NHL Picks: December 20th 2018

Anaheim Ducks vs Boston Bruins

The Bruins need these two a little more than the Ducks but the Ducks have been on quite the tear, despite losing a surprising one to the Rangers the other night. The Ducks have propelled into third place in the Pacific and are 8-2-0 in their last ten games. The Ducks rarely come to the East Coast and playing on the road is not a strong suit for the Ducks. They are 9-8-0 on the road and this will be their first meeting with the Bruins. The Ducks are not going to come into Boston and walk away with an easy win, they score the same amount of goals as Boston and allow basically the same. The Ducks score 2.53 goals per game, Boston scores 2.74 as the Ducks allow 2.81 goals per game and the Bruins allow 2.59 goals per game. This has all the signs of being a low scoring game. The Bruins still banged up, up front and the Ducks are as well but have a few plug in guys doing their job. This is going to be a tough game, Ducks have two more road games before returning home, they need two or at least one here tonight. Going, Ducks in overtime though.

Montreal Canadiens vs Arizona Coyotes

Is there any reason as to why we always force ourselves into believing the Coyotes are going to be different every year yet they are usually always the same team. Sure they are a little better this year but the Coyotes are not going to be a real tough opponent for many top teams. But a game like Montreal on home ice favors the Coyotes a little more. The Canadiens and Yotes are on a two-game skid, the Coyotes are 4-6-0 in their last ten and 6-9-1 on home ice and the Canadiens are 6-4-0 in their last ten and 7-6-3 on the road. The Coyotes score 2.45 goals per game vs the Coyotes 3.06 goals per game, the Coyotes allow 2.79 goals per game as the Canadiens allow 3.23 goals per game. With Antti Niemi in net for Montreal and Darcy Kemper getting back to back starts. I am going with Coyotes here tonight. Kuemper is going to play one of his best since coming back and the Coyotes play well on home ice. Going Yotes here.

New York Islanders vs Vegas Golden Knights

Both teams are playing pretty similar in their last ten but the Islanders are the better team right now, winning their last three games, the Islanders are 5-3-2 in their last ten and 9-7-2 on the road. As Vegas is 6-3-1 in their last ten and 10-3-1 at home. The Golden Knights last played the Islanders two weeks ago in which they won 3-2, which could mean two things. The Islanders win or Knights win the only two meetings between these two. The Islanders are getting some solid production from their depth guys right now as the Knights have Paul Statsny and Max Pacioretty back finally. The Golden Knights score 2.95 goals per game vs the Islanders 2.85 goals per game. As the two allow basically the same amount of goals against as well Vegas 2.81 vs Islanders 2.73. The Knights on home ice is tough to go against they are a very good home team and almost anytime you see Vegas home you know to go with Vegas. Sticking with the hot team though, going Islanders. Going to be low scoring, 2-1 Islanders here.

Minnesota Wild vs Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins are going on a back to back after playing a tough game vs Washington Wednesday night. The Wild are coming into tonight on a two-game losing streak and 3-7-0 in their last ten. The Wild are also 7-8-0 on the road as the Penguins are 6-3-1 in their last ten and 9-7-2 at home. The Penguins are coming into their full stride finally and it will not be pretty for the Eestern Conference. The Wild are struggling greatly and after the Penguins played a tough game vs Washington this would be the Wild’s best chance to jump on the Penguins early and get a big road win. The Wild have Pittsburgh one more time until the month ends, therefore I could see it being a win here for Minnesota and Pittsburgh take the game on December 31st in Minnesota. Going Wild tonight.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Calgary Flames

Two of the best teams in the NHL going head to head tonight. The Flames are 8-2-0 in their last ten and 11-3-2 on home ice this season as the Lightning are 9-0-1 in their last ten and 11-3-2 on the road this season. The Lightning score around 4.03 goals per game (1st) vs the Flames 3.49 goals per game (6th), the Flames do allow less goals at 2.69 goals per game (3rd) and the Lightning allow 2.83 goals per game (10th). Both power plays are top-10 in the league, Flames 22.6 percentage vs the Lightnings 29.5. Their penalty kills are also pretty solid although the Lightning’s is much better the Flames have a 79.8 percentage and Lightning have a 84 percentage pk. This is going to be the best game on tonight. This game will probably be decided in the final minutes of the game. Tonight the Flames are going with Mike Smith it seems and the Lightning are going with Andrei Vasilevskiy. This is the first meeting between the two this year, I am feeling the Lightning with a road win, but the Flames Mike Smith and that defense will do a good job shutting down the Lightning’s top guys. Going to be a low scoring game as long as it stays 5 on 5, feeling a Flames win.

Winnipeg Jets vs San Jose Sharks 

The Jets dropped a tough in L.A. Tuesday night and now face a hot San Jose team. The Sharks are on a five-game win streak and looking to finally be the team we all expected them to be. The Jets are still the better team, 8-2-0 in their last ten vs the Sharks 7-3-0 record. The Jets though have a 9-6-0 road record and Sharks post a 11-3-2 home record. The Jets score around 3.56 goals per game (4th) and the Sharks score 3.31 goals per game (T8th), both allow around 2.8 goals per game. The big difference maker will be the Jets start, they started out slow vs L.A. Tuesday and they do that again and let San Jose capitalize early get an early lead we may see a San Jose win. The Jets have Vancouver to end the road trip and return home to Calgary and Minnesota until they end December in Edmonton. The Jets need this one because their schedule is not easy and this is a good confidence game here. I like the Jets to end the Sharks five-game win streak and hot home play. The Jets are playing Connor Hellebuyck (2.90 GAA, .908 SV percentage) again and Sharks go Martin Jones (2.81 GAA, .901 SV percentage). Going Jets here with a 4-3 road win.

Other games on tonight: 

Nashville vs Philadelphia: Nashville.

Detroit vs Carolina: Unpredictable, no go for me.

Chicago vs Dallas: Dallas.

Florida vs Toronto: Toronto.

New Jersey vs Columbus: No go for me.

St. Louis vs Vancouver: Vancouver.

 

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