NHL Hockey Lines, Penguins vs. Rangers Betting Picks

Hockey Betting Lines

Penguins vs. Rangers Picks

By Rock Westfall

Unconditional surrender was submitted by the New York Rangers on February 25 and 26 when they sent Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, and JT Miller packing at the trade deadline.  The white flag was raised with a public admission letter to their fans indicating the pain of a rebuild was to begin.  Playoffs are now a pipe dream for the Broadway Blueshirts and their fans for what could be years to come.  For the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, a post season berth is almost certain.  What is not certain is their goaltending situation as Matt Murray is out indefinitely.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers
Date and Time: Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
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Penguins vs. Rangers TV Coverage: NBCSN “Rivalry Night”

Goal scoring was a problem for the Rangers before the trades and now it’s even worse.  New York ranks 20th in the NHL for goal scoring.  Even more problematic is a backend that lost its best defenseman in McDonagh.  The Rangers are 25th in the NHL for goals against. With three wins in their last ten games those metrics illustrate why they will be hitting the links next month.

The Penguins have been wildly inconsistent but have managed to catch the Washington Capitals for the lead in the Metropolitan Division.  Despite the absence of Murray, the Pens have beat the NHL odds in four of their last five games.  Over the total has paid in seven of their last ten games.

Injury report

Penguins goalie Matt Murray has been out since March 2 and his status remains indefinite.  Murray backstopped both of the Penguins Stanley Cup titles and his absence leaves an incalculable void.  Rangers backup goalie Ondrej Pavelec is out until mid-March with a bad knee.  Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is also battling a bad knee and will be out another couple of weeks for the Blueshirts.

Goalie Report

Filling in for Murray has been 22-year-old rookie Tristan Jarry.  Jarry has a .910 save percentage in 25 games this season.  However, in his last five starts he has shown signs of feeling the extra pressure with a slumping save percentage of .887.  Backup Casey DeSmith has a .919 save percentage in ten games.  Interestingly enough the Rangers did not trade marquee man Henrik Lundqvist at the deadline.  “King Henrik” remains the identity of the team.  The 12-year veteran has played better since the surrender with a save percentage of .927 in his last five starts compared to .916 for the entire season.  Alexander Georgiev is the New York backup with a strong .930 save percentage

Players to Watch

For the Broadway Blueshirts Lundqvist is clearly the man to watch.  He has held strong and not complained as the roster was gutted. He loves the Rangers and living in the Big Apple.  He continues to play with pride and represents the team with pure class.  Right wing Mats Zuccarello carries the offensive burden for the Rangers.  He leads the team in scoring with 12 goals and 34 assists.  Star power is the cache of the Penguins.  Boasting three top forwards in Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel they have an embarrassment of riches.  Defenseman Kris Letang is one of the best in the game.  Center Jake Guentzel and right wing Patric Hornqvist are important contributors, especially on the power play.  Malkin leads Pittsburgh with 39 goals and 48 assists.  Additionally, he owns 13 goals and 20 assists on the power play.

Special Teams

The Penguins have the top power play in the NHL.  The Rangers rank eighth for penalty killing though their unit is much thinner now than it was for most of the season.

Key Stats

Pittsburgh has controlled the cashier’s cage in this head to head series with 12 payouts in their last 16 meetings with the Rangers.  Eight of the last nine games between the Rangers and Pens have gone over the total.

Pittsburgh has left MSG with a sack of cash in seven of their last eight visits.  Just one of the last five games in New York between these teams has gone under the total.

Penguins vs. Rangers Free Picks

While Pittsburgh has been erratic without Murray they remain considerably deeper and more capable.  They are also playing for more.

Penguins vs. Rangers Pick: Bet the Pittsburgh Penguins money line
Penguins vs. Rangers Score Prediction: Penguins 5, Rangers 2

NHL Hockey Predictions, Capitals vs. Ducks Betting Odds

NHL Hockey Predictions

Capitals vs. Ducks Picks (GP)

By Rock Westfall

If the season ended today the Anaheim Ducks would be in the Western Conference playoffs by the skin of their chin.  But they would enter the playoffs with the momentum of six wins in their last eight games.  Momentum has also swung the way of the Washington Capitals.  Fresh off a Stadium Series win over the Toronto Maple Leafs the Caps have won three of their last four.  For the Ducks their success is based on an emphasis on defense and the stellar goaltending tandem of John Gibson and Ryan Miller.  For the Caps its sniper extraordinaire Alex Ovechkin leading the way.  The Ducks host the Caps Tuesday night.

