Free NHL Picks – Predictions for Every Game on Sunday 1/22

by Cameron Dorrett
on January 22, 2017

After a thrilling Saturday Night the NHL finishes off the week with some stellar games on its Sunday schedule. The action starts early in the afternoon, perfect for a day of kicking back, relaxing, and making a few bucks while you’re at it.

Each matchup offers up some tantalizing possibilities, with road dogs aplenty and home teams looking to right the ship. As always, we’re here to break them all down so you don’t have to! Let’s get to it.

Nashville Predators at Minnesota Wild

Moneyline

  • Nashville (n/a) at Minnesota (n/a)

Spread

  • Nashville (n/a) at Minnesota (n/a)

Total Over/Under

  • (n/a)

The Predators look like they’re finally turning the corner on their season. It took them long enough to get here, and injuries derailed a prominent push a few weeks ago, but now they’ve arrived. They’re firmly in the first Wild Card spot and tied with St.Louis for third spot in the Central Division.

With the Blues recent struggles its easy to see a scenario where the Predators overtake them. Two straight wins on the road against two good teams in the Flames and Oilers has the confidence high in Nashville, and they’ll need it. As good as Edmonton and Calgary have been this season, they don’t hold a candle to the success Minnesota has enjoyed so far, and that’s who the Predators need to try and beat to keep their momentum going.

Minnesota is 29-10-5 on the season and 7-2-1 in their last ten games. They’ve lost just five games all season long at home and now get to go up against a team that’s struggled on the road all season long. It’s not going to be easy for Nashville, but we’re not ready to count them out just yet.

Offense

Minnesota has been shutting down teams all season long, and we’ll get to their stellar defense in a minute, but they’ve also been scoring at will this year. Minnesota ranks third in the NHL in goals per game at 3.23 and their power play is 10th in the league operating at a 21.43 percent success rate.

The Wild have a deep, balanced attack led by the resurgence of Eric Staal. After a few down years he seems to have regained a step in Minnesota. After just 39 points in 82 games between Carolina and New York last season the big forward has 40 points in 44 games this season and leads the team in goals with 16.

That production has come while being on the second line, and clearly it’s helped. It’s not just Staal carrying the team though. Mikael Granlund, Carlie Coyle, Mikko Koivu and Nino Niederreiter are all enjoying excellent seasons and each player has played in all 44 games for the Wild.

With the second half of the season upon us, teams are finding it harder and harder to stay healthy and it’s impressive that the Wild have had so few injuries this season. Victor Bartley and Jonas Brodin are their only injured players, and neither eats up serious ice time on the defensive end.

In Nashville the offense received a huge jolt on Friday night when P.K. Suburban made his return. While the offensively gifted defenseman didn’t register a point, his 22 minutes of ice time and three shots on net were a huge positive for a team that desperately needed to jumpstart its offense.

Nashville is just 14th in goals per game at 274 and their power play percentage is a dismal 17.65. That number has obviously taken a hit without Subban to man the point, and we should see it be much more effective as he gets healthier. Ryan Ellis has picked up his play of late with three goals in his last two games to go along with the shootout winner on Friday night.

Ryan Johansen is still the only Nashville skater to hit the 30 point plateau this season, and when you compare it to the five players Minnesota has it becomes abundantly clear that the Predators need to find more scoring. James Neal’s 15 goals are excellent, but with just six assists on the year he’s become a bit of a one trick pony. Look for Filip Forsberg to pick up his play in the second half and help this team’s offense improve.

Defense

Just like their magnificent offense, the Wild’s defense has been nothing short of spectacular this season. They enter the matchup allowing just 2.25 goals a game which ranks third across the NHL. Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon are two of the best shutdown defenders in all of hockey an both are tied for the league lead in plus/minus at +26.

When you have those types of defenders along your blueline it’s usually good enough, but the Wild’s forwards chip in better than any other team on the defensive end as well.Jason Zucker, Mikael Granlund and Mikko Koivu are ranked 5th, 6th and 7th respectively in plus/minus this season despite playing up front. When the whole team chips in defensively it makes a huge difference and the Minnesota Wild are a prime example of it.

