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Another night, another winner for my NHL picks. I hit my only pick last night to remain perfect in 2015, and even better is the fact all of the winners were at +105 odds or better. I will say it was nice to catch a break in last night’s win as the Sharks captured a road victory at Winnipeg, but the win didn’t come easy and it was won in dramatic fashion. With the score knotted at 2-2 and the game seemingly headed towards overtime, Marc-Eduard Vlasic scored the game winner with just 2.9 seconds left in regulation to send the Sharks to victory. A very deflating loss for the Jets and a huge road victory for San Jose after a disastrous loss in their previous game. I will take the shot of good luck and move on to tonight’s games as there are ten tilts on the schedule.
Carolina Hurricanes @ Nashville Predators
My Pick – UNDER 5 (+100)
The second and final meeting between the Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators takes place in Music City tonight as the Preds look to avenge an earlier loss to the lowly Hurricanes in Raleigh. There’s a good chance that will indeed happen as the Hurricanes have won just four times this season on the road while the Preds boast a home record of 14-2-1 on the year. However, that’s not to say that the offense has carried them to victory by any means. It has been quite the opposite as it has been defense and goaltending factoring in to the majority of their victories, beginning with the play of Vezina Trophy favorite Pekka Rinne. Rinne carries 25 wins, a 2.00 goals against average and a .929 save percentage into tonight’s game against a team in the Hurricanes who score just 1.94 goals per game on average. It’s possible backup Carter Hutton will get the nod as it seems like a good spot for the young goaltender to get some work, and that’s just fine behind this team’s solid defense, anchored by the best defenseman in the league in the form of Shea Weber. Nashville’s powerplay on home ice sits at just 8.8% on the season and goes up against the lone bright spot for the Hurricanes this season, their penalty kill which sits at 85.8% on the season and has not surrendered a powerplay goal in their last seven games. The Preds give up 2.24 goals per game while the Hurricanes are at a very respectable 2.54, not a bad number for a team that sits dead last in the Eastern Conference. Clearly their issue is scoring goals and goals are very hard to come by in Nashville, particularly from the road team but sometimes from the home team as well. I don’t usually like taking the UNDER with a 5-goal total, however I feel this is a good spot to do so at a fair price.
Columbus Blue Jackets @ Dallas Stars
My Pick – OVER 5.5 (-115)
Another cross-conference tilt is on tap tonight, this time between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Dallas Stars. Dallas will be looking for their fourth consecutive home win while the Blue Jackets are aiming to snap a three-game losing streak at Dallas. The story of the season for the Stars has been their elite ability to score being mitigated by their ability to give up more goals per game than just about every other team in the league. Dallas scores 3.08 goals per game to lead the Western Conference, but their 3.24 goals against per contest has kept them subdued in a very difficult Western Conference. They have scored 13 goals over their last two games on home ice and have scored 24 goals over their last five games, anchored of course by Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Seguin has scored 14 goals in his last 14 home games and leads the league with 26 goals, three of which came in his first game of the season against these same Blue Jackets. Although Columbus has fought off numerous injuries to improve and get themselves within reach of a playoff spot in a less-competitive Eastern Conference, they still give up 3.19 goals per game. However, their powerplay is the second best in the NHL this season at 24.0% and will go up against the league’s 7th worst penalty kill at 78.8%. Their own penalty kill is nothing to write home about either, sitting at just 79.1% and the Blue Jackets have surrendered 9 goals over their last two games. Look for lots of offense tonight in a matchup of two soft defensive squads.