Saturday Night NHL Picks

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It’s Saturday, which means the NHL is bringing all the action straight to your living room with a classic double digit slate of games. 22 different teams take the nice in 11 matches to give hockey bettors and fans alike their fix for the week, let alone the day.

With some separation beginning to happen in the the payoff race it becomes a little bit easier to make bets, but every wager should still take into account any possible upset or players missing time due to a trade or injury. We’re here as always to break each game down for you and make sure you’re as informed as possible before putting down your hard earned cash. Let’s get to it!

Edmonton Oilers (+1.5)
VS
Chicago Blackhawks (-1.5)
Total: 5(+115u, -145o)

Moneyline

  • Oilers (+110) at Blackhawks (-140)

It’s been a while since we featured either of these teams in our big game of the night but their recent plays has forced our hand and we couldn’t be happier and more excited for this matchup. Edmonton enters Chicago having won two straight games including a 6-3 thrashing of the Philadelphia Flyers in their last outing and are now 6-4-0 in their last ten games and just four points out of first place in the Pacific Division.

They’ll take on an even hotter team when the Blackhawks hit the ice. Chicago has won five straight games and have had a week off after beating this same Edmonton team easily 5-1 on their own ice. The Blackhawks are now 7-3-0 in their last ten games and while they’re still seven points behind the Wild in the Central Division they’re doing all they can to make up ground.

The Oilers will want revenge and are the sharper team after the Blackhawks had to take this league enforced week off from action but Chicago can handle anyone at any time as evidenced by their five game win streak. So who has the edge?

Offense

Both these teams can score with almost identical offenses heading into the game. Chicago is ranked 8th in the NHL, scoring 2.91 goals a game this season and that number continues to rise with their recent play. The Blackhawks have scored four or more goals in every single game during their five game win streak and seem to be rounding into their terrifying perennial postseason form where they just steamroll over every team in their way.

Patrick Kane continues to be on absolutely fire for Chicago this year, and recently. His 58 points in 57 games are already an excellent mark but his play as of late is truly special. He has nine points in his last five games including three points agains the Oilers in his last game a week ago when he scored a goal and dished out two assists in the 5-1 win. The week off may have thrown him out of the loop bit but it’s tough to get this guy off his game.

In Edmonton the Oilers are averaging 2.90 goals a game which is just a decimal point behind the Blackhawks. They’ve also been strong of late with 11 goals over their last two games, though to be fair both those outbursts came against two of the worst defenses in the league in Philadelphia and Arizona. Edmonton generates most of their offense from how many shots they deliver on net. The Oilers fire 31.28 shots per game on net which ranks 6th in the NHL and has led to a ton of goals and points this season.

Those points have come from a variety of sources, but none more so than Connor McDavid. The 20-year old superstar for the Oilers has 66 points in 58 games this season and now has a two point lead over Sidney Crosby for first place win the NHL. He has six points his last three games including a three point outburst against the Flyers team he seems to hate ever since they injured him last season. Now he needs to turn that frustration onto a Chicago team that has been rolling lately.

Defense

The Oilers may be scoring a lot, but they’re also decent at stopping the puck. Edmonton gives up just 2.60 goals a game to rank 9th in the NHL and they’ve been one of the more balanced teams in the NHL all season long. As good as he’s been on offense, Connor McDavid can also chip in on the defensive end. He leads the team with a plus 20 rating and while a lot of that has to do with how much he’s been scoring a good chunk of it deals with his back checking ability.

The Oilers are also enjoying a great season from Adam Larsson. He’s rocking a +14 rating on the year and continues to earn some of the most ice time on the team. At the age of 24 he’s entering his prime and is turning into one of the strongest players along the blue line in the game today.

Chicago has always had a good defense and they’re back at it again this year. The Blackhawks allow just 2.58 goals a game to rank 7th in the NHL and are beginning to ramp it up along the blueline. They haven’t given up more than three goals in six games and the last time they played the Oilers they gave up just one goal.

Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook continue to be one of the most intimidating tandems along the blue line in all of hockey but it only gets tougher for them when they have to try and stop McDavid and company again on Saturday night.

Goalies

Cam Talbot made 33 saves on 36 shots against the Flyers and now has 29 wins on the year. It will be even tougher for him agains the Blackhawks but he’s capable of turning in some big performances when his team calls on him.

Chicago responds with Corey Crawford who has had the week off and is raring to go. He’s on a personal four game winning streak and has given up just 11 goals during that span.