The Predators are no slouches on the defensive end either. They let in 2.61 goals a game, good for 11th and they kill of 82.5 percent of their penalties. Losing Roman Josi to an injury is going to a tough burden for the Predators to deal with though. Josi is by far their best shutdown defender and while getting P.K. Subban back is nice, he’s not known for shutting down the opponents’ best player every night.

Subban is dead last on his team in plus/minus rating with an ugly -10 on the season and while we expect that number to improve, it’s never going to be excellent based on his style of play. The Wild will have no trouble getting chances on net against the Predators with Josi out.

Goalies

What more can you say about Devan Dubnyk? If anyone is responsible for the Wild’s incredible defence this season it’s this man. Dubnyk has allowed three or more goals in three of his last six games, but it hardly matters when you look at his season as a whole.

He has a 24-8-3 record with a 1.88 goals against average and a .936 save percentage. He’s firmly in the top spot for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender and we see no reason why that will change against the Predators.

Pekka Rinne has looked good all season, but he’s used to looking great. He may have found his old self after rumors started swirling that Juuse Saros was going to get more starts in net. Rinne has responded by giving up two goals or less in six of his last seven starts and now boasts a 2.35 goals against average with a .921 save percentage. If anyone’s going to stop the Wild’s potent attack, its Rinne.

Key Matchup

Eric Staal against P.K. Subban. Subban will have to take on more defensive responsibility with Josi out, and as he’s still making his way back from injury it could be tough against the dangerous Staal. Still, Subban is capable of his own magic in the offensive end, and the Wild’s big center will have to keep an eye on him all night.

Advice

Nashville has impressed us with two straight wins on the road, but beating the Wild in Minnesota is a different beast altogether. The Predators just don’t have the scoring punch to break though against the Wild even with Subban back. Take Minnesota on the moneyline at home.

Pick
Minnesota
3
Nashville
2

New York Rangers at Detroit Red Wings

Moneyline

  • New York (n/a) at Detroit (n/a)

Spread

  • New York (n/a) at Detroit (n/a)

Total Over/Under

  • (n/a)

The Rangers and Red Wings kick things off early on Sunday, and by early, we mean early. A 12:30 start time is scheduled for the game in Detroit and as hockey fans we couldn’t be happier. Starting off the day with brunch and an Original 6 matchup is just what the hockey doctor ordered.

New York ended a three game slide when they beat the Leafs 5-2 in Toronto, and that was a huge win for a club that needed one. As Washington, Columbus and Pittsburgh dominate the rest of the NHL, the Rangers became the forgotten team. The Wings would be wise not to underestimate them.

New York is 29-16-1 this season and a shocking 16-7-0 on the road. Their away record is actually better than their record at home by three wins and they relish the opportunity to go into someone else building and leave with a win. New York is also 6-2-2 against Detroit in their last ten games and 5-0 against the spread in their last five games on the road.

Detroit was enjoying a mini two game win streak and just when it looked like they might make a run they lost to the lowly Sabres, and in overtime no less. The point they got for an overtime loss was still helpful, but its a deflating victory when you expect to beat a lesser team.

Now the Wings have to worry about the Rangers’ high-powered offense. New York is second in the NHL in goals per game at 2.54 and their power play is operating at a scintillating 22.14 percent. They average 29.91 shots on net a game and will be all systems go against Detroit’s shaky defense.

Key Matchup

Michael Grabner against Henrik Zetterberg. Grabner leads the league in even-strength goals this season making him a dangerous player anytime he steps on the ice. While Zetterberg is getting older, he remains one of the premier defensive forwards in the game and is second on his team in plus/minus. He’ll have his hands full with Grabner all night.

Advice

The Rangers are dominant on the road this season, and now get to play a Wings team that is just 10-10-3 at home this season. New York has also dominated the matchup recently and we fully expect that trend to continue. Take the Rangers on the spread and the moneyline in a game that should also hit the over.

