Just five games on the docket tonight (Golden Knights vs Sharks postponed), but here are the picks I am going with.
Season Record: 29-20
Tail or fade with caution!
Flames @ Jets
Pick: Jets ML (+105)
This will be the first of four games in a row between these two teams, and it is sure to be an eventful week. The Flames were able to completely shutout the Montreal Canadiens two days ago, and it was quite impressive considering the Habs are the highest scoring team in the league averaging 4.13 goals per game. But can the Flames repeat that performance tonight on the road against the Jets? I have my doubts. The Jets are averaging four goals per game at home this season, and they are 4th in the league with 3.63 goals per game overall. Winnipeg has one of the most productive offensive attacks so far, as six players are averaging at least a point per game. I think it will be very tough for Calgary to repeat their impressive defensive showing that they had against the Canadiens in this one against the Jets. Nikolaj Ehlers (11 points) and Mark Scheifele (10 points) are leading the way on the offensive end, and Connor Hellebuyck has been strong in net with a .910 SV% and four wins in six starts. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner lost his last start even though he put together a strong outing with 35 saves on 38 shots (.921 SV%). I think he will be strong again, and I don’t see the Jets losing back-to-back home games. The Jets already beat the Flames at home in their season opener, and in this series, the home team is 14-6 in the last 20 meetings. I’m taking the Jets to get it done.
Bruins @ Capitals
Pick: Over 5.5 (-120)
This is a fascinating matchup between two teams off to great starts. The Bruins have just one defeat in regulation (5-1-1), while the Capitals have set a franchise record by starting the season with a nine-game point streak (6-0-3). These two teams also play fairly contradicting styles, as the Bruins are putting a ton of pucks on net (32.5/game, 5th in the league), but are just 17th in goals per game with 2.88. They really put an emphasis on the defensive end, and try to limit opposing offenses from generating chances. So far, it has worked as they are allowing the fewest shots per game (22.9) and are allowing the second-fewest goals per game (2.13). That style of play will be very interesting to watch against a Washington team that is pretty loaded offensively. The Caps are third in goals per game (3.78), but they are just 27th in shots per game with 27.1. That shows that although they are not necessarily putting pucks on net at the highest clip, they are taking advantage of those opportunities when they can. Washington does not posses the same defensive approach as Boston, as they are 26th in shots against per game with 32.9. I think that will lead things to open up for Boston, who will capitalize on their chances. Pair that with a Washington team that has been held to under three goals just once in their nine game this season, and who have scored 10 goals in their last two games, and I think this one goes Over. Alex Ovechkin is back, and after scoring the OT winner on Saturday, he now has 26 goals and 52 points in his last 52 appearances against Boston. I think Ovi will make more things happen tonight, while Washington’s poor defense leads to a high number of chances for Boston as well. Give me the Over.
Predators @ Lightning
Pick: Lightning ML (-180) and Lightning Puck Line -1.5 (+140)
The Lightning have yet to lose on their home ice this season (3-0), while the Predators have yet to win on the road (0-3). Surprisingly, the Preds had been playing well on the road against the Bolts in recent memory, beating the Lightning on four of the last five occasions. However, the Lightning picked up a 4-3 win against the Predators on Saturday, and I think they will get another win here tonight. Nashville has been outscored 14-5 in their three road games this season, and the Bolts have outscored their opponents 14-6 at home this season. On Saturday, Tampa Bay scored four goals in the second period to take a 4-1 lead into the third, before the Preds battled back and made it a 4-3 game. I don’t think the Lightning were happy with letting them back into the game late, and I think they will want to really close it down tonight. Tampa tallied more shots (33-26), and dominated the face-off dot 34-21, so they have shown they can handle this Nashville team. This Lightning offense can strike so quickly, and I think they are just the more complete and consistent team. Playing at home also helps. I’m taking them on the ML and Puck Line.
Best of luck. Cheers.
Title Photo: Nick Wass / AP