Pittsburgh Penguins vs St. Louis Blues Lines, NHL Hockey Picks

NHL Hockey Odds

Penguins at Blues Picks

By Jonathan Willis

The Pittsburgh Penguins finally seem to be rounding into form after middling performances through the first two-thirds of the season. Pittsburgh is now in second place in the Metropolitan Division after a big win over Vegas earlier in the week. A road win against the St. Louis Blues would help them close the distance on the Washington Capitals in the race for the division crown.

St. Louis has ideas of its own though. The Blues have the fourth-best record in the West as of Friday morning, and they have been great at home too.

Pittsburgh Penguins at St. Louis Blues
Date and Time:Sunday, February 11, 2018, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
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Penguins at Blues TV Coverage: NBC

Coming into this one, Pittsburgh has won five of its last six games. However, all of those wins came at home, and the one time the Penguins went on the road, they looked completely listless against the Devils. This team has not been good on the road this season, with a 10-15-2 record away from the Steel City.

Over has been a good bet in Pittsburgh games recently, as the offense has scored at least five goals in four of its last five. Unsurprisingly, all four of those games went over the total.

St. Louis has won seven of its last ten coming into this game, and the Blues have been favored in eight of their last ten overall. Unlike Pittsburgh, the under has been the thing to bet in St. Louis games this season. Seven of the last ten games have gone under the total.

Injuries to Watch

The Penguins are winning games despite a number of injuries that have cut into this team’s depth. Wingers like Colin Sheary, PartricHornqvist, and Tom Kuhnhackl have all been added to the injured reserve list with lower-body injuries, causing Pittsburgh to have to rely on some of its depth down in the AHL. Sheary should return soon, but Hornqvist and Kuhnhackl are expected to be out a while.

St. Louis is relatively clean on the injury front. There are no new injuries listed for the Blues, just the two players that have been out since the pre-season.

Matchup to Watch

There has been a world of difference between the power play units for these two teams this year. Pittsburgh has the best power play in the NHL. The Penguins typically stack Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Phil Kessel together, and that is a tough combination to stop. They are finding the net on 26.8 percent of their opportunities, and that buoyed this team when it struggled earlier in the year.

Meanwhile, St. Louis has one of the worst power plays in the NHL. They score at a little over half the rate that Pittsburgh does, and that has hurt this team in low scoring games. The Blues do have more talent on offense than last season, but they need to find something that works on the power play.

Last Meeting

These two teams opened the season against each other in the Steel City and this will be their second meeting of the year. St. Louis looked excellent on offense in its opener, with Alex Pietrangelo finding the net twice in a 5-4 win.

Pittsburgh looked out of sorts on the defensive front, as its back line looked slow trying to cover the Blues’ speedy wingers. In particular, Olli Maatta was caught out of place a handful of times. It will be interesting to see whether or not the Blues try to take advantage of that again.

Penguins at Blues Free Picks

This is a tough spot for Pittsburgh to win in. The Pens have a tough road game against the Stars on Friday night and then have to make their way up here. St. Louis has been solid at home this year, winning 63.3 percent of their outings in regulation. Look for the Blues to chalk up another win here to stay in the running for a home playoff series.

Penguins at Blues Pick: Lay the chalk with the Blues
Penguins at Blues Score Prediction: Blues 3 – Penguins 2

NHL Hockey Betting Lines, Flyers vs Capitals Predictions

NHL Betting Odds

Flyers at Capitals Picks

By Jonathan Willis

The Washington Capitals are looking to extend their lead in the Metropolitan Division when they take on the Philadelphia Flyers in one of NBC’s mid-week games. Washington is used to being atop the Metropolitan, so that’s not big news, but are well behind both Tampa Bay and Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Caps finished atop the Eastern Conference the past two seasons and would like to make it three in a row.

Philadelphia Flyers at Washington Capitals
Date and Time: Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
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Flyers at Capitals TV Coverage: NBCSN

Philly is hoping that the All-Star Break didn’t kill the team’s momentum. The Flyers had been a team on fire before the break, winning eight of their last 10 games. That vaulted them right into the thick of things in the crowded Metropolitan.

The Flyers have been one of the league’s better road teams this season. Philly has gotten at least a point in 15 of their 23 road games and is 17-6 against the puck line.

Washington welcomed the All-Star Break, as the Capitals had gone on a bit of a skid leading into the long weekend. The Capitals had lost three straight home games, a rarity for them, and will be looking to reestablish their dominance at home. They were 17-5 at home prior to those three losses.

Injuries to Watch

The Flyers are expected to be pretty healthy coming into this game. Brian Elliott was scratched from their last game prior to the All-Star break because of a lower-body injury, but he might be able to play against the Caps in this one. If he can’t go, Michal Neuvirth will be minding the net.

Washington is one of the few teams with no players on the injury report. That’s good news heading into the last third of the season.

Player to Watch

Over the past 13 seasons, Alex Ovechkin has been the face of the Washington Capitals. He has been the lynchpin of the team through thick and thin, and it will be he who the Caps lean on during their stretch run.

Ovechkin just recently hit a couple of milestones that highlight just how great he has been. Right before the All-Star break, he notched his 500th career assist and tallied his 13th straight 30-goal season in a win over Florida.

There is no denying that he is a shoot-first player, but when you are as talented as Ovie, it’s hard not to be. He has led the NHL in shots in 10 of his 12 complete seasons and has been the league’s leader in goals for six seasons. Ovechkin is currently leading the NHL in both shots and goals, and he is looking to crack the 50-goal mark for the eighth time in his career.

Key Stat

Neither Elliott or Neuvirth is a great, or even good, goaltender. That puts the pressure on the defense to be solid and not allow a lot of scoring opportunities, and the Flyers have done just that. Philadelphia is fifth in the NHL in shots allowed, giving up 30.2 shots per game.

The Flyers have two young defensemen that are already playing at an elite level. Ivan Provorov isn’t old enough to legally drink in this country, but he has helped shut down some of the best players in the game. He logs a ton of minutes and has been who Philly has leaned on the most.

Shayne Gostisbehere has been the other defenseman Philly has counted on. Gostisbehere is in his third season in the NHL and is known more for his offensive chops, but has come along as a defender too.

Flyers at Capitals Free Picks

Before the All-Star break, these teams met in our nation’s capital with Philadelphia coming on top 2-1. This time around, Washington will emerge victorious. The Capitals will find success against the Flyers other defensemen, and that will be the difference in this one.

Flyers at Capitals Pick: Back the hometown Capitals on the puck line
Flyers at Capitals Score Prediction: Capitals 3 – Flyers 1