Sunday Night Hockey – Picks and Previews for February 19th NHL Games

By in NHL on

The NHL usually wakes up on Sunday, hits the snooze button, and goes back to bed delivering us four or five games at the most and wetting our appetite just enough before the big week starts again. That’s not the case this Sunday. After a loaded schedule all day and night Saturday the NHL just keeps on keeping on with another 11 game slate.

That’s incredible news for fans and bettors alike as any losses you may have taken on Saturday can be remedied right away with some careful research and good wagering on Sunday. As always, we’re here to give you a brief look into each game and help you make those tough decisions. Let’s get to it!

Washington Capitals (n/a)
VS
New York Rangers (n/a)
Total: n/a

Moneyline

  • Capitals (n/a) at Rangers (n/a)

The Capitals have won six in a row heading into their game with Detroit on Saturday night and while the game hasn’t finished at the time of this writing, it feels safe to expect a win from the hottest team in hockey. They’ll follow up that game in the Motor City with a much tougher foe when they head to New York on Sunday to take on the Rangers.

Not only will the competition be tougher but the timing will be as well. The puck drops at 12:30 eastern time meaning little rest of the Capitals after playing just the night before, but if any team is capable of bouncing back it’s this Washington club. They’re first in the entire NHL with 84 points and a 39-11-6 record on the year. They’ve been the best team in hockey for almost two months now and continue to find ways to win night in and night out.

The Rangers are no slouches either. They’re coming off a loss to the Islanders but were on their own six game win streak before they bumped into a hot New York Islanders team. The Rangers are now just four points out of the third playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division and desperately want to climb back into that position after Columbus bumped them off earlier in the year. They are 37-19-1 on the year with 75 points and remain one of the elite teams in the NHL.

Offense

The Rangers and Capitals are two of the highest scoring teams in the NHL, so if you’re a fan of the Over bet this might be the game for you. Washington enters with the league’s second-ranked defense averaging 3.43 goals a game and have been on fire during their win streak. In their last six wins prior to playing Detroit they’re averaging exactly five goals a game and have shown no signs of slowing down. they also have the fourth ranked power play and have one of the deepest and most lethal offenses in all of hockey.

With names like Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstory sometimes gets lost in the shuffle despite being the team leader in points this season with 60 in 56 games. He’s on fire lately with back to back three point games prior to playing the Wings and now has nine points in his last five contests including three goals. He plays excellent two-way hockey with a +16 rating and is quietly the best player on this Washington team.

There really are no holes in this Capitals’ offense and with Evgeny Kuznetsov finally heating up as well they’re capable of scoring a goal no matter who is on the ice at any single moment. They’re scoring by the bucketful recently as well and we feel sorry for any goalies that has to stand in net to face them.

New York can fill it up to though. The Rangers rank just one spot behind the Capitals when it comes to offense, averaging 3.40 goals a game and also pouring it on of late. With the exception of their two goal performance in a loss against the Islanders New York scored three or more goals including four goals four times during their six game win streak and continue to be one of the scariest offenses to play against in the NHL.

Michael Grabner continues to be an absolute threat during five on five play. He has 26 goals this season with every single one coming at even strength and now leads the team in plus/minus as well at +28. He has been arguably the most valuable player for this Rangers team after they expected far less from their newest member in the offseason.

The Rangers now have eight different players that have reached double digit goals this season including two (Grabner and Chris Kreider) who have already reached the 20 goal plateau on the year. They remain as dangerous as anyone in hockey with the puck on their sticks and we can’t wait to watch these two offenses collide.

Defense

The biggest difference between these two clubs is on the defensive side of the puck. As prolific as Washington has been at scoring goals this season they’ve been that much better at stopping them. The Capitals have the number one defense in all of hockey, allowing just 2.16 goals a game on the year. they’ve given up seven goals in their last two games, so it hasn’t been terribly sharp as of late but they were coming off back to back shutouts before that and are capable of shutting down the best teams in the league on any night.

