Well, it’s pretty much impossible for my NHL gambling picks to be colder than they are right now, so you are left with two options: fade because I am so cold, or tail because I am bound to get hot sooner or later (right?). We shall see, but here is what I am going with tonight.
Season Record: 43-40
As always, tail or fade with caution!
Blackhawks @ Stars
Pick: Stars ML (-145) and Puck Line (+160)
These two teams played a 2-1 overtime game on Sunday that saw the Blackhawks walk away with the win. With a 2.92 GAA on the season, the Blackhawks were able to hold the Stars to just one goal on 32 shots. Dallas is scoring the third-most goals per game in the league (3.67), and I am not sure if Chicago can repeat a performance like that. The Stars have now lost two games in a row, and have dropped four of five after starting 4-0. I think their sense of urgency will be high in order to turn things around and avoid a three-game skid. Not only that, but Anton Khudobin will be back in net after missing Sunday’s contest due to being late for Saturday’s practice. Rookie Jake Oettinger was great serving as his replacement on Sunday, but Khudobin is still a strong goaltender with a 3-2-1 record, 2.51 GAA, and .909 SV%. The Stars offense is boasting the second-best power play at 36.8% so far, and their goal differential of +11 is much stronger than Chicago’s -1. I also give them the edge defensively as they are giving up the fifth-fewest goals per game (2.44). Add in home-ice advantage and some urgency to prevent a three-game losing streak and I think we see the Stars come out on top tonight. I also think the Puck Line is worth a look given the fact that when the Stars do win, three out of five times this season it has been by three or more goals. They have scored at least six goals three times already, and I think they are due for a big offensive game. I don’t see Chicago’s offense hanging with them, so I am taking the Stars Puck Line -1.5 as well.
Lightning @ Predators
Pick: Predators ML (+140)
I was on the Predators last night, and they made it interesting as it was a 2-1 game before the Lightning grabbed two empty-netters in the final minutes. The Preds had their chances, but just couldn’t get that big goal they needed. Overall, I thought Nashville did a good job of containing the Lighting offense, as they held them to two goals on 33 shots before the empty-netters. They will need to bring that defensive focus again tonight, and the good news is that Juuse Saros will be back in net, who is 3-0 with a 1.30 GAA at home this season. He also has a 2.72 GAA against Tampa in his career, while Lightning start Andrei Vasilevskiy has a 2.90 GAA agains the Preds in his career, and a record of 3-4 against them. The Preds are a much better team at home (4-2) than they are on the road (1-5), and after now taking three losses to the Bolts already this season, they will be fired up to end that streak on their home ice. Tampa is 6-0 at home, and now 2-2 SU on the road, and winning back-to-back games in Nashville is tough, so I will take my chances with the Predators ML.
Sharks @ Kings
Pick: Sharks ML (-120)
The Sharks have done very well against the Kings in recent memory, winning seven of the last 10 matchups overall, and 11 of the last 13 on the road in Los Angeles. They have not played each other yet this season, but I still think that trend will continue here. The Kings have lost four straight games, and find themselves in last place in the West with just three wins and eight points. The Sharks have not done a whole lot better, as they have nine points and are just ahead of them, but goaltender Martin Jones has been in net for all four of their wins and he will be in-between the pipes tonight. The goalie situation for the Kings is pretty much a mess, as Jonathan Quick has a save percentage below .870, and backup Calvin Peterson is 1-4. San Jose has the third-best PK so far (86.5%), and I think they get a much-needed win against a team they know they need to handle.
Ducks @ Golden Knights
Pick: Golden Knights Puck Line -1.5 (+110)
Vegas has shown that they can handle this Anaheim team by winning both matchups so far this season, and outscoring them 7-3 in those two games. The last matchup went to overtime, and the Knights won 2-1, but I think they will be able to have a much stronger outing tonight. For starters, this Vegas team is one of the most complete teams in the league. They are 6th in goals per game (3.56), 4th in goals against per game (2.33), 4th in shots per game (32.4), and 3rd in shots against per game (25.2). They are controlling things on both ends of the ice, and have a very strong 7-1-1 record to show for it. The only stat that stands out as not being where this Vegas team wants it to be is the power play. Vegas is 21st in power play percentage (15.6%), but with all of their talent and depth offensively, I think that will go up. On the other side, Anaheim is the lowest-scoring team in the league (1.85) and they are 28th in shots per game (27). Captain Ryan Getzlaf has missed the last two games and will be a game-time decision tonight, and if he cannot go, that leaves the top line of Adam Henrique, Troy Terry, and Derek Grant. Those three players have a combined three goals on the season, and that is just not going to cut it against a team that can score like Vegas can. The Golden Knights have won six in a row at home against the Ducks, and I think they make it seven tonight with a win and cover the Puck Line as well. Vegas -1.5.
Best of luck. Cheers.
Title Photo: Brandon Magnus / NHL / Getty Images