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 Picks, Blackhawks at Rangers Betting Lines

NHL Hockey Picks

Blackhawks at Rangers Picks

By Adam Markowitz

We’re getting a good look at the New York Rangers this week. The Rangers were on national television on New Year’s Day, taking on Buffalo in the Winter Classic, and now we will see them square off against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Rangers are in good position for the postseason at this moment, but would like to catch Washington and New Jersey. Meanwhile, Chicago is still struggling to shift into another level and would be out of the playoffs if the season ended today.

Chicago Blackhawks at New York Rangers
Date and Time: Wednesday, January 3, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
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Blackhawks at Rangers TV Coverage: NBCSN

Like most of the NHL, Chicago has been better at home than it has been on the road. However, the Blackhawks are still good at covering the puckline when they are the road team. They are 13-8 ATS on the road this season and have made bettors a little bit of money. That’s despite winning just one game on their latest five-game road trip.

The Rangers have been a solid team to bet on this season and have made you money whether backing them on the moneyline or ATS. They have won 15 of their 24 games at MSG, and have been lighting the lamp with regularity on home ice as well. Picking up an overtime ‘road’ win against Buffalo in the Winter Classic gives them a nice little boost too.

Player to Watch

It’s been a bumpy road for Henrik Lundqvist this season, but he is finally starting to look like ‘The King’ once again. Lundqvist did not have a good October, posting a 3.2 GAA and a save percentage under .900. He has really come alive over the last two months though.

In November, he posted a save percentage of .927, and he put up an even better number of .936 in the month of December. He was lights out against Buffalo in the Winter Classic too, so it looks like he might be off to a strong start in January.

He has been great at home too this season. Lundqvist is 13-4-2 on home ice with a save percentage of .923.

However, he really struggled in his previous outing against Chicago and didn’t’ make it through the game. Lundqvist allowed four goals on 34 shots in a 6-3 loss.

Key Stats

Blackhawks fans keep on waiting for this team to turn the corner. They have a positive goal differential, so they should have a better record then they do.

However, two main things have been holding this team back. The first is an inability to make teams pay by scoring on the power play. Chicago has the third-worst power play in the league, something that’s unfathomable considering the amount of offensive firepower on the roster. The Blackhawks have converted on just 15 percent of their chances this season.

Additionally, Chicago’s defense has allowed far too many shots on net. Opponents are putting 33 pucks on net a night against the Blackhawks, and that has burdened the goaltending. Corey Crawford has played well despite this, but backup Anton Forsberg has not.

Blackhawks at Rangers Free Picks

Patrick Kane is having a great season for the Blackhawks. He is averaging a point a game and has kept this offense respectable despite some down years from the other big names on the roster.Kane has 13 more points than anyone else on the team and needs to start getting more help from his teammates.

The Rangers don’t have a superstar on their roster, but have three solid lines that can give the team production. There are already 14 players who are in double-digits in points for the Rangers this season, and that makes it hard for teams without much depth at defense to battle this team effectively.

Chicago is going to have a tough time against New York’s second- and third-line. Look for each of those lines to net a goal in a Rangers victory.

Blackhawks at Rangers Pick: Grab the Rangers on the puck line
Blackhawks at Rangers Score Prediction: Rangers 3 – Blackhawks 1