Today’s NHL pick below is brought to you by Brent. Kevin has hired Brent to provide daily free picks here at NHLPredictions.org. If you’re looking for Kevin’s NHL picks please click on the “NHL Member’s Picks” link on the right hand side.
Well it’s always nice to be on the receiving end of some good luck for a change as despite a solid track record this season it seems we have been dealt much more bad luck than good thus far. Last night’s tilt between the Rangers and Penguins went right down to the wire, but that was due to the fact that the Penguins scored two goals within a minute late in the third period to tie the game at 3-3 and send it in to extra time. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, the Rangers came out on top in the extra frame on Kevin Klein’s overtime winner. I’m not sure what is more impressive though. The Penguins furious rally late to tie it, or Klein scoring an overtime winner after getting part of his ear ripped off on a high stick early in the third! Yes, that happened and if you don’t believe me, google it! Nonetheless I am very happy with a winner last night at +130, and there are plenty of games on the slate tonight so I will get a couple picks out to keep on rolling.
Philadelphia Flyers @ Columbus Blue Jackets
My Pick – FLYERS (+105)
Two teams that are enduring tough times this season will meet for the third time this year after the two clubs split their previous two meetings. This will be their first head-to-head clash this season in Columbus, and both teams are looking to keep the momentum they have recently discovered. Columbus has won three straight games after back-to-back victories over the Florida Panthers and a surprising upset on the road over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Flyers snapped their nine-game road losing streak with an afternoon victory over the L.A. Kings on Saturday, and they look to conclude a difficult five-game road trip with a victory tonight in Columbus. This tilt contains some extra meaning for a couple members of the Flyers as Goaltender Steve Mason is making his first start where his NHL career began since being traded to the Flyers in April of 2013. Jake Voracek, who already has 33 points this season (3rd in the NHL) is also playing against his old team tonight. Philadelphia no doubt picked up some much needed confidence after a victory at the Staples Center, a very difficult place for visiting teams to be victorious. They will have another great opportunity for a road victory tonight against a Blue Jackets team that is just 4-8-1 on home ice this season and they also give up a whopping 3.35 goals per game. Columbus scores just 2.31 goals per game, and they have scored just 28 goals in 13 games on home ice, good for just 2.15 per game. Philly’s 23.3% clip on the powerplay ranks near the top of the league, and Voracek, Claude Giroux, and Wayne Simmonds are the reasons. Simmonds scored his 11th goal on the year and his third in his last two games against the Kings, showing signs of heating up after a rather slow pace to start the season. I’m looking for that trio to lead by example this evening and perhaps start a climb back up the standings just like they did last season. Take the Flyers on the road tonight as underdogs.
Washington Capitals @ Tampa Bay Lightning
My Pick – OVER 5.5 (-110)
Here we go again. Another Tampa game on home ice, and another OVER in the near future. The Lightning were held to just one goal in a 3-1 loss to Columbus at the St. Pete Times Forum on Saturday night. Tampa has lost back-to-back home games now, however odds are that streak does not continue much longer for the highest scoring team in the league. Their 3.46 goals per game are the best in the league and Tampa Bay boasts 11 skaters with ten or more points on the season. They have five players with 20 or more points, showing just how deep and potent this offense really is. I have listed off the many contributions from several different players in past write-ups, but it’s worthy of mention again here. The seasons that Tyler Johnson (28 points in 28 games), Nikita Kucherov (23 points in 28 games) and Ryan Callahan (11 goals and 22 points in 23 games) are having are just phenomenal. Those three are just examples of the complementary talent on this team behind superstar Steven Stamkos. Speaking of superstars, let’s not forget about Alex Ovechkin this evening either. Ovi has 12 goals on the season and his partner in crime Nicklas Backstrom is having another standard, point-per-game campaign. Youngsters Marcus Johansson and Andre Burakovsky have provided some depth scoring just like some of the Tampa Bay young guns. Washington has been lethal with the man advantage this year, connecting on 28.2% of their opportunities on the powerplay but killing only 75.3% of their penalties. That could allow a Tampa Bay powerplay that clicks at a 22.7% clip to make a difference tonight. With all the firepower in tonight’s game it’s a no-brainer to go with the OVER 5.5 from Tampa Bay, Florida.