Brooks Orpik and Dmitry Orlov have been incredible for the Capitals this season with plus/minus ratings go 32 and 26 respectively on the year. Orlov has also chipped in with 26 points and while Orpik is still looking for his first goal this season it hardly matters when he’s playing some of the best defense in the NHL.

The forwards have also been excellent at back checking for the Capitals with T.J. Oshie rocking a +25 on the year to lead all forwards on the team. When the whole team buys in to stopping the opposition you give yourself a chance to beat anyone on any night.

The Rangers may not have the best defense in the NHL but they can still stop the puck. They rank 10th among all teams allowing just 2.65 goals a game and have improved their defense as of late. The Rangers have allowed three or more goals just twice in their last ten games and are starting to put in more of an effort on that side of the puck.

With no injuries and a healthy Marc Staal back on the blue line New York looks ready for the final playoff push. Like other great teams their forwards chip in a ton on defense with Michael Grabner and Kevin Hayes leading the team in plus/minus rating despite being forwards. Nick Holden has also been excellent alone gate blue line this year.

The 29 year old leads all defensemen on the team with a +20 rating and has chipped in with 27 points on the year. He scored his 9th goal of the season against the Islanders and will try and hit double digits when they welcome the Capitals to town.

Goalies

No great defense can exist without a great goalie and that’s certainly the case in Washington. Braden Holtby has been unstoppable in his last 16 games. He’s posted 14 wins during that span and has been pulled from just two games. He’s given up just 30 goals which is less than two per game and has a save percentage of .924. He’s fully in the running for the league’s best goalie this season and continues to turn in incredible performances.

He’ll be up against Henrik Lundqvist who has turned his season around a bit but is coming off a three goal outing against the Islanders. He now has a save percentage of .911 and a goals against average of 2.69 but those numbers are continuing to trend in the right direction.

Key Matchup

Alex Ovheckin against Michael Grabner. The two leading goal scorers on each team will be expected to produce again in a pivotal matchup. Grabner has three goals in his last five games but hasn’t scored in three straight. Ovechkin has the exact same amount of goals on the year as Grabner but has just one in his last five. Both players are due for a breakout, but who’s it going to be?

Advice

The Rangers will have three days of rest while the Capitals will be playing with less than 24 hours of time to recover. Washington looks unstoppable, but they have to lose eventually and we like the odds the Rangers are getting at home. Take New York on the spread.

Pick

New York
5
Washington
3
Detroit Red Wings (+1.5)
VS
Pittsburgh Penguins (-1.5)
Total: 5.5(-110u, -120o)

Moneyline

  • Red Wings (+250) at Penguins (-320)

The Wings don’t have it easy do they? After playing the Capitals on Saturday night they have to turn around quickly and play the next best team in the division when they take on the Penguins own Sunday afternoon at 2:30.

Detroit is dead last in the Eastern Conference with a 22-25-10 record prior to their game with the Capitals and have lost four straight games. That losing streak may stretch to six by the time they’re finish in Pittsburgh. then Penguins are 6-1-3 in their last ten after a tough overtime loss to the Jackets but will be rested and waiting for a bounce back win against the Wings.

Sidney Crosby continues to play hero for Pittsburgh and is doing all he can to chase down Connor McDavid for the lead league in points. He reached 1,000 points for his career just two nights ago in just 757 games and became the third youngest player to get there. He’s a once in a lifetime talent and seems determined to get his team another Stanley Cup. He was held off the scoresheet against Columbus but seems ready to bounce back after he grabbed three points the night before that Blue Jackets game.

Key Matchup

Henrik Zetterberg against Evgeni Malkin. Malkin has looked great since his return to the Pittsburgh lineup after missing almost three weeks with an injury. The Pens’ forward has five points in his three games since returning to the ice with two goals over that span as well. He’ll be up against the hard back-checking of Henrik Zetterberg and while his team flounders he continues to play excellent hockey night in and night out.

