Free NHL Picks for Tuesday 2/14 – Toronto Over New York

By in NHL on

After just two games on Monday night the NHL returns our love for it on Valentine’s day with a beautiful seven game schedule. Not so much that you feel overwhelmed, but enough to place some serious bets down and be entertained all night long.

With upsets happening all across the NHL as some of the lesser teams try desperately to make the playoffs, bettors need to be aware of any possible underdogs in each matchup. That’s what we’re here for. Each preview identifies any possible upsets, tired teams, or developing trends all so you can take more of the guesswork out of each of your picks. Let’s get to it!

New York Islanders (+4.5)
VS
Toronto Maple Leafs (-4.5)
Total: 201.5

Moneyline

  • LA (+120) at San Jose (-150)

Toronto is hanging on to a Wild Card playoff spot by the skin of their teeth. They’re coming off a 3-1 loss to Buffalo with all three goals happening in the first period and are now just 4-4-2 in their last ten games. They have just a one point lead over the New York Islanders who are breathing down their necks and coming in hot.

While New York was struggling earlier in the season they rectified that by firing their head coach. Interim coach Doug Weight took over behind the bench and the results have been nothing short of exceptional. The Islanders turned into one of the hottest teams in the NHL basically over night and are now 6-2-2 in their last ten games and just on point out of a playoff spot.

They’re coming off an easy 5-1 win over the lowly Avalanche and while the Leafs will give them a much tougher test, they also won the last meeting between these two teams in overtime in a thrilling comeback. New York isn’t the same team it was before the All-Star break and they’re hungry to make the postseason. They’ll have to get through the youth, skill and speed of the Leafs to get there.

Offense

Toronto’s offense ranks 6th in the NHL this season averaging 3.08 goals a game. They also fire the third most shots and as of this writing have the league’s best power play unit. They operate at a 23.78 percent success rate with the extra man attacker thanks to the speed and skill of all their rookies.

In fact it’s a rookie who leads the team in points on the powerplay. William Nylander has 16 points with the extra man attacker including six goals. His ability to get free in open ice and create with his passing or with his shooting is an incredible skill that Toronto has taken advantage of all season long. They still don’t draw enough penalties, but that will come as the rookies get more experience down the stretch.

As good as the Leaf’s offense has been this season, it’s struggled lately. They have just five goals in their last three games including back to back one goal performances. James van Riemsdyk needs to pick it up for Toronto if the young Leafs have a chance at making the postseason. He has just two points in his last five games and they both came against the Boston Bruins more than a week ago. His size and skill in front of the net is his greatest asset and the Leafs need to continue to get him front of the opposing goalie. They’ll be looking for JVR to get his chances on Tuesday night.

In New York the Islanders are no strangers to finding the back of the net. They average 2.98 goals a game which ranks just behind Toronto at 7th in the NHL. If you don’t feel convinced to take the Over yet, consider this: The last time these two teams met they combined for 11 goals. New York has been on fire lately on offense averaging 3.66 goals a game over their last six and that includes being shutout once against the Senators.

Most of the credit can be given to John Tavares who took off under his new coach and now has 46 points in 54 games this season including 20 goals. He registered two assists against the Avalanche in his last game out and will be pumped to show his home crowd some goals when he comes to Toronto to take on the Leafs.

It hasn’t all been Tavares though, his teammate Anders Lee sure knows how to score goals. With only 34 points on the season, 21 have been goals which is one of the highest ratios in all of  hockey. His ability to find the back of the net has been on full display lately with four goals in his his last five games including two in his last game against Colorado. If the Leafs forget about Lee, they can forget about winning the game. This guy can score from anywhere.

Defense

Like we said earlier, there’s a reason to take the Over in this one. Both teams rank in the bottom ten of NHL defenses with the Leafs being the worse of the two. Toronto is 24th in goals allowed at 2.98 a game which just so happens to be the exact number the Islanders manage to score on average every night.

Toronto’s biggest problem is a lack of experienced, top-line defenders. As promising as Jake Gardiner is, he continues to make brutal mistakes that coach Mike Babcock simply can’t live with. Morgan Rielly is healthy and back in the lineup which is great news for the Leafs but even he has a -10 rating on the season.

If Toronto wants to improve their defense, it’s either going to have to come via the trade or the forwards back checking even more than normal. With how often they’re scoring, that may not be such a bad idea after all.
The Islanders aren’t exactly throwing up the brick wall either. They allow 2.93 goals a game but have been better as of late with just five goals allowed in their last three. While a lot of that has to do with their goalie who we’ll get to in a minute, the defense deserves some credit as well.

