Furious Thursday NHL Free Picks – Lock Alerts!
Toronto Maple Leafs (1-2-3) vs. Boston Bruins (2-1-3)
Ron Wilson had one of the more perplexing coaching moves when the Leafs were toppled by the Anaheim Ducks in a shootout. Vesa Toskala, the Leaf’s starting net minder, was pulled in favor for Curtis Joseph, who promptly allowed two goals and earned the loss for the Blue Leafs. Will that ruin the already low morale in Toronto?
The Leafs are winless in five games, and are 1-4 SU in their last five road games. Unfortunately, the Leafs are 3-6 SU in their last 9 run-ins with Boston. However, the Bruins aren’t what you would refer to as a “runaway train”. They’re 1-4 SU in the last 5 games and have held the UNDER in 5-of-6 at home.
The Bruins haven’t been scored on at home during a penalty kill, and are eighty overall in power-play percentage, scoring on nearly a quarter of their chances. The Leafs count on Nik Antropov to crash the net, but size is the name of the game on Boston’s defense. Though Coach Ron Wilson’s bum decision on Tuesday won’t deter the already abysmal season in Toronto, the morale in Leaf Nation is too confused and down to expect a betting victory tonight on the road.
NHL Betting Free Pick: Boston -200 (UNDER)
Carolina Hurricanes (3-1-1) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (4-2-1)
The Canes have a lot of proving to do tonight when they visit Pittsburgh. After two losses to LA and Detroit, the Hurricanes hammered Anaheim on the road. They have been pouring in a decent number of shots, but usually give up more shots then they take. Carolina adds 31.00 shots against per game, while only averaging 29.6, though that is slightly inflated since they rifled off 43 shots against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Pittsburgh has gone 19-5 SU in their last 24 games at home and so they’re usually a strong NHL betting play in the Igloo. They’re riding a two game winning streak, outscoring Toronto and Boston 6-2 in the last two games. Carolina is a strong team, but they don’t have firepower to beat Carolina as they stretch this road trip on and on.
NHL Betting Free Pick: Pittsburgh -155 (OVER)
Dallas Stars (2-4-1) vs. New York Islanders (2-3-0)
The Stars got hammered by Martin Brodeur and the Devils and there’s no way they’re going to let that turn in to an sort of ugly streak. Yes, they’re likely tired from traveling on the road, but the Islanders are a horrific team going 5-14 SU in their last 19 games. Making matters more difficult for the Islanders is their 2-9 SU record at home in the last 11 stands.
The Stars are 6-3 SU in their last 9 games when playing the Islanders and have the type of offense that can throw a disjointed squad like New York off kilter. They’re averaging 2.57 goals for, and though their defense has had a few lapses in judgment, are still a strong defensive team overall. The Islanders have been lucky to score 2.20 goals per game, and are allowing 3.20 goals on 32.40 shots per match. Nothing about the Islanders screams “upset”, while everything about the way the Stars react to bad beatings says that they’re pretty upset about the matchup with the Devils last night. Bad news for the Islanders…
NHL Free Pick – Dallas -125
Buffalo Sabres (5-0-1) vs. Minnesota Wild (4-0-0)
The Sabres have only one overtime loss on an otherwise unblemished record, while the Wild have relied on a resilient offensive system, and great coaching, to get them to a 4-0-0 SU record to open the NHL betting season. What’s stunning about Minnesota is their 3.75 goals per game average. Marian Gaborik is nursing a lower-body injury, but is expected to lace up the blades.
Buffalo got some worse news with Craig Rivet, their point-man and key defensive stud being sidelined by knee surgery for at least two weeks. The goalie nod goes in favor of Buffalo here with Ryan Miller in net, but the Sabres don’t boast a bevy of success against the Wild. They are 2-4 SU in their last 6 clashes with Minnesota.
This game has all the makings of a doozy with Minnesota and Buffalo booth boasting the kind of scoring you expect from teams predicated on speed and skating. The glaring tipper in this one is that Buffalo coughed up a loss to Atlanta last week on the road. Though Minnesota got to rape the Southeast Division for all it was worth, the Sabres have to prove that that hiccup on the road wasn’t a fluke.
NHL Free Pick – Minnesota -120
Calgary Flames (2-3-1) vs. Nashville Predators (3-3-0)
The Flames have been absurdly bad this NHL betting season, while Nashville is exactly where you can expect them to be. The Flames boast Kiprusoff and Dion Phaneuf, but are getting blown up for 3.83 goals against on 29.83 shots. Something is wrong with Kippy; he just doesn’t look motivated and driven like he usually is. It doesn’t help morale in Calgary when they’re visiting a team that they’re 7-2-0-1 against in the last 10.
Nashville has been pretty much circulating through the same teams this season. They’ve exchanged wins with Dallas and Columbus, and managed to down the Blackhawks while on the road. At home, they are one of the better teams overall. They are third in the league in scoring with a 4.5 goals per home game average, while their home defense is eighth overall with only 2.0 goals given up per home game.
I’ve never liked betting on the Flames when they’re on the road. They are 0-5 SU in their last 5 road tests, and are 1-7-1 SU in their last 9 visits to Nashville. Whether you know a lot about betting on hockey, you can follow the betting trends to profit on this one tonight.
NHL Free Pick: Nashville -130 (UNDER)
Edmonton Oilers (4-1-0) vs. Colorado Avalanche (3-3-0)
The Oilers are coming off a disappointing loss to Chicago, where they were shutout 3-0. That’s not exactly the way you want to start off a road trip. Now they visit one of the most difficult places to play when they lace up in the Pepsi Center to battle Joe Sakic and the Avalanche. Colorado hasn’t had a stellar season, but they are still 12-5 SU in their last 17 at home. With a 5-1 SU record in their past six meetings with Edmonton, and a 4.00 goals per game average, bet on Colorado to outlast the feisty Oilers and walk away with a solid win.
NHL Free Pick: Colorado -150 (OVER)
Washington Capitals (3-2-1) vs. Phoenix Coyotes (2-3-0)
The Coyotes are doing all the right things heading in to the future, and it’s paying dividends. Their scoring has improved to 2.40 goals per game and Ilya Bryzgalov is evolving in to an elite goalie right before our very eyes. But the Coyotes still give up 30.60 shots per game, which is simply awful news with Alexander Ovechkin and company paying a visit to Arizona.
The Caps are coming off two straight losses to Calgary and New Jersey but are paying a visit to a team that has lost three straight after a brutal road trip out East. The Capitals are the team of the future and are doing everything Phoenix wish it had done three years ago. While management in Phoenix could take a lesson from the brass in Washington, bet on the Capitals teaching their on-ice contingent a lesson or two about the game of hockey.
NHL Free Pick: Washington -105 (UNDER)