Advice

A tired Wings team on the road against the second best team in the Conference is never a good time to take the underdog. Stick with Pittsburgh on the spread and hope Malkin and Crosby keep up their great play.

Pick

Detroit
2
Pittsburgh
5
Winnipeg Jets (+1.5)
VS
Ottawa Senators (-1.5)
Total: 5.5(-110u, -120o)

Moneyline

  • Jets (+110) at Senators (-140)

With so many teams playing on Saturday and Sunday it only makes sense that there’s a lot of clubs playing in back to back contests. That’s certainly the case for both these teams as Winnipeg enters after playing on the road in Montreal the night before while Ottawa returns home after a date with rival Toronto.

The Senators are enjoying some success as of late with a 5-4-1 record in their last ten games and coming off a 3-0 shutout of the Devils prior to playing Toronto on Saturday. They finally have their goal differential on the positive side of 0 with a +2 rating and trying to catch the struggling Canadiens for first place in the Atlantic Division.

They’ll be tired when they take on the Jets but at least they get to do it in the comfort of their own home where they’ve enjoyed success all season long. Winnipeg enters the game coming off a tough overtime loss against the Penguins but the point they gained before playing Montreal put them just four points out of a playoff spot. Patrik Laine has started to heat up again after missing some time with injury and the rookie sensation now has 27 goals on the season to go along with 48 points in just 52 games.

He has four goals over his last two contests prior to playing the Habs and he knows how important his success is to his team making the playoffs.

Key Matchup

Mark Scheifele against Mark Stone. The battle of the Marks will highlight this game with Scheifele leading the team in points with 58 in 57 games this season. He has five points over his last two games and is the offensive leader of his club. He’ll be against Stone who was playing well prior to the all-star break but has lost a bit of the fire since. He has just two points in his last five games and will need to improve to help his team finish the season strong.

Advice

With both teams having played the night before it only makes sense to favor the home team in what looks like a pretty evenly matched game on paper. Take the Senators on the spread at home.

Pick

Winnipeg
1
Ottawa
3
Nashville Predators (+1.5)
VS
Columbus Blue Jackets (-1.5)
Total: 5/5(+105o, -135u)

Moneyline

  • Predators (+140) at Blue Jackets (-140)

The Predators are in a dog fight for a playoff spot out West but still hold a one point lead in the Wild Card race and control their own destiny going forward. They have looked like a different team since P.K. Subban and Roman Josi both got healthy and are now 5-4-1 in their last ten games. They’re coming off a big win against Dallas but have to play Minnesota on Saturday night before taking on the Blue Jackets on Sunday.

That’s a tough schedule for anyone let alone a team desperately trying to stay in the playoff race. They’re going to need to win one of these games and their best chance might be against Columbus. The Blue Jackets are coming off a huge overtime win over Pittsburgh but are just 5-4-1 in their last ten games as well and have looked like an average team since their 16 game win streak earlier in the season.

Sergei Bobrovsky has come back down to earth a bit after being the hottest goalie on the planet earlier in the season. He had a great effort against the Penguins but still has just three wins in his last nine games. He still owns a 2.17 goals against average with a .926 save percentage but will need to show some more consistency if the Jackets want to be viewed as a threat again down the stretch.

Key Matchup

P.K. Subban against Cam Atkinson. Atkinson has a terrific and surprising season with 50 points in 57 games that almost no one saw coming, but he’s slowed down as of late with just two points in his last five games. Now he’ll be up against one of the best skating defensemen in all of hockey in Subban. It’s taken some time for him to get used to his new surroundings in Nashville but has looked sharper late and just grabbed two assists against Dallas.

Advice

If the Predators are going to win one of these back to back games it’s going to come against Columbus. They’re getting great odds on the road and the Jackets have looked human as of late. Take Nashville on the spread.

