Another up and down couple of weeks for the picks, with my record fluctuating back and forth from great Saturdays (5-1 two weeks ago) to rough ones (2-4 last week), I’ve definitely been struggling a bit to find some consistency. Despite that, my overall record this year is sitting at a somewhat respectable 38-34, with a lot of prime chances to improve those numbers today.
Three matinee affairs and a total of 12 games on tap for Saturday’s NHL board, so let’s lock in some picks and make some loot. With playoff races tightening across the league, we should be in store for some quality hockey all day long.
As always, good luck and enjoy!
Side Bets: 17-19
Overall combined: 38-34 (53%)
Montreal Canadiens @ Tampa Bay Lightning – Pick: Lightning
We’ve been down this road before with the Canadiens, as I quite clearly love to take the chance to throw shade at the Habs anytime I possibly can. With that said, and before I bet against them once again, I have to give Montreal credit for being very much in the postseason mix with three quarters of the season in the books.
However, there is no denying the Lightning’s potential as serious Cup contenders, as Tampa continues to separate itself from the rest of the league with wins in seven of its last 10 games, including four in a row. The Lightning also currently sit 15 points clear of the next closest team in the Eastern Conference (the Toronto Maple Leafs), and have clearly been the toast of the entire NHL from the jump.
Add in the fact that Montreal has only one win in its last five games against the Bolts in south Florida, and own only one win in their last seven contests overall, and this is looking like a prime spot to bet on the far superior side. Hammer the Lightning, and don’t be shy about taking them on the puck line.
Columbus Blue Jackets @ Chicago Blackhawks – Pick: Blackhawks
Up until this point, betting against the Blackhawks has been a seriously profitable thing to do. Chicago has toiled at the bottom of the Western Conference standings for a good part of the 2018-19 season, struggling with injuries, coaching changes, and poor play from key pieces.
However, the Hawks have turned it around of late, winning eight of their last 10 while reviving their slim hopes at a playoff spot. On the other hand, Columbus has dealt with its fair share of issues, both on-ice and off. All the Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky contract drama aside, the Jackets have played decently, staying in the mix for one of the three top slots in the Metro Division all year long.
Despite their overall solid play, Columbus has a seriously tough time historically playing in the Windy City, tallying only one win in its last 10 trips to United Center. Columbus is starting to trend in the wrong direction while Chicago is finding its footing.
Blackhawks are the move for my Silver pick of the week.
Vancouver Canucks @ San Jose Sharks – Pick: Sharks
Before getting spanked on home ice by the Washington Capitals two nights ago, the Sharks were riding a solid six-game win streak. And despite the lopsided loss against Ovi and the boys, the Sharks have proved their worth this season as a deep and balanced team poised to go on a long playoff run.
One of those wins on the six-game streak came against these very same Canucks, as San Jose laid a beating on Vancouver to the tune of a seven-goal outburst. In addition, the Canucks have struggled over recent meetings with the Sharks, especially in the tank, dropping their last five games in San Jose.
The Sharks rarely lose back-to-back games, doing so only five times this season, and I expect a big bounce-back showing tonight at home against a re-building Vancouver group. The Sharks round out the week as my Bronze play.
Nashville Predators @ Vegas Golden Knights – Pick: Predators
Ottawa Senators @ Winnipeg Jets – Pick: Jets
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Arizona Coyotes – Pick: Maple Leafs
Flip Livingstone is a former NHL writer for theScore with past experience at such outlets as Postmedia, Hockey Night in Canada, and the CBC. You can follow him on Twitter @FlipLivingstone.
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