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The beat goes on with my NHL picks in the New Year as I remain undefeated with a 5-0-1 record thanks to a push and a winner with my most recent selections on Tuesday evening. In reality it should be been another two winners, but I caught some bad luck that resulted in a push for one of the two picks. This took place in the Nashville and Carolina game in which I had the UNDER 5. The score sat at 1-0 after two periods, however four third period tallies ended any thought of an UNDER, but I will take the push as the final score was 3-2 for the Preds. The second pick of OVER 5.5 in the Dallas and Columbus affair was clinched with a third period insurance marker from the Blue Jackets that allowed them to knock off the hometown Stars by a 4-2 count. After a light schedule last night in the NHL, I turn my attention to tonight’s slate that features ten games.
New Jersey Devils @ Boston Bruins
My Pick – BRUINS -.5 IN REGULATION (+100)
Two teams encountering tough seasons so far meet in Beantown tonight as the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins square off for the second of three meetings this season. Boston is coming off of a big overtime victory last night in Pittsburgh, a win that was certainly a breath of fresh air after coming out on the wrong end of three consecutive overtime games. Boston is back in a playoff spot thanks to a Maple Leafs loss last night, and they are now focused on building some momentum and confidence to put a disappointing first half of the season behind them. The Devils are also a team that is looking for something more but they have won their last two games, the first time that has been accomplished since mid-November. Although a regression could have been expected from an aging Boston Bruins team this season, something tells me they are about to shoot up the Eastern Conference standings. Boston still had the depth and veteran leadership that is capable of playing past the regular season, and they face a Devils team that has struggled to score goals this season. New Jersey averages just 2.19 goals per game and over their last five road games they have tallied just eight goals en route to a 0-4-1 record during that stretch. To boot, Tuukka Rask is 4-2-1 with a lifetime goals against average of 1.52 against New Jersey and the veteran has not lost in regulation over his last seven starts. New Jersey’s weak penalty kill of 78.4% is not helping the cause considering they struggle to score goals, and Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic each had a pair of points last night, signaling a breakout could be on the horizon for both players. I like the Bruins to grab some momentum from last night’s tough victory and carry it to the TD Garden for tonight’s tilt against the Devils.
Washington Capitals @ Philadelphia Flyers
My Pick – OVER 5.5 (+100)
A good ol’ fashioned Metropolitan Division rivalry is on tap tonight as the Washington Capitals, fresh off a 6-2 thumping of the Maple Leafs face a Philadelphia Flyers team who most recently beat the Ottawa Senators in a shootout on Tuesday night. Matchups like this usually make for very entertaining hockey as these two teams are very close in proximity and they know each other well enough to despise one another. After last season’s brawl between the two clubs, be sure that there is no love lost here. Besides the animosity, one thing to look at heading in to tonight’s tilt is the elite offensive talent at the top of these rosters. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have been one of the league’s top duos for several years now and this year is no different as Ovechkin is at the 20-goal plateau once again and Backstrom has 27 helpers this season. On the other bench will be a newer form of an elite duo in Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek. Both players are in top ten in scoring and Voracek is surprisingly leading the league in points. The two have combined for 92 points so far this season and are lethal with the man advantage. Speaking of the powerplay, this game features the 4th and 5th most potent powerplays in the league as Washington sits at 23.1% for 4th, and the Flyers are at 22% for 5th. Also take note that these powerplays will be up against the league’s 22nd and 28th rated penalty kills, with Washington being the better of the two with a 79.2% kill, while the Flyers sit with just a 75% success rate. I am looking for an extremely high scoring game tonight despite some solid goaltending from these two teams lately, so expect a typical end to end wide open affair that we often see in the Eastern Conference this evening.