Dennis Seidenberg continues to be among the league leaders in plus minus at +20 on the season and at age 35 has shown no signs of slowing down. He’s logged close to 20 minutes of ice time in his last five games without a negative rating in one of them and he’s also chipped in with 17 points this season. The young Leafs will be in for a rude awakening if Seidenberg is at his best on Tuesday night.

Goalies

Jean-Francois Berube got the start for the Islanders against the Avalanche only to give their main man Thomas Greiss a rest. Greiss has been phenomenal for the Islanders as of late and has his goals against average down to 2.42 and his save percentage up to .922 now on the season. If anyone is responsible for the turn around of this team, it may just be Greiss.

Opposite him is Frederik Andersen who has started to struggle again. He’s posted a save percentage over .900 just once in his last five outings and has his goals against average back up to 2.79. His save percentage is still a respectable .914 and if the defense in front of him can smarten up he’ll be excellent down the stretch.

Key Matchup

Auston Matthews against John Tavares. To call Tavares old feels weird, but he certainly is compared to the rookie Matthews. Matthews still has a lot to learn, but he’s already looked like one of the best rookies if not players in the league this season. He’ll need to show he has the leadership as well to carry hid squad through a rough patch against one of the consummate leaders in all of hockey.

Advice

The Leafs are getting good odds at home and desperately need a win after a brutal showing early against the Sabres. If Babcock can get his team to settle down and get some early stops they should be able to handle the Islanders at home. Take Toronto on the spread.

Pick

Toronto
5
New York
2
Colorado Avalanche (+4.5)
VS
New Jersey Devils (-4.5)
Total: 201.5

Moneyline

  • LA (+120) at San Jose (-150)

The Avalanche stink. There’s just no way around it. Sure they had a few nice wins over the last two weeks but nothing to ever make anyone say “hey this team is actually pretty good!”. Colorado is back to losing, and losing big. After their 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Islanders the Avalanche have now lost three in a row and are 2-7-1 in their last ten games. Their goal differential has reached new heights as they are now an atrocious -74 on the season and have effectively given up, if they didn’t already at the All-Star Break.

That’s good news for the Devils though. New Jersey is still trying to make the playoffs out East and with approximately 25 games to go for most teams it’s still highly possible. The Devils are coming off a tough game against the Sharks in which they lost 4-1 but are still 5-4-1 in their last ten games and just five points out of a Wild Card spot.

The Devils’ biggest problem this season has been their offense. Only Colorado is worse in the entire NHL and New Jersey now averages just 2.33 goals a game on the year. Their best player has just 36 points in 45 games this year and only five players have hit the 30 point plateau on the season.

Taylor Hall is that player with 36 points leading the team and whole he’s enjoyed a decent run with five points in hid last five games including two goals he’s got virtually no support around him. Travis Zajac may bring some leadership to the club but little else. He has just 30 points this season including just two in his last five games. The Devils need him to show some leadership on the ice by generating offense so this team can make a run at the postseason.

As bad as the Devils have been at scoring the puck the Avalanche have somehow been worse. They average just 2.02 goals a game and have score three or more goals just twice in their last ten contests. In their last three games (all losses) they’ve totalled just four goals and you simply can’t win in the NHL with that type of scoring.

Key Matchup

Nathan MacKinnon against Taylor Hall. With little star power or skill on either of these teams you have to pick the big guns when it comes to your key matchup. MacKinnon’s 38 points on the year are actually better than Hall’s but he’s done it in far more games and is still on the worst tram in the league. His contract suggests he won’t be traded which is terrible news for him, but good news for the Avalanche. They need him to score if they had any chance of winning on any night. He has five points in his last five games and could be in line to light up the Devils. Hall meanwhile as plugged along despite injuries and is clearly enjoying his new home in Jersey. He’s capable of taking over any game, especially against a team this bad.

Advice

Before you call us crazy listen to this stat: Colorado has won nine of their last ten games against New Jersey and six straight overall. They’re due for a random win against a mediocre team and are getting incredible odds on the road. Take the Avalanche on the spread, even if it’s a one goal Jersey win you still get paid!

Pick

Colorado
3
New Jersey
2
Vancouver Canucks (+4.5)
VS
Pittsburgh Penguins (-4.5)
Total: 201.5

Moneyline

  • LA (+120) at San Jose (-150)

The Canucks enter Pittsburgh hanging on to their playoff hopes for dear life. Just when it looks like their goose might finally be cooked they pull out a win at the last second like their 4-2 victory over the Buffalo sabres on the road. Vancouver is now just 4-6-0 in their last ten games but still only four points out of a playoff spot in the Wild West.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Canucks as they have to play the Penguins at home with Pittsburgh coming off a bad overtime loss to the Coyotes. The Pens are still 6-2-2 in their last ten games and own one of the most dangerous offenses in all of hockey.

