FREE NHL Picks: April 1, 2018

Boston Bruins(49-17-11) vs Philadelphia Flyers(39-25-14)

What a perfect way to start your Easter, sit back, grab a cold one(or 12) and watch this battle. The Bruins are back within first place of the Atlantic and have a chance to gain some separation as the Lightning play tonight vs a pissed off Nashville team. The Bruins come into this game on a back to back though, after beating Florida 5-1 Saturday night and losing Brandon Carlo for the year, the Bruins injuries continue. Now Carlo and McVoy out these injuries come at a terrible time, yet Boston continues to prevail. The Flyers come into this game on a three-day rest after beating Colorado Thursday night, they get ready for a playoff type game. These two have met two times prior to this and the series belong to Boston 2-0, both games Boston has scored three goals and did beat the Flyers recently(Mar.8). The factor in tonight is that Tuukka Rask played Saturday night so the Flyers may be seeing back up Anton Khudobin who has not started since Mar. 15, despite his solid play in net this season, Khudobin is coming in a little cold. Plus factor in the fact the Bruins have McAvoy, Carlo, Riley Nash(probable), Anders Bjork out and Rick Nash out the Flyers have to take advantage of this and pick up a much needed two points. The Flyers only lead New Jersey by one point and with New Jersey playing Montreal they have a greater chance of winning then the Flyers. This is game has major playoff implications and with not a lot of time left and no time to lose the Flyers need to ratchet it up here and get going. For the sake of a backup, 12:30 pm (est) start time, NBC coverage, I feel a solid start and performance out of Philly today, go Flyers.

Nashville Predators(50-17-11) vs Tampa Bay Lightning(52-22-4)

The Predators got smoked last night by the Sabres, holy moly no one saw that coming, a 7-4 beatdown by one of the worst teams on one of the best teams. I am going to have to say this did not make Nashville happy, and they will come out flying here today. Especially a battle of the best here tonight the Preds and Lightning is going to be a tough game to call, could also be a Stanley Cup preview… Anwyas the Lighting come into this game dropping out of first after the Bruins win Saturday night but coming off a 7-3 beat down to the Rangers. The Lightning is 5-5-0 in their last ten and already safely in a playoff spot by like I said there is a rivalry brewing in Boston vs Tampa Bay so the Lighting are hoping to do all they can to take back first with a win tonight. The Predators come into this game feeling a bit embarrassed after losing to the worst team in the league by three goals and allowing them to tally seven on you, is not good. The Preds come in similar to Lightning, comfortably in a playoff spot but still wanting to pick up a much-needed win and confidence booster. The Preds are 6-3-1 in their last ten. These two have met only one time prior to this and it came January 23, the game resulted in a 4-3 Tampa Bay overtime win in Nashville and I think we can see the cards flipped here. I am going Nashville tonight.

New Jersey Devils(41-28-9) vs Montreal Canadiens(28-38-12)

The Devils are finding ways to win lately and it has been the sole reason I think Florida does not make even with a game in hand. The Devils have four games left and a possible 8 points to get, per say at this moment with 91 points they only end up getting 5/8 points finishing the season with 96 points, the Panthers now have five games remaining with a possible 10 points to be earned, at 86 points the Panthers would need to win out the rest of the season if this scenario stays true or rely on New Jersey to take a dump in their remaining four games. Ok, now this game has major playoff implications for the Devils obviously as stated above and they come off a back to back, which is tough but so does Montreal, the Devils coming off a 4-3 win vs the Islanders and Montreal losing 5-2 vs Pittsburgh. We can expect to see Corey Schneider in net here tonight as he has been the backup goaltender in a sense lately, last starting a game Mar. 8. The Canadiens will probably be going with Carey Price as Antti Niemi started Saturday night. I don’t see the Devils playing worse here tonight, they are a hungry team that knows what they have to do to get into the playoffs, can’t let this game slip, expect a good game from Schneider too. Going, Devils.

Washington Capitals(46-25-7) vs Pittsburgh Penguins(45-28-6)

Start Easter off right and end it right! With what is going to be one of the best games of the last two weeks honestly. The Capitals lead the Metro with 99 points as Pittsburgh has 96 points, two for Pittsburgh makes it 98, making them that much closer to the Capitals. These two are in a clinched playoff spot but they absolutely hate each other due to their past and playoff history. Therefore this game is going to be a nice early taste of what playoff hockey will look like this year. The Capitals come into this game off a 4-1 loss to Carolina Friday night as Pittsburgh comes off a back to back and a win over Montreal. The Capitals are 8-2-0 in their last ten as Pittsburgh is 6-2-2, with little travel for Pittsburgh in this game it will be a major plus for them coming off a game Saturday night. The Penguins started Matt Murray vs Montreal so we can expect to possibly see one of their backups and the Capitals are torn between Holtby or Grubauer, right now nothing is confirmed and probably won’t be until 4:00 pm (est). This is going to be a great game, there is not much to even be said about this game, watch it and enjoy. The past between these two will come out in tonight’s game, but tonight I am going Pittsburgh.

Colorado Avalanche(42-28-8) vs Anaheim Ducks(40-25-13)

Too bad us West Coast people cannot watch this game because this is going to be a barn burner. The Avalanche trail a playoff spot by one point, and one of those teams they trail by one point, the Ducks. This game has playoffs written all over it, if Pittsburgh vs Washington is not a sign of playoff hockey this game will for sure be. Playing in the same conference, battling for a playoff spot and meeting, for now, the third time is going to make for a great game. The first two meetings resulted in a 3-1 win Colorado, both games in Colorado and now it returns to Anaheim. The Ducks come into this game 6-3-1 as the Avalanche are 6-4-0. The Av’s last played Friday night, blanking the Blackhawks and the Ducks last played Friday night as well coming off a 2-1 win over the Kings. Both teams come in on a day of rest and ready to compete. With very little time left and no time to waste for either team, this game is a do or die for both of them. We can expect to see Jonathan Bernier or Andrew Hammond in net for Colorado as Varlamov is out for the season and we can expect to see John Gibson in net for Anaheim. With a backup goaltender in net and battered Colorado team, Ducks at home and losing two already to Colorado, going Ducks tonight.


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