Tuesday Night NHL Picks for March 14th
The NHL picks up steam on Tuesday night with a nine game slate after a pretty busy start to the week on Monday. There’s a lot on the line this late in the season which is rare but also exciting for bettors and fans alike. It’s still incredibly close in the East for teams trying to grab the final Wild Card spot while in the West it’s coming down to a two horse race but there’s still tons up for grabs in terms of seeding.
There’s a ton of road teams who are playing with serious desperation and that means some serious money to be made. Be sure to take some chances this late in the season before the grind of the playoffs start. Let’s get to it!
- Minnesota (+120) at Washington (-150)
It doesn’t happen very often but if you’re a hockey fan then you’re getting a treat on Tuesday night when the best team in the East takes on the best team in the West in a late season battle for league supremacy. Washington welcomes Minnesota during a rare four game losing streak after getting whipped 5-2 by the Ducks by are still 44-17-7 overall this season and sitting in first place in the NHL with 95 points.
Their lead on the Jackets and Penguins has dwindled thanks to their poor play as of late but they still hold a one point lead over Pittsburgh and a three point lead over Columbus and know how important home ice advantage is for the playoffs. Now they’ll travel to Minnesota to try and snap their losing streak against the best team in the West.
The Wild are coming off a loss as well after being doubled up 4-2 by the streaking Blackhawks but Minnesota is still sitting in first with a 43-18-6 record. They have just a one point lead as well over Chicago and will try and grab a tough win on the road against the suddenly desperate Capitals. Minnesota is 5-5-0 over their last ten games while Washington is the exact same. Both teams have been the strongest in the league all season long but with the year winding down other teams are starting to catch up. So who’s going to come out on top on Tuesday night?
Both teams have been excellent at putting pucks in the back of the net this season and with the way they’re struggling at stopping the opposition you may want to consider taking the over. Minnesota enters with the league’s 2nd ranked offense, potting 3.33 goals a game.
They fire the 10th most shots on net and have the 8th ranked powerplay and everything adds up to a seriously deadly offensive unit. With that being said the Wild have struggled over their last four games. With the exception of a seven goal performance against the Panthers Minnesota has scored just four goals over their other three games during that span and they’ll need to find a spark when they take to the road against the Capitals.
Expect Eric Staal to pick up his play as the season winds down. The veteran knows how important it is to make the playoffs for his career and he’ll give it his all down the stretch. He has four points in his last two games including three goals and seems determined to get Minnesota that number one seed.
In Washington the Capitals know how to score some goals as well. They’re ranked 4th overall in goals per game at 3.21 despite firing just the 23rd most shots on goal. They’re 7th ranked powerplay bails them out of a lot of games and if they can’t start generating some more goals on even strength they could find it tough to beat sounder defensive teams like Minnesota.
As strong as the Caps have been at scoring goals this season it hasn’t been easy picking lately. They’re averaging just 2.3 goals a game over their last ten and haven’t score more than two goals in six straight games. Now they’re up against an excellent defensive team and will need someone to dig deep to get them out of this slump.
Luckily for Washington they have a long list of players capable of doing it. Alex Ovheckin, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov are more than capable of taking over games but we’re intrigued by Justin Williams. Williams has 19 goals on the year but hasn’t scored in eight straight games. Washington depends on his production and he’ll need to get going if they want to hold on to the East’s number one seed.
As good as both these teams are at scoring the puck they’re arguably better at stopping it. Washington has the number one defense in all of hockey and allows just 2.24 goals a game. They allow the 4th fewest shots on net and have the 6th best penalty kill so they truly have every aspect of defending their net covered.
Unfortunately for the Capitals they seem to have forgotten just how to protect their net. Washington has allowed 17 goals during their four game losing streak with at least four goals a game during that stretch. That sort of defense isn’t good enough for a Wild Card team let alone a team trying to win the Stanley Cup.