Evgeni Malkin is expected to make his return on Tuesday and that’s huge news for Pittsburgh. He has 54 points in 47 games but has been out since January 24th with a lower body injury. Before he went down he had eight points in his last four games and is straight up one of the best players in all of hockey when he’s healthy. Pittsburgh becomes that much scarier when he’s in the lineup which is bad news for the Canucks.

Vancouver has had trouble scoring goals all season long but found the back of the net four times against the Sabres. Bo Horvat was at it again as the engine that drives these Canucks’ playoff hopes. He scored a goal and grabbed an assist for his second straight multi point game and now has four points in his last two contests. At Just 21 years old it’s anyone’s guess how bad this Vancouver team would be without him.

Key Matchup

Sidney Crosby against Bo Horvat. The two top line centers will see plenty of each other on Tuesday night which could spell disaster for Horvat. As hot as he’s been recently he now has to go up against arguably the best player in hockey. Crosby backs down from no one and is just as good on defense as he is on offense.

Advice: Vancouver is the more desperate team, but a win on the road against on elf the best teams in the league seems out of the question. Take Pittsburgh on the spread.

Pick

Pittsburgh
6
Vancouver
2
Buffalo Sabres (+4.5)
VS
Ottawa Senators (-4.5)
Total: 201.5

Moneyline

  • LA (+120) at San Jose (-150)

It’s hard to get a read on the Sabres. After lightning up Toronto for three goals in the first period and coming out of the hostile ACC with a win they proceeded to roll over at home to the lowly Canucks. They’re now 4-5-1 in their last ten games and sliding down the Eastern Conference standings.

They still have an outside shot of the playoffs with just five points separating them and Toronto, but with six teams having the same or better odds to beat them to the punch Buffalo needs to start going on a run. That will have to happen on the road against the Senators who have won two straight and seem to be back on track after a rocky week.

Despite the two wins Ottawa is still just 5-3-2 in their last ten games and tied with the Bruins for second place in the Atlantic Division. Ottawa’s offense still isn’t where they’d like it to be, averaging just 2.70 goals a game and generating the 23rd most shots on net with the 24th best powerplay. Those numbers will need to improve if Ottawa has any grand designs of making noise in the playoffs, and it can start against Buffalo.

Key Matchup

Jack Eichel against Erik Karlsson. This is going to be fun. Eichel has had an up and down season, and one that started late thanks to an injury, but he’s still shown he can be one of the best players on the ice when he’s on his game. He assisted on all three goals against the Leafs but then followed that up with a dud against the Canucks. He seems to score and go cold in streaks so we wouldn’t be surprised if he stays quiet again, especially against Karlssom.

Ottawa’s best defenseman is also their leading scorer and with the way him and Eichel both skate there should be some pretty nifty action between the two.

Advice

The Sabres have won two straight against the Senators but with the way Ottawa is playing right now and still trying to catch Montreal in their division we like them to come out on top. Take Ottawa on the spread.

Pick

Ottawa
4
Buffalo
2
Anaheim Ducks (+4.5)
VS
Minnesota Wild (-4.5)
Total: 201.5

Moneyline

  • LA (+120) at San Jose (-150)

We could have easily made this our feature game as wen with two Western Conference powerhouses set to do battle in Minnesota, except for the fact that one team isn’t quite looking like the powerhouse they were earlier. The Ducks are still sitting all in a row and just fine out West with a 29-18-10 record overall but they’re just 4-5-1 in their last ten games and coming off a 6-4 slug fest at the hands of the Washington Capitals.

Now they have to take their struggling team on the road to face the second best team in all of hockey. Minnesota is rolling along like they have all season long with two straight wins including a 6-3 steamroll over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday and are now 7-2-1 in their last ten games and sitting pretty in first place in the West.

Minnesota also happens to be 19-6-1 at home and own a goal differential of +58. No other team in the West has a goal differential of higher than +21 let alone touching what the Wild have accomplished this season.

A big part of the reason has been Devan Dubynk. He stopped 31 of 34 shots against the Wings for his fourth straight win and league leading 33rd overall. He also owns a ridiculous 1.99 goals against average with a .933 save percentage and seems set to win his first Vezina Trophy.

That’s the goalie Anaheim’s struggling offense needs to try and score on. The Ducks are ranked 20th in the NHL, averaging just 2.65 goals a game despite being a playoff bound team. They’ll need their veterans like Ryan Kesler, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to step up, but it may be easier said then done.

Key Matchup

Ryan Getzlaf against Jason Zucker. Zucker has been outstanding for the Wild this season and leads the team with a +31 rating despite being a forward. He also has chipped in with 38 points and is quickly becoming one of the best two way players in all of hockey. He hasn’t registered a point in four games but he’ll be more focused on shutting down Getzlaf who is coming off a three point outburst against the Capitals.

