Picking the winners of Saturday's NHL games.
What a ride it’s been the last 2 weeks. I’ve gone 23-1 over that timespan, which is unbelievable, but I’m definitely not complaining. My season record now sits at 148-82 (64%) and my Dobber record is back up to a decent 59% after going 5-1 last Saturday. There were definitely some close calls with a few overtime victories, but luckily everything fell into place and I’m looking forward to today’s games. I’m taking mostly visitors here, with a few teams riding some nice streaks. Here’s hoping our winning ways continue for another day at least.
Record: 32 – 22 (59%)
Looking into this game there’s really not much to speculate on. Boston’s lineup has pretty much been on fire; Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, David Pastrnak and Drew Stafford all have been performing at a PPG pace lately. Philadelphia on the other hand may be scoring goals, but their record hasn’t been reflective of that going 1-1-1 in their last 3 and 5-7-2 in their last 14. The Flyers should put up a good fight but Boston is just the better team going into this game, and I don’t expect that to change once it’s over. I shouldn’t have to tell you to get Marchand in your lineup, but just in case, he put up 5 points the last time these teams met.
Pick: Boston – Home Team Victory – H
Confidence Level: 5/5
Columbus looked a bit sluggish coming out of the gates on Friday, but by the third period they were at full speed. Should they start Saturday’s game the way they finished on Friday, the Blue Jackets should come out on top once again. It may be cliché, but this game really comes down to goaltending. If Sergei Bobrovsky can keep those pucks out, Columbus has more than enough fire power to secure the win. If he can’t, they will most likely need to rely on the PP as they did on Friday (scoring 2 PP goals). Mind you, as Steve mentioned in yesterday’s ramblings, Columbus’ PP has been pretty horrid this year. I’m liking Oliver Bjorkstrand to continue his consistent production, and am taking the Blue Jackets.
Pick: Columbus – Visitor Team Victory – V
Confidence Level: 3.5/5
I can’t have been the only one who would have liked to see Florida and Jagr in the playoffs. Unfortunately that seems like a pipe dream now. Tampa’s recent injury woes (Tyler Johnson, Vladislav Namestnikov and Cedric Paquette) may have some people skeptical on their chances in this game, but the Bolts are still a force to be reckoned with. Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman have both been on a tear and will be leaned upon come puck drop on Saturday. The Panther’s top 6 may very well pot a few, but I’m going with Tampa in this one.
Pick: Tampa Bay – Home Team Victory – H
Confidence Level: 4/5
I was pretty shocked to see Winnipeg as the Vegas favourite in this matchup (-115). Maybe it’s the injuries to Dougie Hamilton and Michael Stone? Regardless, I’m still taking the “underdog” Flames. The Jets will be without Tobias Enstrom, which isn’t good news for whichever goaltender starts on Saturday (both Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson has posted .88 SV%’s over the last 3 games). I don’t expect Winnipeg to go down easy as they will be playing for their playoff lives at home, on Hockey Night in Canada, but the Flames are rolling and it’s going to take one hell of an effort to derail this train. That said, this is my least confident pick of the night.
Pick: Calgary – Visitor Team Victory – V
Confidence Level: 3/5
If you read my column last week, you’ll know I’ve been liking Ottawa since the trade deadline. Colorado has won 2 straight, but they have yet to win 3 straight all season and I don’t see them doing it against the surging Senators on Saturday. Ottawa has proven to be pretty resilient and should have enough tricks in the bag to lock this one up. Even without Mark Stone, Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan, the rest of the Sens have been stepping up. Erik Karlsson has 5 points in the last 3, hell even Jean-Gabriel Pageau has 5 in the last 4. Unless the Colorado some of us expected at the start of the season shows up, Ottawa should be going home quite happy Saturday night.
Pick: Ottawa – Visitor Team Victory – V
Confidence Level: 4.5/5
My old team vs. my “new” team. Had this been a few years ago, I would have been over the moon and would have attended the game. But in today’s NHL I’m just looking for Sidney Crosby, Connor Sheary and Nick Bonino to help me win my fantasy week, and for the Canucks to improve their lottery chances. Go with the Pens on the road in this one, and here’s hoping some of you get some enjoyment out of the game played.
Pick: Pittsburgh – Visitor Team Victory – V
Confidence Level: 5/5
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