Here are the picks I am rolling with for the Friday night NHL action.
Season Record: 39-26
Tail or fade with caution!
Predators @ Panthers
Picks: Over 6 (+100) and Panthers ML (-135)
These two teams played an exciting game last night that saw 11 total goals in a 6-5 Nashville win. It was the Predators’ first road win this season, and they never lead in the game until Filip Forsberg netted the game-winning goal on a breakaway in the overtime period. Forsberg led the way with two goals and three assists, and the Nashville converted on two of their four power play chances. Prior to last night, their offense had really been struggling on the road, but this was just the game they needed to get back on track. They put 41 shots on goal, and are third in shots per game with 33.1. I think they will be able to take that momentum into tonights contest. Chris Driedger will be in net for Florida, and although he has the fourth-best save percentage in the league right now at .937, I think Nashville will come out firing once again and really put him to the test. On the other side, Florida’s offense also exploded last night, as they scored five goals on 36 shots and Jonathan Huberdeau netted his first-career NHL hat-trick. Aleksander Barkov had a strong night as well with a goal and an assist. The Panthers offense has been lights out at home this season, as they have scored five goals in each of their three home games, and after letting last nights game fall through their fingertips, I think they come out firing again in this one. I’ll take the Over.
I also think the Panthers will get the win. Florida was in control of the game up until the last two minutes when Nashville scored two goals to force overtime and then won it in OT. The Panthers had the win within their grasp and let it slip away. I think they will be determined to avenge that loss tonight. Nothing cures a depressing loss like getting back out onto the ice the very next day to get a win. The Predators are still just 1-4 on the road this season, and the one win was a game in which they got outplayed for 57 minutes. I’ll take the Panthers to bounce back tonight.
Sharks @ Ducks
Pick: Ducks ML (-115)
The Sharks have not played in over a week, and the last time they were in action they were getting shutout by the Avalanche 3-0. In two games against Colorado, the Sharks were outscored 10-3 and went 0-for-9 on the power play. It may be another tough offensive night for them, as Anaheim goaltender John Gibson appears to be back on track after two rough starts against the Blues. Gibson gave up three goals on six shots before being pulled in the first game, then gave up four goals and had just 19 saves in another loss in the second game. However, he got things together in his last start, as he allowed just one goal on 21 shots to the Kings and picked up a win. He has a strong .924 SV% and 2.34 GAA this season, and I think he will be solid tonight. The Ducks have also struggled offensively, as their 1.73 goals per game is dead last in the league, but they are coming off their best offensive game of the season, and with San Jose’s offense not being a whole lot better (26th), I think the Ducks get the win tonight at home. They should take care of business against the last-place Sharks.
Kings @ Golden Knights
Picks: Golden Knights Puck Line -1.5 (+100) and Golden Knights Team Total Over 3.5 (-105)
It feels like forever since the Golden Knights have played a game, as their last contest came 10 days ago. They are plenty rested and have the offensive capabilities to really put the pressure on the Kings. Vegas has three players (Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Shea Theodore) averaging a point per game or more so far, and they have scored at least four goals in four of their seven games. They are 5-1-1 so far, and that is with their power play being pretty much non-existent. The Golden Knights are 27th in the league in power play percentage (11.7%), but that is bound to get better as they are just too talented and deep offensively. I would also think that they spent some time during their long layoff working on their power play, so I think they get it turned around. LA goaltender Jonathan Quick has a 3.02 GAA vs the Knights in his career, and he has a less than stellar .885 SV% so far this season. It might be a tough night for him against a Vegas team with fresh legs. Vegas is 4-0-1 at home this season, and 19-7 in their last 26 home games overall. After the long layoff, I think they will be rearing to pick up a convincing win against a team they should be able to handle. I’m taking Vegas on the Puck Line.
I am also taking the Vegas team total of Over 3.5 goals scored. I think their offense is one of the best in the league, and they can score in a lot of different ways. They have a lot of depth, and their power play has to turn around at some point. With the extra time off they will have fresh legs and I think they will be much more energized than the Kings. Quick has struggled against the Knights in the past, and I think Vegas has a good chance of giving him some more problems in this one.
Best of luck. Cheers.
Title Photo: Getty Images