They’re also going to be without their new acquisition they got at the trade deadline. Kevin Shattenkirk is going to miss at least the next two games thanks to a suspension and that may actually help the Capitals get back to where they were. They’ve been adjusting to life with Shattenkirk along the blueline but without the distraction they may revert to the way they were playing before the trade.
In Minnesota the Wild rank 4th in stopping the puck this season, allowing just 3.43 goals a game. They still have trouble blocking shots and allow the 20th most chances on net this season. Still, their 7th ranked penalty kill does an excellent job and their backchecking forwards are among the best in the NHL.
With that being said the Wild will have to rely on heavy minutes from their top defensemen thanks to some injuries. They’re going to be without Victor Bartley, Christian Folin and likely Gustav Olofsson for Tuesday’s game and that means added pressure on Ryan Suter. If anyone’s up for the task it’s Suter who leads the league in plus/minus rating at +34.
The game may be decided between the pipes as both goalies are likely the two front runners for the Vezina Trophy this season. Devan Dubynk has been excellent for the Wild all year long but was pulled after giving up two goals in under five minutes against Chicago. He still owns a 2.07 goals against average with a .931 save percentage and will try and bounce back against the Caps.
Washington responds with Braden Holtby who is also struggling after allowing five goals on 32 shots and has now lost three games in a row giving up 12 goals during that span. He still owns a 2.03 goals against average with a .926 save percentage and will be at his best to try and one-up Dubnyk.
Braden Holtby against Devan Dubnyk. When teams struggle it’s often up to their goaleis to get them out of the mess. While both Holtby and Dubnyk are coming off some brutal games they’ve been amazing all season long and will give it their all for their teams who both need a win to regain some confidence.
When two of the best teams clash like this it’s always important to see who’s on the road. In this case, it’s the Wild who have been excellent away from their own building all season long and now get great odds because they’re taking on the Caps. Take Minnesota on the spread and make your money work for you.
- New York (-115) at Carolina (-115)
The Islanders and Hurricanes finish off their home and home back in Raleigh and while the results of their first game on Monday night weren’t available at the time of this writing there’s still plenty to consider when these two Eastern Conference teams take the ice.
The Islanders are in a tough fight with three or four other teams in the East for the final Wild Card spot and will be playing with a new intensity when they hit the road in Carolina. Despite the Hurricanes’ record this season they actually play very well at home and New York will need to be careful not to take them lightly when they step onto the ice.
Carolina is 19-10-3 at home this season and clearly love playing in their own building. Two games in two nights is tough but at least they’re the team that gets to play at home. They’ve had a tough run of games and prior to the Islanders they were just 3-4-3 in their last ten contests. Their season has gone south thanks to an inability to play on the road and they’ll see if they can at least reward their fans with a late season win back at home.
New York is desperate and have been playing well lately with a 6-3-1 mark in their last ten games. Their season has done a complete 180 since they were at the bottom of the Eastern Conference just a little over a month ago. They know how hard they’ve worked to get to where they are and they’ll be ready to go in Carolina.
John Tavares against Cam Ward. Ward has had a tough year in net for the Hurricanes but he truly is one of the best goalies in the NHL when he’s on his game. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been on it much this year and will now need to try and stop Tavares who is trying to get his team into the postseason. Tavares is on a four game point streak with five points during that span including two goals.
Back to back games are tough regardless of how strong the road team is and now the Islanders need to try and grab an important win against a Hurricanes team that is very strong at home. Take Carolina on the spread.
- Winnipeg (-115) at New Jersey (-115)
The Jets had a strong opportunity to get back into the Wild Card race but are now a full nine points out of a postseason spot despite being the only team behind the Kings who are chasing the Blues. They’ve lost three straight before heading into Nashville last night and while that result isn’t available yet it won’t be easy to continue the road trip in New Jersey with a game the very next night.
