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FREE NHL Picks: December 12, 2017

Ottawa Senators(9-12-7) vs Buffalo Sabres(7-17-6) 

Who would have thought this would be the hardest game to pick a winner, the Sabres have been terrible all season and the Senators have managed to win four games since November 1st, and as of now, they are on a four-game losing streak. The Senators performing this poorly simply does not make sense, after acquiring Matt Duchene it seemed the wheels fell off the track. The Sabres definitely did not see this type of production this early in the season, a team that had high(er) hopes to come into the season, simply fell face first on the ground. This one will probably have Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner in net, both goalies are not great right now and Lehner see’s no help from his back end. Tonight I am going Senators.

Los Angeles Kings(20-8-3) vs New Jersey Devils(16-9-4) 

The Devils welcome the hottest team in the NHL to the “Rock”, in the last ten the Kings have managed to pick up eight wins and have scored 32 goals in the last ten. While the Devils lead of the Metropolitan has slipped through their fingers as they are now in the first wild-card spot. As the season continues the Devils momentum has seemed to die out, in the last ten the Devils are 5-4-1. A game that has major implications for the season it would be bad for the Devils to drop this one as the rest of December their schedule does not get easier. The Kings are also starting their first of four road games tonight. Which starting on the right foot is important. I’m going, Kings.

Toronto Maple Leafs(20-10-1) vs Philadelphia Flyers(11-11-7) 

After dropping ten straight the Flyers have bounced back to win three in a row, which earned Brian Elliott the third star of the last week. Something the Flyers need desperately is solid goaltending and luckily that is what Elliott has been able to bring them. Unfortunately, tonight will be no cakewalk as the Flyers take on one of the better teams int he NHL and a young explosive Toronto offense. Toronto is 6-3-1 in their last ten and post a 10-5-1 away record. For some reason, I have a feeling this game may go to overtime, one time that rarely goes to overtime vs another team that it feels like all they do is play overtime hockey. A close game is in store no doubt, but tonight I am going Toronto.

Tampa Bay Lightning(21-6-2) vs St. Louis Blues(21-8-2) 

The battle of the top! This game could not have come at a worse time for St. Louis though as they have just received news that Alex Pietrangelo will hit the IR and Jaden Schwartz will be out for 4-6 weeks. The Blues are without one of their top forwards and best defenseman going up against the best team in the NHL. Luckily Jake Allen has been lights out in his last 4 games posting, four wins, 1.50 GAA and .944 save percentage. The Lightning has also not been lights out like the beginning of the year but still when a team has players like Stamkos and Kucherov, the two top point-go’ers in the NHL it is tough to rule this team out of any game. Tampa is 6-4-0 in their last ten with an 8-4-1 away record, while the Blues are 6-3-1 in their last ten with an 11-5-0 home record. I like the Blues tonight even without Schwartz and Piet, Blues tonight for me.

Carolina Hurricanes(11-11-7) vs Vegas Golden Knights(19-9-1) 

I cannot believe I am about to write this but Vegas is going to be the fifth team this year to reach 20 wins after tonight. Vegas has been one of the best home teams this year, wait, nevermind they have been the best home team this year, losing only two games of the 14 games they played this season. Production from players that were fourth or third line players scoring like first line players has been Vegas’s kryptonite. Plus solid goaltending from god knows where these players came from Vegas is tough to beat, especially at home. Carolina is a sub-par team coming off back to back, I don’t like them tonight. Running Vegas.

Other games on tonight

Avalanche vs Capitals: Both on back to back, going Capitals.

Oilers vs Blue Jackets: Man, the Oilers can’t catch a break. Jackets.

Flames vs Wild: This is a tough one, two teams battling for a wild card spot right now. Going Wild.

Panthers vs Blackhawks: Panthers on a back to back probably starting their back up and plus playing four periods. Going Hawks.

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Dallas Stars(16-13-1) vs New York Rangers(16-11-2) 

The Stars begin their Tri-state road trip with the New York Rangers, this is just the second time the Stars are facing off against a Metropolitan division. Coming off a 5-3 loss to Vegas and posting a 6-4-0 record in their last ten the Stars have landed themselves in contention of a playoff spot. As of now, the Stars are tied at 33 points with Minnesota. Four road games are not something that favors the Stars and their situation. The Rangers are coming off a big win vs New Jersey the other night while posting a 7-3-0 record in their last ten. The Rangers have played against three other Central division opponents, the Rangers are also heading into a rough stretch right now going home and traveling in all matchups this week. The Rangers are one point out of a wild-card spot with 34 points. The Rangers posted a 12-5-0 home record and will be looking to stay afloat in this wild Metro divisional race. Tonight I’m going Rangers.

