NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

FREE NHL PLAYOFF Picks: April 17, 2018

Washington Capitals vs Columbus Blue Jackets

Capitals are in some tough water now as they head to Columbus down 2-0 and have two to play in Nation Wide arena. If losing in the second round has been a horror for Capitals fans, perhaps getting swept in the first is worse. The Capitals and Blue Jackets have kept every game very close and both games have gone to overtime. The story out of this series though is the power play advantage as the Blue Jackets have converted on 4/8 of their man advantage scenarios and the Capitals are 5/11, just two games we have seen a combined 9 power play goals. Essentially if the Capitals want to take this one it is either stay out of the box or convert on their power plays more than Columbus. Also, another headline for tonight is Braden Holtby returning to the crease? As Philip Grubauer got pulled in Sunday’s game, it may be Holtby’s crease rest of playoffs. This game is a do or die for the Capitals the only way they win this game is if they stay disciplined, get off to an early lead and hold the Blue Jackets off. Holding a lead is tough in the playoffs and it’s been evident for Washington, but game three in Columbus up 2-0, will not be easy for the Capitals to take. Going Columbus here tonight.

Winnipeg Jets vs Minnesota Wild

The Jets come into this game under a little better circumstances. They dealt with major traveling issues before game three and it showed as they got pumped 6-2. I would have to guarantee we will see a different Jets team. Although the Wild are good at playing at home and they feed off the energy at the Excel Center, the Jets are going to come out buzzing after losing the way they did. The Wild have welcomed Jared Spurgeon back recently, so that is a plus and they did see offensive production from a number of guys last game. The Jets though like I said were not themselves. The Jets still managed to outshoot the Wild too, Dubynk played a great game but he won’t do that every game as he has faced 115 shots over the last three games. This is going to be an interesting one, it will be tough for the Jets to come into Minnesota and take one, but it is not impossible. With a chance to take a 3-1 lead heading back home to Winnipeg for a possible series win in game five. The Jets have to be thinking this game is a must win. As goes for the Wild. Going to be a tough one to call but I’m going Wild.

Vegas Golden Knights vs Los Angeles Kings 

Vegas is up 3-0! With a chance to be the first team to win their playoff series as well as collect their first playoff series win in franchise history. The Golden Knights have been backed by Marc Andre Fleury and his stellar performances, as the Kings, Jonathan Quick has stood tall the Kings are struggling to score goals. The real advantage the Kings have over Vegas right now is their physical play. They have thrown the body around a ton this series but it has not been proven to work as of late. The Kings need to come out and get the first one here tonight and build from that momentum. Too many times they let Vegas generate some confidence and pressure them on the front end, which has put them on their heels and in some tough spots. The Kings know what to expect from Vegas at this point, a gritty, explosive team that will be in your face all game. If L.A. manages to get to Fleury early and get a couple of quick ones here they can win. Another real tight one to call but I’m going L.A.

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