Washington Capitals vs. Anaheim Ducks
Date and Time: Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 10 p.m. ET
Location: Honda Center, Anaheim, California
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Capitals vs. Ducks TV Coverage: NBCSN

Anaheim has a record of 33-21-12 and is one point behind the second place San Jose Sharks in the Pacific Division.  The Ducks are coming off a strong 6-3 home payout over the Chicago Blackhawks.  Home ice has been nice for the Ducks as evidenced by their mark of 18-9-3-2 at Honda Center.  Over the total has paid in just 13 of their 32 home games.

The Caps dominated a good Toronto team in a 5-2 in the Stadium Series game at the US Naval Academy.  Washington leads the Metropolitan Division with a record of 37-21-6-1.  On the road the Caps are 14-12-4-1 with 21 of their 31 away games going over the total.  Only three of the Caps last ten games have gone under the number.

Special Teams

Washington boasts one of the top power plays in the NHL and ranks fifth in the league for that department.  Ovechkin of course is a big reason as to why.  The Russian has 40 goals on the season including 12 power play goals.  Additionally, The Great Eight has 13 power play assists.  Ovechkin’s snap shot from the left wing continues to be deadly.  The Ducks may be able to counter the Caps power play with a strong penalty killing unit that ranks fifth best in the league.  However, Anaheim has a terrible power play of its own that is ranked 24th for efficiency in the NHL.

Players to Watch

Another Russian has emerged as a key asset for the Capitals.  Center Evgeny Kuznetsov has 20 goals and 44 assists on the season.  He also has 18 power play assists in the role of feeding Ovechkin.  Washington defenseman John Carlson plays a complete 200-foot game while bringing 12 goals and 41 assists.

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf may only have nine goals on the season but he also boasts 36 assists with a plus-15.  His leadership is an important intangible.  Fellow Anaheim center Rickard Rakell has a team high 27 goals along with 27 assists.  Defenseman Josh Manson is having a fine season with 5 goals, 23 assists, and a team best plus-23

Scheduling Situation

The Ducks are concluding a four game homestand in this matchup.  They have won two of their first three in that stanza.  For the Caps this matchup opens a three game California road trip that will also include games this week at Los Angeles and San Jose.

Goalie Report

Anaheim’s John Gibson and Ryan Miller have been one of the best goaltending tandems in the NHL.  Both have save percentages of .925.  Miller has posted three shutouts in 23 starts.  For Washington Braden Holtby has slipped a notch with a subpar .908 save percentage.  However, Holtby is capable of more as proven by his career save percentage of .920.  Holtby was stellar with 27 saves on 29 shots in the win over Toronto.  Backup Philipp Grubauer has outplayed Holtby and has posted a save percentage of .922 on the season.

Key Stats

Head to head Washington has dominated this series with six wins in their last eight meetings against the Ducks.  The Caps scored a 3-2 home payout over Anaheim on December 16.  Six of the last nine games between these teams went under the total.

Capitals vs. Ducks Free Picks

Both teams are in good form and it’s not inconceivable that they could meet in the Stanley Cup Final.  In a matchup that looks even Washington should be the better value.

Capitals vs. Ducks Pick: Bet the Washington Capitals money line.
Capitals vs. Ducks Score Prediction: Capitals 4, Ducks 2

 

Los Angeles Kings vs. Vegas Golden Knights Odds, NHL Betting Lines

NHL Odds

Kings vs. Golden Knights Picks

By Rock Westfall

The Los Angeles Kings enjoyed an early sugar rush of a new head coach to bust out of the gate with a very successful start.  John Stevens emphasized a freer flowing offensive approach than predecessor Darryl Sutter, but now the reality of the Kings roster has caught up with them.  Their lack of offense cannot be covered up for and they are back to the reality of what they always were and that is the same one dimensional defensively oriented team that they were under Sutter.  The Vegas Golden Knights are the sensation of the hockey nation and the first-year expansion team has the league’s best record.  Almost as important is that they play a high scoring attack style that entertains.  The Golden Knights host the Kings on Tuesday

Los Angeles Kings vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Date and Time: Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 10:30 p.m. ET
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
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Kings vs. Golden Knights TV Coverage: NBCSN

Los Angeles peaked on January 2 when they were 24-11-5 and looked like a guarantee to make for the playoffs with home ice advantage.  Their collapse since then has been breathtaking.  Gamblers backing LA have drowned in red ink for the last two months.  LA is in an eight team race for the final five Western Conference playoff spots.  Just six points separate those eight clubs in the standings.

There is no doubt that center Jeff Carter’s four month absence due to injury was a factor in the Kings woes.  But the fact that LA was highly profitable for the first month and a half that Carter was out can’t be ignored.  Carter has returned to the lineup, but will it be enough?  Many NHL insiders believe that the Kings offensive woes under Sutter were never really addressed.

