Three days in a row of NHL picks because why not? Having fun with it, let’s keep it going.
Season Record: 9-4
Tail or fade with caution!
Lightning @ Blue Jackets
Pick: Blue Jackets ML (+140)
I’m taking my chances with the Blue Jackets ML today. The Jackets played the Bolts tough in their previous meeting, falling short in overtime 3-2 thanks to a goal from Brayden Point. Columbus has now lost back-to-back overtime games, and three straight one-goal games. I feel like they get over the hump here. Oliver Bjorkstrand has been a big bright spot with five points (2G, 3A) in five games, and although defensemen Zach Werenski and Seth Jones have not produced much offensively so far, it is only a matter of time until they start filling up that score sheet. They did lead a solid defensive effort on Thursday, as Jones led all players in ice time (27:59), and Werenski was not far behind (26:33). They held the high-flying Tampa offense to two goals in 60 minutes, which is impressive, and I think they can build off that performance. This series between these two teams has become a bit of a rivalry given the playoff matchups in the last two seasons, and I think the intensity will be high. Not only that, but John Tortorella is great at lighting a fire in his team, and with all of the PLD drama, I think the Jackets come out firing. I’ll take my chances with the Columbus ML.
Bruins @ Flyers
Picks: Bruins ML (-155) and Over 5.5 (+100)
Well the Bruins finally figured out how to score a five-on-five goal. After not scoring an even strength goal for the first three games, it was looking like the Bruins offensive woes were going to continue after two periods against the Flyers on Thursday. Philadelphia held a 2-0 lead into the third period, but Jack Studnicka finally gave the Bruins their first even strength goal of the season just 57 seconds into the 3rd period. Charlie Coyle added another one just a few minutes later, Nick Ritchie added a power play goal later in the 3rd, and Brandon Carlo gave the Bruins the lead with a few minutes left to go. However, James van Riemsdyk would tie it up and force overtime, but the Bruins went on to win in the shootout. The biggest takeaway I get from that game is that Boston seems to have found their groove offensively. After they got that first even strength goal out of the way, they looked way more comfortable and were firing on all cylinders. In total, they put 43 shots on net towards Carter Hart, and I think they will be able to put up a similar performance tonight. The Bruins had lost back-to-back one-goal games before getting that shootout win, and I think they put together a solid effort for another win tonight.
I also like the Over here. As mentioned, the Bruins offense seems to have figured things out, especially when at even strength. The power play has been solid so far, scoring on five of their 19 chances (26.3%), and now that they have some confidence at even strength, I think they will have a good offensive day. For Philadelphia, they have struggled defensively, as they have allowed 37.4 shots per game. That is second-worst in the league so far. Meanwhile, Boston is averaging the fifth-most shots per game offensively with 33.6. Offensively for Philly, they have the skill to find the back of the net with players like Kevin Hayes (7P, 2G, 5A), Jakub Voracek (6P, 1G, 5A), Travis Konecny (6P, 4G, 2A), James van Riemsdyk (5P, 3G, 2A), and Claude Giroux (4P, 1 G, 3A). I think we will see another exciting game that sees the total go Over.
Kings @ Blues
Pick: Under 5.5 (-105)
The Blues are one of two teams that have yet to score a power play goal this season. They have gone 0-for-14 on the man advantage, and that is somewhat concerning. They are coming off a game in which they scored just one goal and put up just 23 shots against the Sharks. Their power play woes worry me, and I’m not sure how much offense they will be able to generate against a Kings defense that is playing surprisingly well. LA just held the electric Avalanche offense to four goals in two games, and seem to have some confidence on the defensive end. Some of that confidence comes in net with Jonathan Quick. The two-time Stanley Cup winner celebrated his 35th birthday on Thursday by leading the Kings to a win and holding the Avalanche to just two goals with a .923 SV%. I think he will be able to have a strong game again tonight. In the opposite net will be Jordan Binnington. Binnington is coming off a brilliant 34 save effort against the Sharks, allowing just one goal in 60 minutes of play. He was unable to get the win in the shootout, so I think he will come out with a chip on his shoulder in this one against an LA offense that is not too threatening. I think we will see solid goaltending from both sides resulting in an Under.
Best of luck. Cheers.
Title Photo: Dilip Vishwanat / AP