Key Matchup

Leon Draisaitl against Jonathan Toews. Containing McDavid is hard enough, but now teams need to worry about Draisaitl as well. The Oilers’ forward has 51 points this season and four points in his last two games. Toews is arguably the best two way player in hockey and will have to keep an eye on him while chipping in offensively as well. The Blackhawks’ captain has started to heat up offensively with seven points in his last five games including three against this same Oilers team a week ago.

Advice

The Oilers are getting great odds on the road and are the much fresher team after Chicago took a week off. We expect it to be close, but the good bet is on Edmonton to cover the spread.

Pick

Edmonton
4
Chicago
3
St. Louis Blues (-1.5)
VS
Carolina Hurricanes (+1.5)
Total: 5(+105u, -135o)

Moneyline

  • Blues (-125) at Hurricans (-105)

The Blues seem to like this coaching change. After firing Ken Hitchcock and promoting Mike Yeo to head coach the Blues have looked like the team everyone thought they were capable of becoming when the season started. They have won six straight and catapulted themselves back up the standings in the Western Conference.

They’re 31-22-5 overall and 7-3-0 in their last ten games. They’re coming off a big 4-3 win over the Canucks and are tied with the Capitals for the longest winning streak in hockey. They’ll try and keep the momentum rolling when they travel to Buffalo for a date with the Sabres. Buffalo continues to be perplexing, but are hanging around the Eastern Conference. After some suspect losses last week they’ve now win two in a row including a 2-0 shutout over the Avalanche who have dominated them in recent competition.

Buffalo may be young but they’re skilled and are now just three points out of the final Wild Card spot in the crowded-as-ever Eastern Conference. The Sabres need this win badly, and will be the more desperate team on Saturday night but will that be enough?

Key Matchup

Jack Eichel against Vladimir Tarasenko. These two players both fly, and are directly related to their teams’ success. When either plays well, there team seems to win and both teams will be relying on production from both. Eichel has 31 points in 37 games and has six points in his last five but hasn’t scored in his last four games. He’ll be looking for the back of the net early while Tarasenko will try to contribute for his team as well. He’s been on fire as well with five points in his last five including a goal and an assist in a win against the Canucks.

Advice

The Blues are rolling right now but still aren’t the greatest team on the road. They own just a 13-13-1 record away from home and are encountering a tough Sabres team who are a respectable 14-10-4 at home this season. Take the Sabres on the spread and see if Eichel can get hot again for Buffalo and try and snap this winning streak.

Pick

Blues
2
Buffalo
4
Winnipeg Jets (+1.5)
VS
Montreal Canadiens (-1.5)
Total: 5.5(-115u, -115o)

Moneyline

  • Jets (+155) at Canadiens (-185)

The Jets are still hanging around in the West as no team seems to be able to get on a hot streak and leave the competition behind in the race for the final two playoff spots. Winnipeg is coming off a tough overtime loss to the Penguins but showed some good signs in that game of turning their play around. They’re 4-5-1 in their last ten games and desperately need a win to pick back up their confidence and pick some points back up in the standings.

It could be easier than they think when they take on the dysfunctional Canadiens. Montreal is still first in the Atlantic Division but have lost two straight and just fired their head coach. Who did they replace him with? Claude Julien, who was JUST fired by the Bruins. That sort of swap happens all the time, but not in the middle of the season and not in the span of just a week. The firing took the whole team by surprise and their two straight losses have showed they’re still not over it. Montreal is now 3-6-1 in their last ten games and have just a four point lead over the Senators in the division.

Now they need to worry about the high scoring Jets, and in particular Patrik Laine. He seems determined to finish first in rookie scoring and has been on fire lately with four goals in his last two games. He’s one of the best pure scorers in all of hockey, and at the age of just 18 he’s only getting better. Will his shot be able to carry the Jets to a big win or will the real Canadiens finally show up?

Key Matchup

Carey Price against Connor Hellebuyck. Price’s slump is begging to look less like a blip and more like a big problem. He started the year with a 20-5-4 record with a 2.06 goals against average and a .930 save percentage but since then has just four wins with a 3.30 goals against average and a brutal .894 save percentage. He needs to turn it around in a hurry if Montreal wants to be taken seriously. Hellebuyck is no price but but was decent in allowing four goals on 39 shots against the Penguins and will try and improve against the struggling Habs.

Advice

Winnipeg and Montreal are both desperate, but the Canadiens are feeling the pressure. Take Winnipeg to cover the spread on the road against a team that hasn’t figured out how to win games for a while now.

