Nashville Predators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
NHL Betting Pick: Pittsburgh -180 odds (January 31st 2017)
The set-up: The 24-17-8 Nashville Predators climbed back into contention in the Central Division on the strength of a 7-1-1 surge into the All-Star break. They get a real test right away on Tuesday, as they open play in Pittsburgh against the Penguins, who are 30-13-5.
Nashville: The Predators have earned a point in five straight games(current 7-1-1 overall) and goaltender Pekka Rinne told the Predators’ website, “I think we’ve turned a corner here a little bit. I feel like throughout the season we’ve been finding consistency and, as of late, with the way we’ve been playing, even with our losses, I feel like we’ve been pretty happy with our games.” Tuesday’s game is the first of seven in 13 days for the Predators, before they reach their five-day bye week. If nothing else, the busy schedule between breaks offers them a chance to try to match their play in the nine games before last weekend. We’ll see.
Pittsburgh: Unlike the Predators, it’s been a streaky January for the Penguins. It’s included a three-game losing streak, a four-game winning streak, and last week before the break, a two-game losing streak.Captain Sidney Crosby owns an NHL-best 28 goals but followed up his 11-goal December with just two here in January. The Pens need Crosby at his best while fellow star center Evgeni Malkin is out. Malkin has a lower-body injury and is expected to miss his second straight game Tuesday and it not skating yet. Malkin sits third in the league with 54 points, one behind Crosby.
The pick: Still, I look at Pittsburgh’s 20-3-2 home record in which the team is averaging 4.00 GPG (while allowing just 2.60) and the Pens are the play.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Anaheim Ducks
NHL Betting Pick: Anaheim -128 odds (January 25th 2017)
CLICK HERE FOR WILL ROGERS’ EXPERT NHL PICKS
The set-up: The 26-15-8 Edmonton Oilers are riding a six-game point streak (5-0-1) and will look to make up ground on the 27-14-9 Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division. The Oilers (60 points) play in Anaheim (63 points) tonight and then in San Jose (64 points) on Thursday.
Edmonton: The surging Oilers continue their three-game road trip tonight, off a 7-3 win in Calgary this past Saturday. Edmonton is now 13-7-5 away from home, after sweeping the season series against its provincial rival for the first time. “To pinpoint certain moments, I look at our record on the road as perhaps one of our biggest achievements,” Edmonton head coach Todd McLellan said. Edmonton center Connor McDavid, The Oilers have a chance to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in 11 years and exceed 40 wins for just the third time since the days of Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Grant Fuhr. McDavid leads the league with 40 assists and 56 points one season after he missed three months of his rookie year because of a broken clavicle.
Anaheim: The Ducks present quite a challenge for the Oilers, as they come into this contest with a 9-2-1 January record, with both regulation losses coming against Western Conference-best Minnesota. Going back to a 5-1 road loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 20, Anaheim has secured points in all but two of its ensuing 16 games. Two of those points came Monday night in a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets, Randy Carlyle’s 300th victory as coach. “It wasn’t the prettiest game we’ve played all year,” Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf told NHL.com. “But we’re finding ways to get points and wins, especially after a tough loss.”
The pick: Both teams are playing well, as are both goalies, Edmonton’s Talbot and Anaheim’s Gibson. However, the Ducks had a five-game winning streak in the series snapped in a 3-2 overtime loss at Edmonton back on Dec. 3. It’s Anaheim’s ‘turn’ tonight and note that Gibson is 4-0-1 with a 1.19 goals-against average against Edmonton.
Ottawa Senators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
NHL Betting Pick: Columbus -170 odds (January 19th 2017)
CLICK HERE FOR WILL ROGERS’ EXPERT NHL BETTING PICKS
The set-up: The 23-15-4 Ottawa Senators are on the road to take on the 30-9-4 Columbus blue Jackets on Thursday night. Ottawa opened a three-game road trip with a 6-4 win over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday and will be looking for its fourth win in five games.Columbus saw its 16-game run end with a shutout loss to the Washington Capitals back on Jan. 5 and has alternated wins and losses over its last six games.
Ottawa: The Senators have won five of their last seven games with Columbus but Ottawa defenseman Dion Phaneuf realizes this is not the same Blue Jackets team that has reached the playoffs only twice in franchise history. “They’re at the top of the standings for a reason,” he said. “They play hard, they play with speed, they play with structure.” The Senators have rediscovered their offense during the recent surge that’s come after a four-game skid from Dec. 27 to Jan. 7. Ottawa has 17 goals over the last four games, with 15 coming in the three wins. “We’ve asked our players to improve since Christmas at driving the net and paying the price around the net and we certainly did that with the goals that we had,” Senators head coach Guy Boucher said of the power surge.
Columbus: Jenner and Dubinsky scored 35 seconds apart late in the first period to erase a one-goal deficit and Columbus went on to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 on Tuesday. Jenner, a 30-goal scorer in 2015-16, has only nine in 43 games. However, he’s scored in each of his last three games and has three in his last three games versus Ottawa. With Jenner starting to come around, a more welcome sight for Columbus was goalie Sergei Bobrovsky’s return after missing three games because of an illness. He finished with 24 saves for his league-leading 27th win. If the Blue Jackets are indeed for real and plan to make a deep playoff run, they will lean on Bobrovsky to lead the way. Bobrovsky may have the inside track to win his second Vezina Trophy (27-6-2 on the season with a 1.97 GAA & .932 save percentage) and if so, his outstanding play at Nationwide Arena might be the key. He has won his last nine home games, allowing only 12 goals for a 1.33 goals-against average and .952 save percentage. Overall at home, he is 16-3-0 with a 1.79 GAA, .940 save percentage.
The pick: Bobrovsky’s back between the pipes and Columbus has won 10 of its last 11 games at Nationwide Arena to improve to 17-4-1 at home this season, outscoring opponents 3.77-to-2.09 GPG. The Blue Jackets are the play.