Washington Capitals(18-11-1) vs New York Islanders(16-10-3) 

Two of the top teams in the Metro and the highest scoring offenses in the league. An offense that is led by two stars has led these two teams to be within the best of the NHL right now. Washington goes on an away, home, away trip this week and in their last ten they have posted an 8-2-0 record. While on the road they are 6-6-1, heading into face one of the better home teams in the league. The Islanders offense has surely fired up this team thus far, while their goaltending is lacking they still have managed to stay within the top four in the division. The Islanders are 5-4-1 in their last ten, but 8-1-2 at home this season. Tonight, I like the Islanders.

Florida Panthers(11-14-4) vs Detroit Red Wings(11-13-5)

The Panthers are definitely underperforming this season and after losing Roberto Luongo earlier in the week last week, it does not help this struggling offense.  Without Luongo, the Panthers are 1-1 and in their last ten, they are 4-4-2, while posting a 5-8-1 away record. The Panthers offense will need to be clicking consistently, something that they have struggled with all year. The Red Wings have fallen off from their hot start and currently sit 5th in the Atlantic division, the Red Wings have seen some unlikely rookie and young prospect production but it has not been enough to keep this team afloat the divisional race. In the last ten, the Red Wings are 2-5-3, while posting a 5-6-4 home record. Tonight, I like Florida.

Carolina Hurricanes(11-10-7) vs Anaheim Ducks(12-11-7) 

The Ducks have seen their fair share of injuries this year but they have slowly got back some key pieces, like Rakell, Kase, Fowler, Bieska but are still without Silfverberg, Kesler, Getzlaf, Lindholm. The fact this team has still been winning and are posting an above .500 record is insane. The Ducks are now 6th in the Pacific division and posting a 2-4-4 record in their last ten and a 7-7-3 home record. The Hurricanes have been underperforming this season, by the standards, we had set them for earlier in the year. The Hurricanes have struggled with some offensive depth scoring and goaltending issues, and have been back and forth, an inconsistent team all season. In their last ten, the Hurricanes are 3-4-3 and post a 5-6-4 record on the road. Tonight, I like the Ducks.

Other games on tonight

Canucks vs Jets: Jets

Avalanche vs Penguins: Penguins

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San Jose Sharks(14-9-2) vs Washington Capitals(15-11-1) 

The Capitals have looked to be getting back on track and to the old Capitals teams we know, even without a strong blue line, this offense has certainly picked up the slack as of late. A big win over divisional rivals Columbus, the Capitals improved to 6-4-0 in their last ten games. While at home this season the Capitals are 9-5-0. Taking a look at the Sharks is a little vaguer, as they have been a bit streaky and inconsistent this season, goal scoring from Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns has not been there, and San Jose as a whole struggle to score goals on most nights. Sharks in their last ten are 5-3-2 and on the road this season they are, 7-3-1. A solid road team vs a solid home team, throw in two top goaltenders in the NHL and we have ourselves a low scoring contest. Sharks stay out of the box and start quick, a win can be in store but tonight I am going Washington.

New York Islanders(15-8-2) vs Florida Panthers(10-13-3) 

The Islanders have been an exciting team to watch, as five forwards continue to produce all season and are the driving point to the Islanders success, one defenseman has slowly crept up in the point race for defenseman. If the Islanders can get some goaltending this could be a dangerous team, unfortunately, Halak and Greiss are just not getting the job done. In their last ten the Islanders are, 7-3-0 but on the road, they’re 7-7-0. As goes for the Panthers we never know what to expect from this team and as their top six forward Evgeni Dadonov is out, the Panthers are looking for some unlikely players to fill the ranks. In their last ten, the Panthers are 5-4-1, while at home they are 5-5-2. One team that struggles on the road and one that struggles at home, while both goaltenders are nothing special we can expect a higher goal tally her tonight. Going Islanders.

Boston Bruins(12-8-4) vs Nashville Predators(16-7-3)

The Bruins have been slowly getting healthy, getting David Backes back, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Torey Krug, this team is benefiting a lot with their healthy roster. The Bruins are also on a two winning streak after taking down Philadelphia, and Tampa Bay. The Bruins beat Nashville 4-3 but in Boston, now the tables have turned as the two meet for the last time this regular season. The Bruins are 6-3-1 in their last ten while being 5-4-2 on the road. Nashville one of the best home teams in the NHL welcome an opponent they saw over a month ago, but as Nashville is home this time around, their 10-2-1 home record should pay dividends into their success tonight. In their last ten, Nashville has managed to post a 7-2-1 record, and it seems the addition of Kyle Turris is looking to be a good one. This game will be no easy test, but tonight I am going with Nashville.

