FREE NHL Picks: March 20, 2018

Pittsburgh Penguins(41-26-5) vs New York Islanders(30-32-10)

The Islanders are out of a playoff spot, for anyone that truly believes they still have a shot you sir are delusional. They have now dropped 9 of their last ten games, lost 3 of those in overtime and are currently on a three-game losing streak. They’ve picked up 5 points of the last possible 20 points and 1000 percent out of it. They have 9 games remaining after tonight and, right now it does not look good for New York. They usually play Pittsburgh well, but right now this deep in the season with the Penguins looking to make a run at first, I can’t see them dropping to the Islanders. These two have faced off three times prior to this and 2 of the three games have gone to overtime, the Penguins hold the season series 3-0, looking for the season sweep here. In their last ten, the Penguins are 5-4-1, playing mediocre hockey as of late. On top of the Penguins struggles they are a decent road team, posting a below .500 road record, 15-18-4, also dropping 4 of their last five road games. The Penguins are certainly the better team, even with Tristian Jarry or Casey DeSmith in net the Penguins are most definitely the favorites here tonight, going Penguins.

Dallas Stars(38-27-8) vs Washington Capitals(41-25-7)

Day 1 of 9 without Ben Bishop starts tonight, the Stars get their first test vs the Capitals and Kari Lehtonen gets his first start in a week. The Stars are in serious trouble here as the Kings won Monday night they now sit two points out of a wild-card spot and have a very tough remaining schedule ahead of them. They are 2-4-4 in their last ten while posting a 14-17-5 road record. A lot of pressure is on the Stars top three guys of Radulov-Benn-Seguin, the only three who really do anything for this team and now they are really going to be called upon. As the Capitals more than likely have a playoff spot locked down, they still could drop out of first so every point is crucial for this team as well. The Capitals are 6-4-0 in their last ten coming off a loss to Philadelphia, with the Penguins behind them by 2 points and Flyers by 4 points. These last few games will not be easy for Washington and the race for the number one seed in the Metropolitan division is going to come down to the wire. Tonight, I may go with the road dogs here the Stars know how desperate they will need to play and how crucial this game is, I see a full team effort and a solid performance out of Lehtonen, call me crazy, going Stars.

Florida Panthers(36-27-7) vs Ottawa Senators(26-34-11)

The Panthers got the first job done of the week, now they have to face yet another non-playoff opponent and this game is another MUST win, going back to back won’t be easy but the Panthers with a win over Montreal Monday night sit now three points out, with two games in hand. The Panthers will probably go with James Reimer as Roberto Luongo started Monday night. Reimer last start came against the Bruins March 15, in which he posted a 46 save shutout. When Luongo was out Reimer did play his part fairly well and did all he could to keep the Panthers afloat. On the season Reimer has 17 wins, 3.06 GAA and .910 save percentage. Ottawa though, will not be an easy opponent, playing spoilers hockey and a team playing a little better over the last month, they will give the Panthers a run for there money. The Senators are 5-4-1 in their last ten with a 15-14-6 home record and having beat teams like the Lightning, Dallas, and Vegas recently this team is not going to be an easy feat. Also, the Panthers and Ottawa faced off just last week(March 12), where the Senators beat the Panthers 5-3. These two have met two times already and the series is tied 1-1, after the Senators beating Florida I see Florida coming out flying. Going Panthers here tonight.

Philadelphia Flyers(37-25-11) vs Detroit Red Wings(26-35-11)

Wow, the wheels have fallen off the wagon for Detroit here, just a little while ago I feel like I remember seeing this team with a .500 record, but after dropping 10 straight the Red Wings are really struggling they are 0-9-1 in their last ten. The storyline of tonight will be Petr Mrazek’s return to Detroit since the trade and also if the Red Wings can snap out of their drought and actually win. The Red Wings and Flyers have met now two times already and each game has been a one-goal game, one game went to overtime as well. But with the Flyers battling for some playoff separation from the Blue Jackets and posting a 3-6-1 record in their last ten, I would find it very hard to see this team lose. Mrazek will come out hungry I think and the Flyers will run this team into the ground. Going Flyers tonight.

Toronto Maple Leafs(43-22-7) vs Tampa Bay Lightning(49-19-4)

The Lightning have clinched the playoffs making them the second team to do so, but tonight will have a playoff atmosphere to it, so the Lightning better not think this is going to be some wash away game. These two have met now three times already and every game has been a playoff-type game, the Lightning hold the season series at 2-1, winning the last matchup in a shootout. If anyone caught the Kings vs Wild game Monday night, this game will look very similar to that one. The Leafs will be without Auston Matthews again tonight, as well Frederick Anderson is uncertain for tonight. The only issue the Lightning have is playing without Ondrej Palat, not a big loss. The Lightning come into this game posting a 7-2-1 record in their last ten with a 26-8-2 home record, coming off a road win vs Edmonton. The Leafs come into this game with a 6-2-2 record in their last ten, on a four-game win streak, with an 18-14-5 record. The Leafs will probably go with Curtis McElhinney, who is coming off a 33 save shutout vs Montreal and a win in his last three starts. The Leafs are flying high right now even without Matthews. This is going to be the game of the night for sure, even with the Leafs 9 points behind the Lightning, they are a hungry team right now and they are running with a ton of momentum into the playoffs now. Going Leafs tonight.

Other games on tonight…

Blue Jackets vs Rangers: Preview around 3 pm…

Oilers vs Hurricanes: Grab a cup of joe for this one. Oilers.

Kings vs Jets: Jets 

Avalanche vs Blackhawks: N/A

Canucks vs Golden Knights: Vegas 

Devils vs Sharks: SHARKS are hot, at home, Devils been on the road for five days now, going Sharks.  


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