Picking Today’s NHL Winners: Dec 31 2016

by Adam Mark on December 31, 2016

 

Adam here, filling in for Coretti today. I'll make the intro short and sweet as I'm sure you're here looking for some matchup advice. Born and raised in Vancouver, I bled blue and green until the Canucks hired Torterella (he was the proverbial last straw). Now it's go Pens go. 

 

As for my pick history and percentage, I'm currently 54 – 31 (63.5%) on the year. I make a lot of my picks based on my gut, looking at current streaks, key injuries, and other intangible factors rather than deep diving into stats. 

 

I'll consider my published record 0 – 0 and we'll see how the two stack up after a few weeks. Without further ado, let's get to the picks:

 

Record: 0 – 0

 

Buffalo @ Boston (1pm ET)

 

After a come from behind victory on Thursday to beat the Sabres 4 – 2 on the road, I'm firmly sold that the Bruins will put up another W at home against the bottom dwelling Sabres. If your league counts PMs, I'd be looking for a few more than normal in this game as blood may still be boiling over Carrier's hit to Backe's head. Emotions aside, the Bruins have a history on the side, going 10 – 1 – 2 in their last 13 games against Buffalo. 

 

Pick: Boston – Home Team Victory – H

Confidence Level: 5/5

 

Columbus @ Minnesota (6pm ET)

 

The league's heaviest hitter and tightest defender go toe to toe in Saturday's most anticipated matchup. If you've been under a rock for the past month, the Blue Jackets have put together a 14 game winning streak, with the Wild not far behind with 12. Minnesota is the favourite heading into this matchup, but I'm standing firm with Columbus, and it comes down to goaltending. After allowing 4 goals by an Islanders squad that's in dismay, I'm not confident that Dubnyk will be able to shut the door when called upon. Expect Coyle to continue his hot streak, and look for Dubinsky/Atkinson to get on the board.

 

Pick: Columbus – Visitor Team Victory – V

Confidence Level: 3.5/5

 

Montreal @ Pittsburgh (7pm ET)

 

In what has been one of the most enjoyable matches to watch over the last few years, you may want to take the over in this game if you're not sold on the Pens taking the W. That said, the Canadiens are going to be missing Markov's minutes more than the Pen's will be missing Letang's. Look for Daley to start the rush, and for the Pen's usual suspects to chip in when the time comes. 

 

Pick: Pittsburgh – Home Team Victory – H

Confidence Level: 3/5

 

New York @ Colorado (8pm ET)

 

Colorado seems like it had most of the ingredients but just cant get the recipe down right. As much as I'd like to see Mackinnon and Landeskog light it up (for my fantasy squads) I don't see it happening. Especially against either Ranger netminder (Lundqvist currently expected). The Rangers ability to roll 4 lines will prove to be too much for a struggling Av's team. 

 

Pick: New York – Visitor Team Victory – V

Confidence Level: 4.5/5

 

Arizona @ Calgary (10pm ET)

 

I've been actively betting against the Coyotes all season, and it's done me quite well. As they say, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". With the Yotes winless in their last three, and a Flames team battling hard for a playoff spot, I expect the kids in Calgary to make short work of the visiting Coyotes. Keep your eye on Monahan who's got 14 points in his last 15 games vs Arizona. 

 

Pick: Calgary – Home Team Victory – H

Confidence Level: 5/5

 

Vancouver @ Edmonton (10pm ET)

 

And finally, my hometown squad visits Edmonton to take on one hell of an Oiler's team. While I expect the Oilers to win, I don't see this as being as easy a win as the odds may have you believe. Out of the picks today, this is my least confident, the Canucks have not been horrible as of late and have some some resilience with some come from behind victories. I'll be looking to see how the speed of the game is being dictated, and if McDavid can put on a fireworks show just in time for the New Year out East. 

 

Pick: Edmonton – Home Team Victory – H

Confidence Level: 2.5/5