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After a holiday break from my NHL picks it is great to be back as the NHL has also resumed action following a few days off around Christmas. I hope all of you had yourselves a great holiday season and I also hope all of you are ready to get back in to the betting fold in the NHL. It is somewhat unusual for so many games on a Monday night, but tonight features 12 games on the NHL schedule and I would love nothing more than to begin my post-Christmas picks with a couple of winners.
Detroit Red Wings @ Boston Bruins
My Pick – RED WINGS (+115)
An Original Six rivalry is in store tonight when the Detroit Red Wings travel to Beantown to take on the Boston Bruins. The Bruins are in an unusual spot as we approach the halfway mark of the regular season as Boston is currently on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. A big reason for that have been injuries to key players such as Zdeno Chara and David Krejci have missed significant time with injuries, and tonight will be no different as Boston will me missing two other key contributors from their lineup. Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron will both be watching from the press box this evening due to undisclosed injuries, which takes Boston’s leading scorer and most feared forward out of the equation. The Red Wings will be looking to win a third straight game overall and improve on their 3-0-1 record in their last four tilts against the Bruins this evening. Detroit has a great compliment of savvy veterans combined with impressive young talent that has them far above pre-season projections in the standings. Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar have been dynamite for Mike Babcock’s team this season as they account for the top scorers on the team behind veteran Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. A large reason for the Wings success this season has been special teams. Detroit’s penalty kill sits at 88.4% on the season compared to Boston’s subpar 79.3%, while their powerplay is an electric 24.3% compared to Boston’s 16.5%. Jimmy Howard’s 2.05 goals against average is among the league’s best and he will be facing a team that averages just 2.53 goals for per game this season. With key players once again on the sidelines for the Bruins and the more impressive Red Wings in town, I like the Wings to take out Boston tonight at the TD Garden and create some more separation from their Original Six rivals.
New York Rangers @ Dallas Stars
My Pick – OVER 5.5 (+100)
The red-hot New York Rangers will carry their longest winning streak in 40 years in to Dallas tonight to take on a Stars team that is in need of improvement in many facets of the game. Although 6-2 over their last eight games, the Stars are one of the league’s worst defensive teams, giving up 3.38 goals per game so far this season. Things might not get any easier for the Stars back end tonight as they face a Rangers team who have won eight in a row and have scored 2.98 goals per game this season. Rick Nash has been one of the league’s best and most consistent scorers this season with 23 goals so far, but he has been out dueled by Tyler Seguin at this point as the former Bruin has 25 goals on the season. Kari Lehtonen was the backbone of the Dallas’ playoff push last season, but he has struggled this year to the tune of a .904 save percentage. His counterpart in tonight’s game is also having a down year as Henrik Lundqvist as just a .914 save percentage to date, below his career average and expectations. Two teams that have forwards contributing at a very high level and subpar goaltending should score enough to get OVER the 5.5 total, so look for plenty of scoring tonight at a nice price in Dallas.