Pick

Winnipeg
5
Montreal
2
Washington Capitals (n/a)
VS
Detroit Red Wings (n/a)
Total: n/a

Moneyline

  • Capitals (n/a) at Red Wings (n/a)

Our biggest mismatch of the night comes when the first place Capitals take on the last place Red Wings in the Eastern Conference. There’s not much left to say about Washington’s dominance. they’ve won six straight now and are an incredible 39-11-6 for the best record in all of hockey. They’re coming off a giant 6-4 win against the Ducks and continue to find ways to win no matter what the score is. They’re 8-2-0 in their last ten games and now get to travel to Detroit to take on the struggling Red Wings.

Detroit is just 2-6-2 in their last ten games and have dropped two straight to sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. They still can’t score the puck and its been a major problem all season long for this team. Their goal differential of -30 is the worst in the Eastern Conference by far and it appears their season may finally be coming to a close.

Key Matchup

Dylan Larking against Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov has been on fire after a slow start to the season and is up to 34 points in 56 games. He’s still improving with there points including a goal in his last four games and is the key piece that puts the Capitals over the edge. He’ll need to contend with the speed of Larkin, but that’s about it. The sophomore has been brutal this season with just 19 points in 55 games and hasn’t found the scoresheet in four straight. He needs to pick it up to show his team he still wants to be the best.

Advice

It’s impossible to bet against the Capitals with the way they’re playing but with the odds so low it makes more sense to just take the Over and hope both teams can score some goals.

Pick

Washington
6
Detroit
3
Ottawa Senators (+1.5)
VS
Toronto Maple Leafs (-1.5)
Total: 5.5(-115u, -145o)

Moneyline

  • Senators (+110) at Maple Leafs (-140)

The Battle of Ontario on Saturday night is always some of the most thrilling hockey you can rest your eyes on and that should be no exception when these two teams get ready to go. Toronto plays host with a 26-19-11 record and are three points behind Ottawa. They’re barely holding on to the final Wild Card spot and could be dealing with a big injury.

Their leading point scorer Mitch Marner left the last game against the Blue Jackets with an injury but luckily for Leafs fans is considered day to day. Coach Mike Babcock said he’s ready to play him, but the Doctors need to give the OK first. Keep tuned to see if the rookie sensation is in because that could change Toronto’s fortunes drastically.

Ottawa enters with a 30-19-6 record and are trying to fend off the Leafs and Bruins and know how important this game is. They’re coming off a shutout over the Devils but now have to take on a much more potent offense when the Leafs step on the ice. The good news for the Senators is that they seem to have two good goalies finally as Craig Anderson is healthy. It’s anyone’s guess who will step in net after Mike Condon just shut out the Devils but whoever dons the pads will put the Sens in good hands.

Key Matchup

Name Kadri against Erik Karlsson. Kadri is quietly having an excellent season with 23 goals and 44 points and is just six points away from tying his career high. He’s also one of the best agitators in the game and will try to throw Karlsson off who is the lifeblood of this Senators team. He has eight points in his last eight games and is now up to 47 on the season, despite playing defense. He’s truly one of a kind.

Advice

If Marner plays the Leafs get a huge boost, but either way they have played well at home this season with a 14-9-4 record compared to Ottawa’s 14-10-0 record away from home. It’s going be exciting, and probably close, but we like Toronto to cover in a bounce back win after losing to Columbus.

Pick

Toronto
3
Ottawa
1
NY Islanders (n/a)
VS
NJ Devils (n/a)
Total: n/a

Moneyline

  • Islanders (n/a) at Devils (n/a)

The Devils and Islanders clash in the Meadowlands with a lot at stake for both teams. New York enters with a 26-20-10 record and are just one point behind the Leafs for the second Wild Card spot and ultimately a trip to the playoffs. They’ve been a different team ever since Doug Weight took over behind the bench and are coming off another huge win after they dispatched the red-hot Rangers 4-2 in their last outing.

They’re back on the road again against the Devils and should have a bit of an easier time, but it won’t be a cakewalk.New Jersey is 5-4-1 in their last ten games and just five points out of a playoff spot as well. One big win against the Islanders could really change their fortune and they want to bounce back after being shut out by the Senators 3-0 the last time they took the ice.

If they’re going to get it done it’s going to need to start with Taylor Hall. He’s the team leader with 37 points in 47 games and has four over his last five but hasn’t scored in four straight hames. If he can get it going and score a few against the Islanders the Devils could send New York packing early on.