The Devils lie in wait having a much worse season. After showing some promise earlier in February they’ve now lost six straight games after falling to the Coyotes 5-4 and are now dead last in the Eastern Conference with a 25-31-12 record. They’re 13-13-6 at home which is a decent record but have had serious trouble scoring goals this season and now need to take on the Jets who can fill it up in a hurry.
Winnipeg is averaging 2.96 goals a game which ranks 9th in the NHL and while their defense has been mediocre they can outscore anyone in the league when they get going. Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele are one of the best duos in all of hockey and with Laine still gunning for the rookie of the year award you can expect some goals in the Meadowlands on Tuesday night.
Taylor Hall against Patrik Laine. Hall is almost seven years older than Laine and still just 25. He only has 44 points in 58 games this season but is still the most talented player on the Devils. His talent comes up short when its compared to Laine though. The 18 year old is already way ahead of Hall with 59 points in 61 games this season and while he’s been held pointless in two straight games his 32 goals on the year are a thing of beauty.
The Devils have lost six straight but the Jets are feeling defeated as well. If New Jersey is going to pick up a win it’s going to come at home against a defeated Winnipeg team. Take New Jersey on the spread.
- Toronto (-105) at Florida (-125)
We almost made this our feature game with how important the matchup is for both teams. Toronto is in the thick of things for the final Wild Card spot and one of the teams they’re trying to hold off are the Panthers. Florida was off to a torrid star after the All-Star break but have faltered as of late and need this game badly if they’re going to keep up with the Leafs, Islanders, Lightning and Flyers.
Florida has lost four in a row after a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat at the hands of Tampa Bay and are now seven points back of the final Wild Card spot. Their biggest problem has been stopping the puck and that’s bad news for a team that’s trying to grind out victories. James Reimer has tried to fill the void left by Roberto Luongo’s injury but has faltered lately. He made 31 saves on Saturday but it wasn’t enough as he lost his seventh straight. Maybe playing his former team will give him a jolt but it’s not a good sign that he’s about to go up against the high-scoring Leafs.
Toronto is on a three game winning streak after beating the Hurricanes in overtime (a rarity for this Leafs team) and will now get to try and keep their momentum rolling against the slumping Panthers. Toronto is averaging 3.04 goals a game which ranks 6th in the NHL. They have the best powerplay in all of hockey and fire the third most shots on net and that may be tough for Reimer and the Panthers to deal with.
Auston Matthews against Jonathan Huberdeau. Matthews has had a rookie season for the ages and is just two points behind Laine for the rookie lead in scoring but has gone cold lately. He hasn’t recorded a point in five straight games and as the likely future captain of this team he’ll need to dig deep during Toronto’s final stretch if they want to lock up a playoff spot. Opposite him is Huberdeau who missed almost the entire season but now has 13 points in just 16 games this year. Like Matthews, he’ll need to emerge as the leader of his team to get Florida into the postseason.
This game is going to have huge playoff implications for both teams but Toronto is on a roll right now and getting great odds on the road. Take the Leafs on the spread and hope they get to Reimer early.
- Tampa Bay (+115) at Ottawa (-145)
Long live the Lightning. Whether you’re a Tampa Bay fan or not you can appreciate what the Lightning have done this season given the circumstances. Their franchise player has missed the majority of the season, they traded away Brian Boyle and their best goalie Ben Bishop and yet are somehow just a few points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
At the time of this writing they were locked in a 1-1 tie with the Rangers but regardless of the outcome will be tired when they hit the road the very next night in Ottawa. The Lightning are just 13-15-6 on the road this season while Ottawa has won six straight games and are now 19-10-6 in their won building this year. The Senators are hunting down the Canadiens for top spot in the Atlantic Division and are now just two points behind Montreal thanks to their incredible play. They’re 8-2-0 over their last ten games despite dealing with laundry list of injuries but now that they’re health is returning they’re one of the most dangerous teams in all of hockey.
