Picking the winners of Saturday's NHL contests.
Well, I wasn't expecting to be back to soon, but here we are! Since I left you last week, I've improved to 62 – 34 (65%) on the season. That said, the official record got off to a great start going 5 – 1. I couldn't have asked for a better turn out, but man do I have something to live up to. No pressure…
Here's hoping I was able to help some of you out last week, and that the good times keep rolling.
Record: 5 – 1 (83%)
In the first matchup of the day, I'm going with Winnipeg on the road. The Jets have had a great 2017 thus far and I expect it to continue with a win over the Sabres. With 10 goals in the last two games, I don't expect Winnipeg's firepower to just dry up against a weaker opponent. Look for Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrick Laine to lead the charge on the Jet's side, while Kyle Okposo should be able to keep his streak alive.
Pick: Winnipeg – Visitor Team Victory – V
Confidence Level: 3.5/5
Classic. While the Vancouverite in me is struggling with ever recommending the Leafs, how can you not right now? Winners in six of seven, Toronto is coming off a 4-2 victory over New Jersey. While the last period may have cooled things down (0 shots on goal), the Leafs are sure to be recharged for Hockey Night in Canada at home. Montreal always stands a fighting chance, and Alexander Radulov moving to the top line could ignite something, but Toronto is getting scoring from everywhere and I'll be taking the fully loaded Leafs team.
Pick: Toronto – Home Team Victory – H
Confidence Level: 4.5/5
Washington sure came to play on Thursday, and I like them to continue with that momentum going into Ottawa on Saturday. The Capitals were inconsistent in December but I think what's happening now is going to continue to be a great run for the club. Mike Condon's workload has been too much for him lately and I can see the Capital laying it on thick. Take your pick of the Cap's top 6 and Ottawa's top line to contribute, I'll be pulling for Dmitry Orlov to keep up the good work and help me win my week.
Pick: Washington – Visitor Team Victory – V
Confidence Level: 4/5
Looks like I'll be in the minority again this week as I'm going with the Rangers on this one. Something about Columbus' loss on Thursday combined with Torterella has me weary of how the Jackets will respond. I could be playing with fire here, but when I look at New York's league best 14 road victories, it's the Blue Jackets who have all the pressure. Having seen how fragile a Torterella room can be, I think the Rangers depth and consistency should be able to prevail.
Pick: New York – Visitor Team Victory – V
Confidence Level: 3/5
Looking at this game, and how inconsistent both teams have been lately, I'm going with my gut on this one. It's leaning heavily towards St. Louis, and truth be told I can't give any real reason as to why. Yes, I could try and justify this pick with some stats, but nothing is standing out to me and I don't want to lie to you guys. While I may be putting my money where my mouth is on this one, I don't expect you guys to.
Pick: St. Louis – Home Team Victory – H
Confidence Level: 4/5
I should have known Vancouver would have done the opposite of what I called last week. I'd be willing to put money on them losing, had I said they were going to win. Call it curse for having jumped off the bandwagon, but things never seem to go right for me when it comes to the Canucks. With all that in mind though, here I am, picking a game involving them and I'm taking Calgary. While Vancouver just beat the Flames, the shot total was 46-13 in favour of Calgary. I'll be looking for Mikael Backlund, Mark Giodano and Sean Monahan to ignite what has to be a frustrated Flames squad.
Pick: Calgary – Home Team Victory – H
Confidence Level: 3/5
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