Philadelphia Flyers(8-11-7) vs Calgary Flames(14-11-1) 

As we all should know the Flyers are currently riding a 10 game losing streak, and if this continues they could be posting a franchise record for the number of games last in a row. In their last ten they have managed to pick up 5 points, but post a 0-5-5 record and, the worst part about this game is their road record is not much better as they are 4-5-3. There are no positives to be looked at for this teams skid lately. The Flames are lucky as they welcome a fragile Flyers team, but also not so lucky because this could mean the Flames may be the team the Flyers beat and end the streak. Calgary has not looked great and has slowed down a tad since the start, in their last ten they are 5-4-1 while posting a 7-7-0 home record. A fragile pissed off Flyers team vs a Calgary team that must collect two points to stay in this playoff race. Tonight I am going with Calgary.

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Carolina Hurricanes(10-8-5) vs New York Rangers(13-10-2) 

The Rangers dropped their first home game in nine games vs the Panthers Wednesday night. A game that was filled with back and forth play, resulting in a pulled Lundqvist the Rangers started off slow yet again. Before the Rangers head to Washington and Pittsburgh, they close out their homestand with Carolina tonight. Carolina is not a team to be overlooked, although the last time these two met the Rangers won 6-1 on the road in Carolina. The Rangers are slowly inching back into playoff contention, and they cannot afford to lose another vital game. If the Rangers want to be a playoff team letting points like this slip is not good. Going Rangers tonight.

Anaheim Ducks(11-10-4) vs Columbus Blue Jackets(16-8-1) 

Newly acquired Adam Henrique will be making his debut for the Ducks tonight, and for some reason, whenever a trade like this happens, the player making his debut for the team(Henrique) has a good night and the team ends up winning. I want to say that is the case but John Gibson has not looked great, the Ducks are hurting and Columbus is home. Columbus at home is almost a guaranteed win, almost, their home record would not show it but Columbus is a deeper well-rounded team. Have to go Columbus

San Jose Sharks(13-8-2) vs Florida Panthers(10-12-2) 

The Panthers are coming off a big win vs the Rangers Wednesday night and as they return home to face a streaky Sharks team, another win could be in store tonight. I really like the Panthers offense and how explosive they can be, but on some nights they just don’t show up. The Sharks do not worry me and if Martin Jones is out yet again, Aaron Dell will have to do the heavy lifting. Roberto Luongo coming off his 200th win the Panthers, getting the nod(probably) tonight, I feel a good game out of Luongo. Panthers tonight.

Los Angeles Kings(15-8-3) vs St. Louis Blues(17-7-1)

The Blues offense, I say this every time but it is hard not to when this offense is producing at an unreal rate, plus welcoming the Kings, who are going back to back, will be even easier for the Blues to pull away with this. The Kings are coming off a huge win vs the Capitals last night, long days of travel will definitely catch up to them though. Going St. Louis.

New Jersey Devils(14-6-4) vs Colorado Avalanche(12-9-2) 

This game for some reason I like Colorado, I don’t know why but after that overtime win vs Winnipeg, this team is not as bad as we think people. Staying at home, plenty of time in between games and rest, Colorado, tonight, I don’t know why I like them. I know I’m going to regret this but going with my gut. New Jersey adding Sami Vatanen is a big addition to New Jersey’s blue line and power play and it will be great to see him in action. Also why I should probably go New Jersey but, tonight I’m going, Colorado.

Other games on tonight

Penguins vs Sabres: Won’t be an easy game but Pittsburgh

Senators vs Islanders: Islanders.

Golden Knights vs Jets: Jets.


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NHL In Review: Take on Vegas, Calgary, thoughts and more!

We have hit the quarter mark of the season I’d say, were about 23 some odd games in and I think we can get a pretty good feel for most teams in the league right now. But, there are still some teams I am at a loss for words for, that I truly have no idea what to expect at this point or further down the line. With that said, today comes with the NHL review edition, today we will look at some teams, the standings and what to expect for the next month.