If the Lightning are going to win it’s going to need to come on the back of three players. Nikita Kucherov is going to have to score, Victor Hedman is going to have to shut down the opposition’s offense and Andrei Vasilevsky is going to need to lock it down in net.
Nikita Kucherov against Erik Karlsson. Before worrying about getting his team into the palyoffs Kucherov needs to first worry about getting by Karlsson. Ottawa’s defenseman leads the league in blocked shots while also being second in defensemen scoring. If it weren’t for the play of Brent Burns this season the Norris Trophy would be Karlsson’s in a blink of an eye.
The Lightning are playing their second game in as many nights and its against the Senators who are rolling right now. Still, win streaks get snapped and the Lightning are playing with some serious momentum right now. Even if they don’t win they’re worth taking on the spread.
- Chicago (-105) at Montreal (-125)
The Canadiens are playing some of the best hockey of their season and yet are now in a tough spot with the way the Ottawa Senators have been racking up the wins. Ottawa has won six straight games and are gunning for the number one spot in the Atlantic Division. They’re just two points behind and now Montreal needs to play against one of the best teams in the NHL when the Blackhawks comes to town.
Chicago is just coming off arguably their biggest win of the season when they doubled up Minnesota 4-2 and now they’re 8-2-0 in their last ten games. They’re just a point behind the Wild for top spot in the West and will try and get a step closer with a win on the road in Montreal. Chicago has an awesome 20-11-1 record on the road this season and have looked more dominant than they have at any point this season.
They have the veteran leadership and the dominant playmakers to beat any single team in the league and one player in particular has been on fire recently and is now just two points off the league lead for points. Patrick Kane has been on another level this season with 73 points in 68 games to lift his team out of mediocrity and into the forefront of the NHL. He scored and grabbed an assist against the Wild in his last game and now has five points over his last five.
Montreal was almost out of the playoff picture a few weeks ago but they’ve picked up their pace under their new coach Claude Julien and look ready to make a strong run into the postseason. Their scoring continues to be inconsistent as they’ve racked up four goals, then 0, then 2, then four over their last four games and they’ll need to hope their sharpshooters show up against the Blackhawks.
Patrick Kane against Carey Price. The hottest scorer in the league was great against the Wild in his last game and now has to go up against another tough goalie when he takes on Price in Montreal. The Habs’ netminder stopped 24 of 25 shots against the Oilers and has now won six straight. He has a 31-16-5 record with a 2.26 goals against average and a .923 save percentage.
Chicago is rolling and getting great odds on the road. Their confidence is high after beating the Wild and they have what it takes to beat the Canadiens as well. Take the Blackhawks on the spread.
- Dallas (+145) at Edmonton (-175)
The Stars are virtually out of the playoffs but that doesn’t mean they can’t play spoiler down the line. After a loss to Montreal in their last game and having to play the Blues on Monday the Oilers are all of the sudden just four points up on the Blues for the first Wild Card spot and with LA lurking they could feasibly still miss the playoffs.
They haven’t been terrible with a 4-5-1 mark in their last ten games but the strong play of the Flames and Ducks has pushed them out of the top three in the Pacific Division. Luckily for them they get to return home where they’re 16-12-4 this season to take on a Stars team that has struggled on the road. Dallas is just 9-19-4 away from home this season and it’s a huge reason why they aren’t in a realistic position to make the postseason.
They’re just 5-5-0 in their last ten games and have lost back to back contest after getting rolled over by the Sharks 5-1. That’s been the Stars’ biggest problem all season long and as strong as they are at scoring goals they just can’t seem to stop the other team with any sort of consistency. That’s bad news with the way Edmonton scores the puck. The Oilers average 2.81 goals a game while the Stars give up 3.25 a game. That sort of imbalance could lead to a long night for Dallas.