The Kings have been under water lately.  In their last eight games they have lost five times.  They have been a decent value on the road with a mark of 19-13-2.  Just 14 of LA’s 34 away games have gone over the total.

In their first season of existence, Vegas is in the President’s Trophy hunt for best regular season record in the NHL.  The Golden Knights remain in great form with six wins in their last eight games.  Home ice has been a big advantage for Vegas.  The Golden Knights are an astounding 24-5-1-1 at T-Mobile Arena.  Vegas paid half a billion dollars to join the NHL.  To its credit the league offered them good players in the expansion draft.

Special Teams

Vegas boasts one of the best power plays in the NHL with a ranking of fifth.  Comparatively the Kings rank a disappointing 17th for the power play.  This matchup’s Power play comparison is indicative of team’s respective strengths and weaknesses.  The fresh approach of Stevens has worn off.  The Kings traditional scoring problems that doomed Sutter remain.  Power play efficiency is a big reason for the Golden Knights amazing success.

Goalie Report

Marc Andre Fleury has had to fill the void for Vegas due to Malcolm Subban’s injury.  Subban is out indefinitely due to an upper body issue.  Fleury has a stellar save percentage of .930 with a 2.13 goals against average.  Maxime Legace has struggled in Subban’s place as backup.  Legace has a weak .872 save percentage and 3.79 goals against average.  Thus, Fleury is carrying a heavy workload.

For the Kings starter Jonathan Quick and backup Darcy Kuemper are among the top tandems in the game.  Quick has a save percentage of .921 with a 2.46 goals against average in 48 games.  Kuemper’s save percentage is an even better .932 with a 2.10 goals against average in 19 games.

Key Stat

Vegas is defying all laws of gravity and expectations for an expansion team.  Beyond being a President’s Trophy contender they also rank second in the NHL for goal scoring.  In comparison slumping Los Angeles is 18th in the league for goals scored.

Kings vs. Golden Knights Free Picks

Vegas scored a 4-2 win in their only previous home game against LA on November 19.  There is no reason to expect anything different in this one.  The Golden Knights have developed a true four line team that relentlessly attacks in wave after wave.  The scoring depth of Vegas cannot be matched by the Kings.

Kings vs. Golden Knights Pick: Bet the Vegas Golden Knights money line
Kings vs. Golden Knights Score Prediction: Golden Knights 5, Kings 2

NHL Hockey Picks, St. Louis Blues vs. Nashville Predators Lines

 NHL Hockey Odds

Blues at Predators Picks

By Jonathan Willis

The Nashville Predators are making a run to finish atop the Western Conference. Nashville has come alive in recent weeks and looks ready to challenge Vegas for the top spot in the conference over the last quarter of the season. Home ice would be massive for Nashville, who showed that they have a big advantage in the Music City on its way to the Stanley Cup Finals last year.

Their opponents, the St. Louis Blues, are fighting for their playoff lives. St. Louis is currently in line for the eighth and final playoff spot, but two teams are just one point behind them. Winning on the road in Nashville is tough, and even getting a point would be big for the Blues.

St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators
Date and Time: Sunday, February 25, 2018, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Bridgestone Arena,Nashville, Tennessee
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Blues at Predators TV Coverage: NBC

The Blues need to right the ship in a hurry. St. Louis has lost four in a row, and although it was a tough stretch of opponents, getting just one point over that span hurt.

St. Louis has been a decent team away from home this season. The Blues are 15-10-4 on the road and 19-10 ATS. Under is 17-12 in their road games this season and 36-24-1 overall.

Nashville has bounced back from two bad home losses to Calgary and Detroit to win three in a row. They hammered San Jose 7-1 in their last game and are one of the NHL’s best home teams. Nashville is 21-7-3 on home ice this season.

Injuries to Watch

The Predators are healthy at just the right time. Nashville has no one listed on the injury report coming into this game.

St. Louis hasn’t been so lucky. Defenseman Joel Edmundson is likely out for the rest of the year with a broken forearm and fellow defenseman Robert Bortuzzo was just placed on injured reserve on Thursday. Left wing Sammy Blais just suffered a concussion and will probably be held out of this game as a precaution, but left wing Vladimir Sobotka will likely be ready to return.

Last Meeting

These two teams met in Nashville two weeks ago, and St. Louis missed a great opportunity to grab two points. The Blues dominated the first two periods of the game. Jay Bouwmeester put St. Louis ahead 1-0 at the end of the first period, and the Blues scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the second period in order to take a commanding 3-0 lead. Vladimir Tarasenko had two assists and the Blues outshot the Predators 16-3 in the second frame.