Vegas lights out at home…

Las Vegas Golden Knights, what the hell is up with this team. They are legitimately unbeatable at home and have been terrible on the road so far. If Vegas continues this home ice play they split the season down the middle, or go down as the best home team in NHL history. Up to this point, Vegas has lost one home game of the nine they have played at home. All of November for them has basically been on the road and December they go back to the home ice advantage. Through December of the thirteen games they play, eight are home. Which means the Golden Knights very well could be in serious playoff contention come January, cause if you think about it at the end of December we will be 40 games in a halfway mark on the season and if they are still in the top three for the Central, I just don’t know what to say then.

Flames success plus Johnny Hockey’s season…

Is Calgary a favorite to win the Pacific? I mean when you have Johnny Gaudreau putting up two to three points per game and four points behind Stamkos for the league lead it HPAqzD6definitely helps the Flames case. The best part about this team is that their defense is actually deep and one of the better defenses in the league but they have not even started playing like it. The scary part is that this team could be even better, if they see some defensive help and Mike Smith stays a bit more consistent, this team looks to be a favorite for the Pacific. Their offense with Sean Monahan, the Michael’s and Tkachuk, pieces are all over this lineup. Throw in Jaromir Jagr’s experience come playoff time, this is a team we should all be keeping our eye on.

Lightning success, youth production…

Tampa Bay Lightning a shoe-in? This team has been something very special and exciting to watch this season, with Stamkos back and Kucherov starting where he left off last season the Lightning look to be the most dominant team in the NHL right now. With that said, can this team keep it up for the long haul? I am not 100% bought in just yet, now we have to understand that Brayden Point, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Yonni Gourde have been producing at an exceptional rate, can we believe these guys do it all year. I don’t know. Andrei Vasilevskiy has been good but nothing to throw your arms in the air for, the Lightning are scoring three-plus goals a game, so really his job is not too tough right now. I like Tampa Bay and think they’ll be a top team in the NHL but only losing three games through 20 games is absurd and difficult to keep up.

Blackhawks concerns…

Chicago Blackhawks miss the playoffs? The Blackhawks have been such an up and down team this season, but right now they currently sit two games above .500 and in the second wild-card spot by a point. They are ranked 13th among all NHL teams for goals Fantasy Hockey F ranked 41-50for(61), their power play which is usually a successful point for the Hawks are performing at one of the league’s worst percentages(16.1). Overall the addition of Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp is not looking great right now, their defense has major concerns, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith cannot be a two-man wrecking crew doing everything, their games have tapered off with the amount they are having to deal with. Kane for the first time in god knows how many years is not even in the top ten for points, better yet not even the top 20. The Blackhawks concern me right now and with the way the West is looking, between Dallas, Minnesota, San Jose, Edmonton it’s fair game for that wild card spot. If the Blackhawks miss the playoffs, most certainly can we expect major changes.


Rangers return home ready to face Ottawa

This matchup brings back some memories for us all, whether you are a Rangers or Ottawa fan, the six-game series during the playoffs was a grueling and exciting series to watch. Let’s fast forward to the regular season though, we are 20 some odd games in and the Senators rank third in the Atlantic and the Rangers rank seventh in the Metropolitan.

Ottawa is sporting a tough overtime loss to one of the worst teams in hockey, but with an 8-4-6 record, the Senators look to get back in the win column and inch a little closer to Toronto. The Rangers went into Chicago on a  six-game win streak, saw that get snapped after losing 6-3, quickly turned the page and went into Columbus Friday night, where they lost 2-0. The Rangers are on a two-game losing streak and must get back in the win column to stay afloat in this competitive Metropolitan division.

Players to Watch Tonight: OTT VS NYR 

Some key players to watch tonight for Ottawa are Matt Duchene, who was recently acquired and has played four games for the club, recording zero points. Also, it is hard to take your eyes off Erik Karlsson, his dynamic two-way ability to puts him in a class of his own. But the real key to Ottawa’s success is having their two offensive guns, Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman producing tonight.

For the Rangers, with Rick Nash being moved to the first line, paired with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, the Rangers hope for Nash to explode on the offensive side of the puck and help the Rangers offense get back on track. Nash has 7 goals and 4 assists on the season. Also, we can look for Kevin Shattenkirk to continue to man this power play, leading the defensive side of things with 17 points and 9 power play points. In addition to that, Mika Zibanejad’s hot start will look to stay afloat vs his old team, Zibanejad has been the focal point of the Rangers offense all season and has 19 points(9 goals, 10 assists) in 20 games.