Pick
New York
6
Detroit
3

Boston Bruins at Pittsburgh Penguins

Moneyline

  • Boston (n/a) at Pittsburgh (n/a)

Spread

  • Boston (n/a) at Pittsburgh (n/a)

Total Over/Under

  • (n/a)

The Bruins and Penguins keep the afternoon action going with a 3:30 puck drop and another storied rivalry to boot. The NHL has really figured out how to market their products on the weekend, and after a huge Saturday night they keep the hits coming with a full day of hockey featuring great matchups like this one.

Boston enters Pittsburgh losers of three straight and goal scoring has been a real issue. Two of those losses were shutouts, and while it is tough to score on the Blackhawks we expected a better effort against the Islanders. Boston did manage to put up five against Detroit in the middle, but still lost that game.

Now the Bruins will find themselves in a similar position as that Detroit game. They’ll have ample opportunities to score on Pittsburgh’s 22nd ranked defense, but will they able to score enough? The Penguins rank first in goals per game and shots per game and their power play is ranked third overall.

They’re coming off a 7-1 win over the Hurricanes, a 4-1 win over the Canadiens and an 8-7 bloodbath victory over the Capitals. This team isn’t just good at scoring, they’re borderline historic. The scariest part of Pittsburgh’s offense is the depth. After you get past Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel you still need to deal with players like Connor Sheary who scored his 14th and 15th goals of the season in their most recent win.

With the Bruins defense ranked 24th this season, there’s going to be goals, and lots of them. Boston is capable of putting the puck in the net themselves and David Pasternak’s 19 goals and Brad Marchand’s 17 are a testament to that. If those guys can get going it’s going to be a fun night in the ‘Burgh.

Key Matchup

Tuukka Rask against Matt Murray. Rask is enjoying a nice season despite the Bruins’ up and down record. He has a 2.08 goals against average and a .920 save percentage and while he’s used to those numbers being even better, it won’t be easy to improve against the Penguins. Matt Murray is back and healthy for Pittsburgh and stopped 27 of 28 shots in his last game. He now has a 2.38 goals against average with a .919 save percentage. This battle may come down to which goalie is left standing.

Advice

Boston is 7-1-2 in there last ten games against Pittsburgh and always plays this team close. We don’t love taking the Bruins on the road, but the odds are good enough that the spread makes sense.

Pick
Pittsburgh
5
Boston
4

Columbus Blue Jackets at Ottawa Senators

Moneyline

  • Columbus (n/a) at Ottawa (n/a)

Spread

  • Columbus (n/a) at Ottawa (n/a)

Total Over/Under

  • (n/a)

When we said hockey was happening all day on Sunday we weren’t lying. The Jackets and Senators keep the action rolling with a weird 5:00 pm start time but we’re not complaining. It just means hockey rolls right into dinner, and that’s fine with us. Making things even better is the fact that it happens to be a good game.

The Jackets have slowed down since their totally insane 16 game win streak, but they’re still one of the deepest, most balanced teams in all of hockey. They’re just 5-5-0 in their last ten games, but four of those losses came with a variety of different goalies in net while Sergei Brobovksy battled back from an illness.

Still, one of those losses was with a very healthy Brobovsky and it came against this very same Senators team. Now the Jackets, (unfairly if you ask me) have to go back into Ottawa again on Sunday without playing one of those games on home ice.

Ottawa is 13-7-4 at home this season but will be feeling the effects of a jam-packed schedule. The Senators will be travelling back home after playing the Leafs the night before and while the commute isn’t exactly long the effects of skating all night agains a young energetic team like Toronto can wear on you.

Ottawa is 7-3-0 in their last ten games against Columbus and average over three goals a game whenever these two teams meet. Columbus will again have to hope that Brobovsky turns in a stellar performance and they get some chances to unleash their league-best powerplay.