Connor McDavid against John Kligberg. McDAvid is trying to hold off names like Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for the scoring lead but he has bigger concerns on his mind. He’s yet to taste the playoffs and while he’s just 20 years old he knows how important it is to get this Oilers team back to their winning ways. That means he’ll need to be at his best against the Stars and Klingberg. The Dallas defenseman has been the best blue liner all season for the Stars and will need to turn in another strong performance with number 97 bearing down on him.
The odds aren’t great but Edmonton needs this win and they have what it takes to deal with a struggling Dallas team on the road. Take the Oilers on the spread and watch McDavid turn in a big game for his team.
- Arizona (+120) at LA (-150)
The Kings get gift wrapped a game on Tuesday night to try and climb back into the playoff race. LA is still three points behind the Blues at the time of this writing and while they’re currently playing a huge game against St. Louis, regardless of the outcome they’ll still be chasing the Blues. While St. Louis gets the night off the Kings get to go back home and try to win against the Coyotes.
Arizona is coming off a win against the Devils and gets to play Colorado the night before but at the same time have had a very difficult season. They’re second to last in the West and are just 24-35-8 overall this year. They’re 19 points out of a playoff spot and at this point of the season are just trying to play spoiler.
They’ll have a great opportunity when they hit the road to take on the Kings but the Coyotes have struggled away from home this season. They’re just 9-20-4 out of Arizona this year and now have to try and pick up a win against a desperate Kings team that is trying to squeak into the playoffs at the finish line. Arizona actually beat LA 5-3 in their last matchup but this is a different Kings team now and they’re no longer messing around.
Jonathan Quick against Mike Smith. Quick is back in net where he belongs for the Kings and that’s good news for LA. He’s won four of his first five starts since coming back from injury and has looked better with each game under his belt. If he’s too tired to go it will be Ben Bishop and that’s hardly a downgrade. The ex-Lightning goalie has been excellent as well this season and either way the Kings will be strong in net.
Whoever plays will have to be good with Smith on the other end. He has a 3.00 goals against average but a very respectable .917 save percentage in 30 games this year. If Arizona can limit the Kings’ shots on net the Coyotes’ netminder has a strong chance to shut the door.
Both teams are playing their second game in as many nights and we love taking the home team in those situations. The odds aren’t great but it’s hard to say no. Take LA on the spread.
- Buffalo (+185) at San Jose (-235)
The Sabres should have had a much stronger season but losing Jack Eichel for the first giant chunk of the year really hurt their team. Now Buffalo is a full eight points out of the final Wild Card spot and just 2-6-2 in their last ten games. They’re coming off an excellent 5-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets but at this point of the game that win is more about pride than it is about moving up the standings.
Now they hit the road to take on the Sharks and San Jose will be welcoming the bait. The Sharks are sitting in first in the Pacific Division after another big win over the Stars 5-1 and are now seven points ahead of the Ducks in the division. They’re 7-2-1 in their last ten games and own an incredible 22-8-4 record at home this season.
The most interesting part of San Jose’s season so far has been the play of Brent Burns. When league executives took a poll a month ago many had Burns as the league’s MVP this season with a quarter left. How good has Burns be? He’s in the top ten in scoring with 70 points and has an incredible 27 goals. He has a realistic chance of winning the scoring title and the Norris Trophy and is turning back the clock to the days of Paul Coffey and Bobby Orr. He’s been quiet in his last five with just three points but with the way the Sabres play defense he could break out in a major way.
Jack Eichel against Brent Burns. Eichel is doing all he can to make sure his team finishes the season strong. The 20 year old has 47 points in 48 games and is having an incredible season despite the lack of games played. He is coming off a goal and an assist in his last game and now has four goals and three assists in his last five games alone. He’ll be checked by Brent Burns and the rest of the Sharks’ excellent defensemen all night and it could be a tough go for the superstar.
The odds are bad but the Sharks are good. It may sounds simple but sometimes simple is all you need, especially for the last game of the night. Take San Jose on the spread and go to sleep easy.