St. Louis continued to lead 3-0 until there were 11 minutes left in the game. Then, it all fell appart. Calle Jarnkrok cut the lead to two, and then Austin Watson took over. He scored a shorthanded goal with a little over five minutes left and found the net again almost a minute later to knot it at three. The Blues were left reeling following that and fell in overtime after Filip Forsberg scored on a penalty shot.

Player to Watch

Pekka Rinne continues to be one of the top goaltenders in the NHL. Rinne is seeing a lot more shots than usual this year, but he continues to turn them away at a better rate than he has for most of his career. On the season, he is 31-9-4, posting one of the best records in the NHL.

Rinne is 3-0 against St. Louis this season with a .958 save percentage. Although he allowed three two weeks ago against the Blues, he allowed just one goal in his first two games against St. Louis. He’ll again be in net for Nashville on Sunday.

Blues at Predators Free Picks

Nashville will have an additional day of rest with both Friday and Saturday off, and the Predators will not have to travel as their last game was at home. That gives them a pretty big advantage in this one. The Predators will probably be a -140 or -150 favorite, and it’s worth betting them at that price.

Blues at Predators Pick: Take Nashville on the moneyline
Blues at Predators Score Prediction: Predators 3 – Blues 1

Hockey Prediction, Flames at Bruins Betting Lines

NHL Betting Odds

Flames at Bruins Picks

By Jonathan Willis

The Calgary Flames have performed well on their road trip so far, and they are looking to keep it going when they take on the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night. Calgary has won three of its first four during this six-game road trip, and the Flames have covered the spread in each as all games were decided by one goal. The Flames are currently tied with Minnesota for the seventh spot in the Western Conference, and they need to keep winning to feel confident about making the postseason.

Calgary Flames at Boston Bruins
Date and Time: Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 7 p.m. ET
Location: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
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Flames at Bruins TV Coverage: NBCSN

For whatever reason, Calgary has been much better on the road than it has been at home this season. The Flames have been one of the best road teams in the NHL, with a 16-6-5 record away from Calgary. They are making up for a six-game losing streak a little bit ago with this performance.

Under has been a good bet in Calgary’s road games this season. The under is 16-11 overall in their road games.

Boston continues to perform well and has nearly caught Tampa Bay for the top spot in the East at this point. The Bruins are just three points back with a game in hand, and they have been on fire lately. Boston is 8-2 in its last 10 games.

The under has been the right play in Bruins games too this season. Under is 17-12 when Boston is playing in TD Garden.

Injuries to Watch

The only player listed on the injury report for Calgary is Kris Versteeg. Versteeg has been out since the end of November with a lower-body injury but has started skating again. He is still a long way away from returning though.

Both Anders Bjork and Kevan Miller are considered day-to-day with upper-body injuries and may or may not be able to play for this one. They have both been out for a little bit of time, but they should be back relatively soon.

Player to Watch

Although Connor McDavid gets a lot of attention, Johnny Gaudreau is showing that there is another forward in Alberta that can put up amazing numbers. Gaudreau is having a banner year and looks set to crush his career-high in points. With just 14 more points over his last 26 games, he’ll get there.

Gaudreau has been something else in recent weeks. He has scored a point in six straight games and has three goals and six assists overall during that timeframe. Very few teams have been able to shut him out all year as he flusters opponents with his speed.

He may be undersized at 5’9 and 157 pounds, but there’s no denying the impact he has. He can maneuver around bigger defenders and find passing lanes that others can’t with his quickness.

Key Stat

Boston is the best team in the NHL at keeping opponents from scoring. The Bruins are allowing just 2.4 goals per game, and that has made Tuukka Rask a serious contender for another Vezina Trophy. It’s been a banner year for Rask after a slow start, but the defenders are top notch as well and the forwards backcheck and block shots as well as any team.

In fact, it’s such a team effort that they are superb on the penalty kill too. Boston is allowing teams to convert less than 17 percent of their power play chances, placing them fourth in the league.

Flames at Bruins Free Picks

The Flames do have some trouble scoring outside of their first line. While Gaudreau is among the league leaders in points, only one other player has cracked 40 points this season. That means teams with good defensemen can focus on shutting down the top line and making the second and third lines beat them.

For that reason, Boston is going to get the win. The Bruins will keep Gaudreau’s line in check and find the back of the net a few times in a comfortable victory.

Flames at Bruins Pick: Bet on the Bruins to ice the Flames
Flames at Bruins Score Prediction: Bruins4 – Flames 1