Pick

Nashville
4
Columbus
2
Chicago Blackhawks (n/a)
VS
Buffalo Sabres (n/a)
Total: n/a

Moneyline

  • Blackhawks (n/a) at Sabres (n/a)

The Sabres have now won three in a row and are doing their best to climb up the Eastern Conference standings in the hopes of a late playoff push. It’s still looking tough for Buffalo to pull it off, but with each victory they charge closer to their goal. It only gets harder for the Sabres on Sunday when Chicago comes to town though.

Buffalo just gritted out a 3-2 win against the Blues on Saturday and now welcome one of the hottest teams in all of hockey into their building. Chicago has to play Edmonton first on Saturday still but as of now have won six straight games and are starting to look like that terrifying postseason juggernaut that shows up every year to run through the playoffs.

To make matters worse for Buffalo, they’ve won ten straight games agains the Sabres, a feat no other team has accomplished against any other team in the NHL. For whatever reason, Chicago just finds a way to dominate the Blackhawks. That means Buffalo will need all hands on deck on Sunday including sophomore star Jack Eichel. He has 31 points in just 37 games this year and is on a three game point streak after grabbing another assist against the Blues.

Key Matchup

Evander Kane against Patrick Kane. Another same name battle, this time, the last names. The two Kanes are both excellent goal scorers and when they find the back of the net their teams seem to win. With their speed and skill it will be thrilling to watch whenever these two have the puck on their stick.

Advice

Ten wins in a row is tough to bet against no matter the circumstances. With Chicago getting decent odds for playing on the road we like taking them on the spread in this contest.

Pick

Chicago
5
Buffalo
2
NY Islanders (n/a)
VS
NJ Devils (n/a)
Total: n/a

Moneyline

  • Islanders (n/a) at Devils (n/a)

The Islanders just keep winning. Another huge victory over their rivals the Rangers and the Isles find themselves just on point behind the Leafs for a Wild Card spot and ultimately, a playoff berth. They are 6-3-1 in their last ten games and rocketing up the standings in the Eastern Conference since getting a new head coach. Doug Weight has transformed this team into one that plays on both ends of the ice and the Islanders are looking like a dangerous dark horse to make some noise in the spring.

The Devils, on the other hand, keep grinding away but need more wins if they want to be taken seriously as a threat in the East. They’re still a very respectable 5-4-1 in their last ten games but will now embark on this crucial home and home in back to back games against the Islanders. Depending on what happens on Saturday night in Brooklyn the Devils could be trying to avoid a sweep, or complete one, and theres an obvious side that both teams want to be on.

John Tavares will again be the X factor in both games as he’s been a stud since the coaching change. He has five points in his last five games including two assists against the Rangers in that big victory and now has 48 points in 56 games prior to Saturday’s contest. The Devils will need to contain him if they have any hope of winning the second game.

Key Matchup

Thomas Greiss against Taylor Hall. Hall really seems to be the only player with offensive skill on the Devils this year and they go when he goes. He’ll need to score some goals or at the very least grab some assists and it won’t be easy against Greiss who has turned into a brick wall for the Islanders since the All-Star break.

Advice

Whenever there’s back to back games we like to take the home team in the second portion. They get to sleep in their own beds and come out well rested to play the next night. Take the Islanders on the spread.

Pick

NY
2
NJ
0
Toronto Maple Leafs (n/a)
VS
Carolina Hurricanes (n/a)
Total: n/a

Moneyline

  • Toronto (n/a) at Carolina (n/a)

The Leafs will be coming off a game against the Senators on Saturday night that is undecided at the time of this wiring but Toronto continues to control their own destiny as they hang on to a Wild Card spot and still have a few games in hand on many teams in the Eastern Conference. They are just 3-5-2 in their last ten games however and now have another difficult challenge to deal with. Their leading scorer and rookie sensation Mitch Marner will miss both games this weekend after crashing awkwardly into the boards against Columbus and that means the Leafs will need to fill his scoring and creative offense.