Key Matchup

John Tavares against Cory Schneider. Tavares is the most dangerous player on the ice with 48 points so far this season but has cooled off a bit since the tear he went on two weeks ago. He’ll need to beat the Devils’ goalie in Schneider if he wants to get back on the score sheet and that can be easier said than done.

Advice

The Devils continue to hang around but don’t have the same depth or skill that the Islanders due. New York is getting decent odds for being on the road and we like them to continue their winning ways in the Meadowlands. Take the Islanders on the spread.

Pick

NY
2
NJ
1
Nashville Predators (+1.5)
VS
Minnesota Wild (-1.5)
Total: 5.5(-140u, +110o)

Moneyline

  • Predators (+140) at Wild (-170)

The Predators and Wild clash in a big Western Conference showdown and Nashville needs the win way more than Minnesota does. The Predators showed some promise when they started climbing back up the standings when P.K. Subban returned to the lineup but have been bumped from the division after the Blues went own their winning streak.

Nashville is still 5-4-1 in their last ten games and coming off a win over Dallas. They still hold the first Wild Card spot but need to start separating themselves from the rest of the pack if they want to breathe easy down the stretch. That may prove difficult against the Wild who are the best team in the West with a 38-13-6 record. They have a seven point lead over Chicago in the division and are 7-2-1 in their last ten games. They just beat the Stars as well 3-1 and will try to hold down their home ice against the Wild.

Devan Dubnyk continues to be unstoppable for the Wild and now owns a 31-10-3 record with a 1.97 goals against average and a .934 save percentage. He’ll need to be sharp with the Predators finally starting to score. Nashville has popped in three or more goals in four straight games and look like a different team as of late.

Key Matchup

P.K. Subban against Ryan Suter. Suter is arguably the best stay at home defenseman this year and leads the league in plus/minus but now he has to deal with Subban who seems to finally be finding his legs after a lengthy injury. Subban has four points in his last five games despite playing along the blue line and will jumpstart Nashville’s offense from his own end.

Advice

The Wild seem unbeatable, but they have to lose now and then. Nashville may not beat them, but we expect them to make it close enough to take them on the spread. Grab the Predators and hope Subban keeps up his stellar play.

Pick

Nashville
4
Minnesota
3
Tampa Bay Lightning (+1.5)
VS
Dallas Stars (-1.5)
Total: 5.5(EVENu, -130o)

Moneyline

  • Lightning (EVEN) at Stars (-130)

The Lightning are oh so close to making something of themselves in the Eastern Conference. They’re 25-24-7 on the year and still somehow just six points out of a playoff spot. If that margin doesn’t start shrinking soon, as in, against the Stars on Saturday they may find themselves missing the postseason but they still have skill at every position to compete with the best in the NHL.

They’re coming off a big win over the Jets but are still just 4-4-2 in their last ten games. Their injuries and lack of depth have made it difficult for them to string together wins at any point this season but they have a chance to make it two in a row against the struggling Stars.

Dallas is in a major slump with three straight losses and are now just 3-7-0 in their last ten games. They’ve fallen to the bottom of the pack trying to make the playoffs out West and are now seven points out of the second Wild Card spot. Their problem lately, as has been all year, is stopping the puck. The Stars give up 3.22 goals a game which ranks better than only Colorado this season and they simply have no idea how to keep the opposition off the scoreboard.

As bad as their defense has been this year their goaltending has been even worse. Kari Lehtonen has a goals against average of 2.88 with a save percentage of .902 while Antti Niemi has been even worse with a 3.19 goals against average and a .899 save percentage. Regardless of who gets the start agains the Lightning, Tampa Bay will have plenty of chances to score.

Key Matchup

Tyler Seguin against Nikita Kucherov. These two players have put the team on their shoulders all season long and there will be no exception when they face off on Saturday. Sequin has 56 points in 59 games and five in his last five. He’ll have to bring his best again when Kucherov hits the ice for the Lightning. Tampa’s forward has 49 points in 49 games but has been held off the scoresheet in two straight. Expect him to break out against the Stars.

Advice

We like Tampa to take advantage of a struggling Dallas team and make another dent in the Eastern Conference standings. We also love the Over in this matchup as both teams know how to put the puck in the back of the net.

