyers Shane Gostisbehere slapshot to Price’s face and now they are without Shea Weber and Carey Price. Newly acquired Petr Mrazek has been fairly decent for the Flyers but I see a great game coming from Mrazek a team he knows fairly well and riding a hot Philadelphia team. Going with Flyers for sure tonight though.

Toronto Maple Leafs(39-20-5) vs Tampa Bay Lightning(42-17-3)

A battle of the top in the Atlantic, the Lighting currently lead the division with 87 points as the Leafs now trail the Lighting by 4 points, a win tonight inches the Leafs closer to the Lightning. The Leafs are currently on a tear, a four-game win streak and 9-1-0 in their last ten, but without Auston Matthews, this team will struggle against top teams like this. The Lighting are also on their own three-game win streak with a 6-4-0 record in their last ten. This is a tough one because the Leafs offense has been scoring from across the lineup and newly acquired Tomas Plekanec possibly makes his debut against a good Tampa team, so the Leafs get to see what the veteran forward brings to the lineup and hopefully Plekanec makes a statement tonight. I could see Plekanec burying one tonight. Kucherov though, leading the league in points up there in goal scoring, with partner Steven Stamkos on top of the other six Lighting players who have 44 points or more. The Lighting are deep and do not be surprised to see this team acquire Ryan McDonagh tonight, well actually either of these two teams will. Anyways the Lightning and Leafs have met twice this year and the season series is tied at 1-1 with one more game to be played after tonight. Both teams are well rested with some fresh legs, going to be a great one, should probably be on NBCSN but that’s the NHL. Going Lightning tonight.

Vegas Golden Knights(41-16-4) vs Los Angeles Kings(33-14-5)

The sleeper team of this trade deadline, the LA Kings go after a veteran defenseman and top six forward and since then have been decent, they are 5-5-0 in their last ten on a two-game drought, the Kings need this two points as they are two points out of a playoff spot but they go against one of the top teams in the NHL. The Vegas Golden Knights on a two-game winning streak of their own and 7-3-0 in their last ten with plenty in hand of that Pacific division. These two have met now two times and the series is in favor of the Golden Knights 2-0, they last met in December though and met one more time after tonight. A tough one, I want to go, Kings, because they need to snap out of this small drought and string together a win and against a good team like this would be a major confidence booster. The Golden Knights though just seem to not go away, they are only one point behind the league lead, making history each game they win. Kings are 14-11-3 on home ice as Vegas is 17-11-2 on the road. Both coming off a three to two days rest, so no excuse for tired legs here. Well for sure see a quick fast paced game and I have to go with Kings tonight, see a big game out of Jeff Carter and company tonight.


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