Key Matchup

David Savard against Mark Stone. Savard has been the Jackets’ best defender all season long and leads the team in plus/minus rating with an excellent +20. He’ll be tasked with shutting down the hottest goal scorer on the Sens. The 24-year old Stone has found his touch recently and will be trying to get his team ahead early.

Advice

We think the Jackets win round two against a tired Senators team. Take Columbus on the spread getting great odds on the road and hope the powerplay comes to life.

Pick
Columbus
3
Ottawa
1

Philadelphia Flyers at New York Islanders

Moneyline

  • Philadelphia (n/a) at New York(n/a)

Spread

  • Philadelphia (n/a) at New York (n/a)

Total Over/Under

  • (n/a)

The Flyers and Islanders are both playing on the second night of back to backs when they meet up on Sunday and they both need this win. New York has looked excellent since Doug Weight took over head-coaching duties but after playing the Kings last night they won’t exactly be well-rested for their tilt with the Flyers.

John Tavares has been a beast for New York as of late and will try and terrorize the Flyers young inexperienced defense all night long. Tavares has seven goals in his last five games including two against the Dallas Stars in a huge debut win for his new head coach.

The Flyers can score as well, but after getting shutout by Washington 5-0 it’s clear their defense is still a major problem. With Shayne Gostisbehere seeming to take a step back after a dominant rookie season, Philly is left to scratch their heads and figure out how to fix the problem.

They better do it sooner than later as they’ve already watched their hold on the Wild Card spot slip away. They’re now just 2-6-2 in their last ten games and a win against the Islanders would do a lot to boost their confidence and get them back in the win column.

Key Matchup

Claude Giroux against Thomas Greiss. Greiss got the night off against the Kings but will be back in net to battle with Giroux and the Flyers and thats bad news for Giroux. Philly’s captain hadn’t scored in five straight games leading up to his Saturday night battle and now has to go against one of the hottest goalies in the league.

Advice

With both teams being gassed on the second night of the back to back and the Flyers not imposing the same threat they were earlier in the season we like the chances of the new-look Islanders at home. Take them on the spread.

Pick
New York
4
Philadelphia
3

Vancouver Canucks at Chicago Blackhawks

Moneyline

  • Vancouver (n/a) at Chicago (n/a)

Spread

  • Vancouver (n/a) at Chicago (n/a)

Total Over/Under

  • (n/a)

The Canucks enter Chicago to round out our Sunday games and it’s yet another good matchup set forward by the NHL. The Canucks have won two straight and are just a point back of their Canadian brethren the Flames for the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

Vancouver is coming off a 2-1 win over the Panthers and a giant milestone for Henrik Sedin. Sedan became the 85th player to reach 1,000 points in the win and now has 30 points in 47 games. Him and brother Daniel have little time left to be dominant in their careers and the Canucks would love to make another run at a Stanley Cup this season.

They can start by trying to beat a very talented Blackhawks team. Chicago has won two straight as well including a 1-0 road win over the Bruins. With the exception of Chicago’s 6-4 win over the Avalanche their offense has stalled a bit of late. Patrick Kane has just two goals in his last five games and captain Jonathan Toews has none. It’s been a strange year for Toews as he’s never seemed fully comfortable since coming back from his injury.

Don’t be fooled by a few quiet games from their top players though. The Blackhawks are still dominant. They’re 17-5-4 at home this season and 6-2-2 against the Canucks in their last ten games. Their power play operates at 25 percent whenever they play Vancouver and they score over three goals a game. Yikes.

Key Matchup

Bo Horvat against Jonathan Toews. Horvat has been the quiet killer in Vancouver as he continues to lead the team in scoring. It won’t be easy for him to keep that up against an excellent defender in Toews, but Toews needs to find his scoring touch as well.

Advice

The Canucks are an interesting team, capable of beating anyone and climbing slowly up the standings but they’re just not good enough to take on the road against Chicago. Put the Blackhawks on the spread and the moneyline.

Pick
Chicago
5
Vancouver
2
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