Pick

Tampa Bay
6
Dallas
4
San Jose Sharks (+1.5)
VS
Arizona Coyotes(-1.5)
Total: 5.5(-130u, EVENo)

Moneyline

  • Sharks (-190) at Coyotes (+160)

The Sharks are experiencing some rare struggles for a team that is in first place in the Pacific division and has looked so strong all season long. San Jose is just 4-2-4 in their last ten games and coming off another overtime loss, this time at the hands of the red-hot Panthers. The Sharks will welcome the trip to Arizona where the Coyotes have been brutal all season long and own just a 20-29-7 record on the year.

Still, the Sharks should be careful. The Coyotes have found some sort of energy in the final third of the season and are 6-3-1 in their last ten games after beating up on the LA Kings 5-3 in their last outing. Max Domi has been particularly impressive since finding his legs again after injury. He has 21 points in 33 games now including five in his last five games. He was held off the scoresheet against the Kings but should be able to bounce back at home.

Key Matchup

Brent Burns against Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Burns is simply incredible. He’s up to 61 points in 58 games and has six in his last five….despite being a defenseman. he has three goals during that span and is up to 25 on the year to lead all blue liners. He’s making a serious case for the league MVP and will try and get his team back on track against Ekman-Larsson. The Coyotes blue liner has found his touch lately and now has six points in his last five games.

Advice

The Coyotes have looked like a real NHL team as of late, but that won’t cut it against the Sharks who need a win to fend off the Oilers and Ducks. Take San Jose on the spread and hope Burns and company can score some more goals.

Pick

San Jose
6
Arizona
2
Calgary Flames (+1.5)
VS
Vancouver Canucks (-1.5)
Total: 5(+105u, -135o)

Moneyline

  • Flames (-120) at Canucks (-110)

The Flames and Canucks are separated by just five points but those five points mean a world of difference in the Western Conference right now. Vancouver is trailing Calgary and that means they’re not in a playoff spot as the Flames are tentatively holding on to the final Wild Card slot heading into the final push.

Calgary is grinding along like the rest of the teams trying to make the postseason and are now 5-5-0 in their last ten games after beating the Flyers 3-1. They’ll need to pick up the pace on the road where they own just a 14-12-3 record this season while the Canucks have been excellent on home ice.

Vancouver is 17-8-3 at home and if they could only figure out how to win a few more on the road they’d be a much more dominant team this season. Bo Horvat continues to lead this club despite being just 21 years old. He has five points in his last three games and is doing all he can to carry his club to the postseason. He’s going to need some help if the Canucks are going to make a final push.

Key Matchup

Sedan Twins against Mark Giordano. The Sedin Twins have combined for just seven points over their last five games and while they’re slowing down as they get older they still need to lead by example on the ice. It won’t be easy against one of the best blue liners in the league when Girodano laces them up on Saturday night.

Advice

The Canucks may be down, but they’re not out just yet. Their stellar record at home will propel them to another win against the Flames. Take Vancouver on the spread.

Pick

Vancouver
4
Calgary
1
Florida Panthers (+1.5)
VS
LA Kings (-1.5)
Total: 5(EVENu, -130o)

Moneyline

  • Panthers (+140) at Kings (-170)

The Panthers and Kings are the final game of the night and it should be a thrilling matchup. Florida is coming in hot with two straight wins including a massive overtime victory over the Sharks. They’re now 5-3-2 in their last ten games and just three points out of a playoff spot.

They’ll get to test their newfound skill against the Kings who are trying everything they can to get into the playoffs as well. Just when it looked like LA might be ready for their late season charge they started losing and their four game win streak was wiped out. They’re still an excellent 6-4-1 in their last ten games and know how important these matchups are but it won’t be easy with the way Florida’s playing.

He missed almost the entire season up until now but Johnathan Huberdeau has been one of the best players in the NHL since he returned. He has seven points in the only four games he’s played this season and will be striving to keep the pace up against the Kings. The Panthers are going to be tired after playing the Ducks the night before however and the fatigue may finally catch up to a player who has missed the whole season.

Key Matchup

Jaromir Jagr against Anze Kopitar. Jagr is still getting it done at 44 years old with 32 points in 55 games and a +6 rating on the year. He’s on a three game point streak and has the experience and leadership to lead his team into tough games like the second night of a back to back when they play the Kings. Kopitar is the new captain of LA this season but has had an up and down year. Like Jagr, his team needs him to step up on the ice and we’ll see if he can improve on his two points in his last five games.

Advice

As much we love the run Florida is on, playing the second night of a back to back in LA after taking on Anaheim isn’t easy for anyone. Take the Kings on the spread and hope Kopitar and company can realize how important these wins are as the season winds down.

Pick

LA
3
Florida
0
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