This is the first Sunday without NFL football since September, but no worries sports fans, there is plenty of NHL action. There are eight games on the schedule, and I’ve got some picks ready to go. Here is what I am going with.
Season Record: 26-19
Tail or fade with caution!
Devils @ Sabres
Pick: Devils ML (+140)
The first game of the day gives us the Devils vs the Sabres in Buffalo. After two periods between these two teams last night, the game was 1-1. Then but both teams scored twice in the third to send it to OT tied at 3. Buffalo ended up winning in the shootout, and I expect another closely contested game in this one. I’m gonna take my chances with the Devils winning. The Devils offense is generating a lot of chances in their last few games, and they outshot their opponents again last night, totaling 34 shots compared to Buffalo’s 31. That is two straight games in which the Devils have put 34 shots, and for a team that is 22nd in shots per game, it seems clear that they are putting a priority on upping that number. After three straight losses, I think they are due to break through. After tallying an assist last night, Jack Hughes now has eight points in eight games, and I think he can spark some big plays on Sunday. Veteran Kyle Palmieri has scored at least 24 goals in each of the last five seasons, but he has yet to light the lamp this season. He is way past due to show up on the scoresheet with a goal, and I think he can generate some solid chances as well. I think Buffalo is still a bit of an inconsistent team, and I’m gonna take my chances rolling with the Devils here. New Jersey has won 12 of their last 17 meetings against the Sabres, and after falling short in a shootout last night, I think they get it done here.
Stars @ Hurricanes
Pick: Over 5.5 (+120)
The Hurricanes handed the Stars their first loss of the season last night, winning by a score of 4-1. The Canes had control for just about the entirety of the game, as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first period before adding two more in the second. Carolina was able to hold a talented Dallas offense to just 11 (!!!) shots on net, and their offense forced Anton Khudobin out of the goal crease after giving up four goals on 16 shots. I like the Over in this game for two reasons. First, I don’t think Dallas will be held to that low of a shot total on back-to-back days. This offense is one of the best in the league, and getting just 11 shots during the entirety of a game is less than ideal. They are capable of a lot more, and after a performance like that, I think they come out with some increased intensity on the offensive end. The second reason I like the Over is because of the goaltending situation for Dallas on Sunday. After a red hot start to the season, we found out that Anton Khudobin is human, and the Carolina offense was able to get four pucks past him. If he starts, I think Carolina has a good chance at giving him more problems. If he doesn’t start, Dallas will turn to rookie Jake Oettinger, who would be making his second career NHL start. Oettinger gave up three goals on 23 shots (.870 SV%) to a less-than-stellar Red Wings offense in his first start, but he still got the win thanks to seven goals from the Stars offense. If he is in net for this one, I think Carolina has the firepower to generate some good looks against the inexperienced netminder. Give me the Over.
Senators @ Oilers
Pick: Under 6.5 (-115)
Did y’all see what Connor McDavid did last night? That man is ridiculous. Take a look:
Not only did he do that, but he potted the game-winning goal in overtime. It was a huge win for this Edmonton team that now sits at 4-6. They will look to take that momentum into this game against the 1-6-1 Senators. This will be Edmonton’s third game in four nights, and after two high-intensity showdowns with the Maple Leafs, and an overtime game last night, they could be a bit tired. McDavid and Draisaitl are incredible, but the Oilers have lacked depth so far this season, and tend to rely on those two to carry the offensive output. For Ottawa, after winning their first game of the season, they have lost seven in a row. They are 28th in goals per game (2.13), 28th in power play percentage (11.8%), and 29th in face-off percentage (44.9%). I don’t have a whole lot of confidence in their goal-scoring abilities in this one. I think the Oilers will be happy to face an offense that is near the bottom of the league after their first four opponents of the season rank in the top-10 in goals per game (Montreal 1st – 4.13 GPG, Winnipeg 5th – 3.63 GPG, Vancouver 7th – 3.55 GPG, and Toronto 10th – 3.30 GPG). The goaltending could be a little shaky, and hopefully Edmonton’s defensive legs aren’t too tired, but I am going with the Under.
Blue Jackets @ Blackhawks
Pick: Blackhawks ML (+125)
Much like Edmonton, this will be Columbus’ third game in four nights. Fatigue could be a factor, especially on the road. The Jackets were able to pick up a win on Friday by a score of 2-1, but I just don’t think they will be able to hold the Blackhawks in-check like that again. Chicago managed to out-shoot the Jackets 32-27, and they won in the face-off dot as well, taking 27 of the draws compared to Columbus’ 20. That win on Friday against the Hawks was just the Jackets’ third win in their last 13 meetings in Chicago. The Jackets are also 1-6 in their last seven games following a win. The Blackhawks have been held to just four total goals in their last three games, but I think they are due for a strong offensive output. The Jackets have a good blue line with Seth Jones and Zach Werenski, but they are still giving up the 4th-most shots in the league with 33.2 per game. I think the chances will be there for the Hawks, and I think they will finally be able to convert enough of them to win the game. Hawks ML.
Best of luck. Cheers.
Title Photo: Nam Y. Huh / AP Photo