Advice

The Ducks have lost two straight against the Wild and now have to enter their own building to try and emerge with a W. They’ve also been struggling recently and will have trouble generating any offense against the second best defense in the NHL. Take Minnesota on the spread.

Pick

Minnesota
3
Anaheim
1
Dallas Stars (+4.5)
VS
Winnipeg Jets (-4.5)
Total: 201.5

Moneyline

  • LA (+120) at San Jose (-150)

The Stars and Jets are both experiencing very similar season right now, and that’s not a good thing. Dallas is just 3-5-2 in their last ten games and coming off a 5-3 loss at the hands of the Predators, a team there chasing for a Wild Card spot in the West. Dallas has 54 points and a 22-25-10 record on the season but are still just one hot streak away from making the postseason as they’re only six points out.

The Jets meanwhile have 54 points as well, but are doing even worse than the Stars. They’ve lost four straight now after getting run over by the Lightning 4-1 and yet still find themselves in position to sneak into the playoffs with some strong play down the stretch as well. That’s why this game between the two teams is so important. Whoever can come out on top will have a leg up on the other as the season winds. down.

Winnipeg’s problem has been a lack of scoring. They have just seven goals during their four game losing streak and haven’t scored more than two in any of those games. Rookie Patrik Laine may have hit the feared “rookie was” especially after his concussion last month. He hasn’t scored in five games and has just three points during that span. His 44 points on the year still have him just three back of Mitch Marner for the lead league amongst rookies, but right now he’s more focused on making the playoffs. He’ll need to start finding the back of the net with some frequency if the Jets want to make a push.

In Dallas the Stars can’t stop anyone, and that’s been their problem all year. They allow 3.19 goals a game which is better than only lowly Colorado in terms of NHL rankings and their recent play is a testament to that. They haven’t held a team to under two goals once in their last ten games, and have held a team to under three goals just once during that span as well.

Their goalies have been abysmal but some of the onus is on the defense as well. John Klingberg seems to be the lone bright spot for the Stars on D and even then still has a -3 rating overall this season. They need the whole team to start committing to stopping the puck if they have any chance of beating Winnipeg at home, let alone making the playoffs.

Key Matchup

Antti Niemi or Kari Lehtonen against Connor Hellebuyck. Whether Niemi or Lehtonen plays for the Stars is besides the point as both have had brutal years, the point is one of them needs to step up in this game. As for Hellebuyck he’s feeling the pressure of being a number one goalie and has now been a part of a loss in six straight games. He needs to find the answer quickly and it wont be easy against the Stars’ potent offense.

Advice

Winnipeg has won the last three meetings between these two teams and are now at home in desperate need of a win. We think Patrik Laine and the offense show up in time to get it done and hand the Stars another loss. Take Winnipeg on the spread.

Pick

Winnipeg
5
Dallas
3
Arizona Coyotes (+4.5)
VS
Edmonton Oilers (-4.5)
Total: 201.5

Moneyline

  • LA (+120) at San Jose (-150)

We haven’t heard from Connor McDavid and his Edmonton Oilers in a while and that’s because they’ve been taking a three day break licking their wounds after Chicago handed them a 5-1 beatdown in their last outing. Now the Oilers get to go home and welcome the second worst team in all of hockey.

Arizona enters coming off a very impressive 4-3 win over Pittsburgh but at the time of this writing were getting set to play the Flames in Calgary the night before. That will be back to back games for the Coyotes when they set foot in Edmonton and with their record at just 18-28-7 on the season all signs points to an easy Oilers win.

The Oilers are 5-4-1 in their last ten games and still sitting comfortably in a playoff spot but need to be weary of the teams chasing them. They have a six point lead on any one they’re in front of but that can vanish in a hurry with teams desperate to pick up points down the spread. Still, that shouldn’t be a problem against Arizona who Edmonton leads in almost every conceivable category.

Key Matchup

Connor McDavid against Max Domi. McDavid is trying to get his team into the playoffs, but he’d by lying if he said he wasn’t also trying to win a scoring title. He has just a one point lead on Sidney Crosby and points go a long way in determining the best overall player as well. McDavid is still just 20 years old and already one of, if not the, best player in hockey. He’ll take on another young gun in Max Domi who was dealing with injuries all year but has started to find his stride. He has 19 points in 30 games this year and three points in his last two games. If the Coyotes have a shot at winning he’ll likely need to be involved in the offense.

Advice

The Oilers are well rested, coming back home, and taking on a tired Coyotes team they’ve beaten two straight times. Take Edmonton on the spread.

Pick

Edmonton
4
Arizona
1
Guest Author

GamblingSites.org is happy to bring you this post courtesy of one of our special guest authors. ...

View all posts by Guest Author
Email the author at: [email protected]