Goalie matchups for tonight have been confirmed and Ottawa is going to Craig Anderson and the Rangers turn to Henrik Lundqvist. Anderson is 7-4, 2.92 goals against and .898 save percentage on the year. Lundqvist is 8-6, 2.98 goals against and .908 save percentage on the year.

Rangers Keys to Success… 

The Rangers are coming off a days rest as Ottawa is going back-to-back. The travel from Ottawa to New York may play a factor in tonights match up. With the late travel and long game for Ottawa last night, the Rangers shall look to jump on them early, forecheck hard and throw pucks into the net. Keeping the game simple and not allowing Ottawa to create time and space is the key to the Rangers success.

Noteworthy news:

David Desharnais scratched, Paul Carey will replace him. 

Craig Anderson gets the start tonight. 

Nick Paul will replace Ben Harpur as Senators go with 12 forwards. 

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New Jersey Devils(11-4-2) vs Toronto Maple Leafs(12-7-0) 

Devils +140 vs Toronto -160 over/under: 6

This game has a possibility of going to overtime, I don’t know why but Toronto has zero overtime losses and the Devils always keep games close. Anyways, the Devils get another key piece of their line up back tonight, as Travis Zajac was recently activated off the IR. Now with Kyle Palmieri and Zajac back the Devils top six looks to be getting even better. Plus with Auston Mattews ruled out again tonight and William Nylander’s status still unknown, this is a tough one. This game is a bit of a tease to because Toronto is injured up and down the lineup, Roman Polak is dressing as a forward and the Devils are plus, I like the Devils in overtime, 3-2. 

Carolina Hurricanes(7-5-4) vs New York Islanders(9-6-2)

Carolina -105 vs New York +125 over/under 5.5

The Islanders offense has been firing on all cylinders and Josh Ho-Sang seems to be a regular now. Tomas Greiss is getting the start and Tomas Hickey and Ryan Pulock are in the line up as well, the Islanders are going with their younger lineup today vs another young team. Carolina has a ton of offense and anything can happen on any given for this team in terms of offense but it seems their defense and goaltending has just not been there all season, they have been a bit inconsistent and not a team I am too confident in. Scott Darling gets the nod today and the Canes seem to be riding on the Jordan Staal train right now. Tonight, I’m going Islanders 4-2.

Pittsburgh Penguins(10-7-3) vs Ottawa Senators(8-3-5)

Pittsburgh -120 vs Ottawa +100 over/under 6

Bobby Ryan back, Matt Duchene slowly getting adjusted to his new team, and the Penguins wary defense against a hot Mark Stone and strong Ottawa offense, not looking good for Pittsburgh. Connor Sheary and Jake Guentzel have been off to a very slow start as well as Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh really is not a team that worries that much right now. Ottawa, 4-2. 

Dallas Stars(9-8-1) vs Tampa Bay Lightning(14-2-2)

Dallas +155 vs Tampa Bay -175 over/under 6

This one is a no-brainer, Dallas has looked terrible the last two games and by no means are they going to come into Tampa Bay and walk all over or even beat the Lightning. The Stars see offensive production from three and occasionally four guys, after that it is nonexistent where on the Lightning’s end they have six to seven forwards capable of scoring on any given night. With the best duo in hockey right now, the Lightning pick is a no-brainer people. Lightning 4-1. 

Washington Capitals(10-8-1) vs Colorado Avalanche(8-7-1) 

Washington -140 vs Colorado +120 over/under 6

The Capitals and Holtby got shelled vs Nashville the other night, I would find it concerning if that happens again tonight. The Capitals have Matt Niskanen back but Christian Djoos just went down as day-to-day so his status is unknown. But the Capitals have the offensive depth to make up for their lack of blueline presence especially against a team like Colorado. Now, Colorado is surprising me, to say the least, they have seen solid production from Alex Kerfoot and Mikko Rantanen but they still lack defensive depth, also Tyson Barrie is OUT tonight so that leaves another hole on the blue line. I’m going Capitals, 3-1.  

Nashville Predators(10-5-2) vs Minnesota Wild(8-7-2)

Nashville +115 vs Minnesota -135 over/under 5

Yes, we know what you all are wondering will Devan Dubynk record another shutout. I am not answering that question, I don’t want to jinx the hot goaltender right now. But what I will say is Minnesota will win their fourth straight game. Jason Zucker’s point streak continues especially if Minnesota wants to win, also I think we will see Mikael Granlund get on the scoresheet tonight he has been quiet since coming off the IR. A strong and confident Minnesota team is nothing to mess with, I like Minnesota tonight.