Most of the pressure will fall on William Nylander who is expected to take his spot at the wing position on the top line. Nylander has been excellent all season with 38 points in 55 games and leads the team in power play points with 16. More ice time for the 20 year old may turn into more points, or it could mean more pressure.

The Hurricanes will just be happy to play at home. Carolina has a brutal 7-16-6 record away from home but an excellent 17-6-2 mark in their own building. That’s where they’ll be when they take on the Leafs and Toronto needs to be prepared. Carolina may be struggling with just a 3-6-1 record in their last ten games but they know how to take care of business in their own rink.

Key Matchup

Auston Matthews against Sebastian Ago. Matthews has been arguably the best player for the Leafs this season as him and Marner battle for top rookie honors. He has 27 goals on the year but just three points in his last five games prior to his tilt with the Senators He’ll need to pick up the pace with Marner out. Aho is the 19 year old stud rookie for the Hurricanes with 32 points in 54 games this season but has just two in his last five games. He’ll need to break out in a major way.

Advice

The Leafs are too skilled to stay in this slump for long and the Hurricanes will need to lose some more games at home eventually. Take Toronto on the spread in what should be a close one.

Pick

Toronto
3
Carolina
2
Tampa Bay Lightning (-1.5)
VS
Colorado Avalanche (+1.5)
Total: 5(+115u, -145o)

Moneyline

  • Lightning (-165) at Avalanche (+135)

The Lightning and Avalanche battle in the mountains of Colorado and Tampa Bay needs to take advantage of an easy matchup. The Lightning are just 4-4-2 in their last ten games prior to their Saturday night tilt with Dallas and if they can string together a win over the Stars and the Avs on Sunday their playoff drive will stay alive. Tampa is still just six points out of the postseason despite all the injuries they’ve suffered and are coming off a big 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Now they get to take on a Colorado team that has struggled all season long.

The Avalanche are coming off a surprising win over the Carolina Hurricanes but even then are still just 3-7-0 in their last ten games. They have an atrocious -76 goal differential and are a stunning 27 points out of a playoff spot. All they have left to play for now is pride and that can be dangerous.

Matt Duchene has been rumored as a trade in almost every scenario as the season winds down and any team would be lucky to have him. He has 34 points this season despite playing on a tough team and grabbed another point in his last outing against Carolina. Whether he gets traded or not he’ll be giving it his all on Sunday against the Lightning.

Key Matchup

Nikita Kucherov against Matt Duchene. Kucherov has been carrying this Lightning team the whole season and now has 49 points in 49 games to give him exactly a point a game. He’s been held off the score sheet in his last two games prior to the match with Dallas on Saturday and we expect him to break out in a major way against the weak defense of the Avalanche.

Advice

Tampa Bay isn’t done yet. They can still make a name for themselves in the crowded Eastern Conference and a big win against the Avalanche would get them off to a good start. Take Tampa on the spread getting decent odds.

Pick

Tampa Bay
6
Colorado
3
San Jose Sharks (-1.5)
VS
Boston Bruins (+1.5)
Total: 5(+115u, -145o)

Moneyline

  • Sharks (-120) at Coyotes (-110)

The Bruins are enjoying their new coach. Boston is 6-4-0 in their last ten games and have won three straight including a huge 4-0 shutout over their rivals the Montreal Canadiens. Now Boston is just six points behind Montreal for first place in the Atlantic Division and desperately want to make up ground after a rough up and down start to the season.

It won’t be easy when they bring their 14-10-6 away record into San Jose. The Sharks are 18-7-3 at home but haven’t looked themselves as of late. They’re just 4-2-4 in their last ten games and continue to find ways to lose in overtime. Now they have to play their second game in as many nights after taking on the Coyotes on Saturday.

The Sharks were doubled up 6-3 by the Bruins in their last match and now have to take on an even hotter team. Brent Burns continues to have a season for the ages for a defenseman in San Jose and he’ll be critical to his team’s success once again on Sunday with the offense struggling. Burns has three goals in his last two games and is now up to 61 points on the season despite patrolling the blue line.

Key Matchup

Brad Marchand against Joe Thornton. Marchand is having an incredible season with 58 points in 58 games and has seven points in his last five contests. His style of play is at the heart and soul of this Boston team and he’s a big of a nuisance to the opposition as he is an asset to his team. Thornton knows his team is struggling but he’s doing all he can to get them out of the hole. He’s riding a four game point streak with two goals and three assists during that span and will need to be sharp again when Boston comes to town.

Advice

Until San Jose starts looking like themselves or Boston starts calling down we’re going to keep riding the Bruins. Take Boston getting excellent odds on the spread and hope they can stay hot in San Jose.

Pick

San Jose
3
Boston
4
LA Kings (+1.5)
VS
Anaheim Ducks (-1.5)
Total: 5(-115u, -115o)

Moneyline

  • Kings (+105) at Ducks (-135)

The Kings had a tough test against the Panthers on Saturday night and depending on how that game went it could only get harder for them when they travel to Anaheim for a date with the Ducks. The Ducks are just 4-5-1 in their last ten games this season but have still looked like one of the most balanced and strongest teams in hockey this season.

They’re tied with Edmonton for second in the Pacific Division and just four points back of San Jose for the division lead. They’re coming off a 4-1 loss to the same Panthers team that is playing the Kings on Saturday night but unlike LA, Anaheim gets the night off on Saturday and will be well-rested for the big showdown.

That’s good news for Corey Perry who has been struggling lately with just one point in his last three games. The team looks to him for leadership on and off the ice and hell have to bring everything he’s got to fend off the Kings who are desperately trying to just make the playoffs at this point.

Key Matchup

Peter Budaj against John Gibson. Gibson has looked better in the New Year and has brought his goals against average from 2.59 to 2.32 and his save percentage up from .911 to .920. If he can continue to turn in those performances every night the Ducks will be just fine come playoff time. Opposite him is Budaj who has been sensational in relief for the Kings with a 2.15 goals against average and a .917 save percentage.

Advice

LA will be gassed after playing the high-flying Panthers and then have to travel on the road to take on Anaheim. Take the Ducks at home on the spread and hope Perry can rally the troops for a win.

Pick

Anaheim
5
LA
2
Philadelphia Flyers (-1.5)
VS
Vancouver Canucks (+1.5)
Total: 5(EVENu, -130o)

Moneyline

  • Flyers (-130) at Kings (EVEN)

Both these teams are just trying to make the playoffs, which makes Sunday’s game so important. The Flyers are in a better position as they’re just two points out of a Wild Card spot but with how crowded the East is they need to start winning now. They’re only 4-5-1 in their last ten games and are coming off a 6-3 loss at the hands of the Oilers. They continue to give up goals at an atrocious rate and will have to be careful against the Canucks.

Vancouver enters with an excellent 17-8-3 record on the road and are still five points out of a playoff spot. They have an uphill battle to climb but it can start with take care of the Flyers at home. They’ve lost two straight however and are just 3-7-0 in their last ten games. They also have to play the Flames the night before and will be a tired bunch when the fast skating Flyers come to visit.

Ryan Miller will have to be particularly sharp for the Canucks in net. He allowed four goals on 42 shots in his last game against the Penguins but will likely get the start in this one. He has just a 2.65 goals against average but a .915 save percentage and still has a bit left in the tank to turn it on any single night.

Key Matchup

Jakub Voracek against Bo Horvat. Horvat has done all he can for the Canucks at just the age of 21 and now leads the team in points but he’ll be asked to keep going as the Canucks fight for a playoff spot. That means going up against Voracek who has 48 points this season and three points in his last four games.

Advice

As good as Vancouver has been at home this season they’re tired and taking on a desperate Flyers team. Take Philadelphia getting decent odds on the spread.

Pick

Philadelphia
3
Vancouver
2
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