First off, apologies for the lack of picks last week, I was on the tail-end of a two-day Buckley’s binge and was not in the proper state to deliver you the trusted predictions that you’ve all become used to. With that said, I’m back in the saddle this week and ready to get this loot train moving once again.
With the trade deadline now firmly in the rear view, making picks should be in theory a little bit easier now that the roster shuffling of the past two weeks is over. Ten games are on today’s board, but with Friday being quite a busy night with an eight-game slate, be weary of the back-to-back letdown as well as the potential for a backup netminder to be manning the blue paint.
Stick to the following picks and good luck!
Side Bets: 17-22
Overall combined: 40-38 (51%)
New Jersey Devils @ Boston Bruins – Pick: Bruins
The Boston Bruins continue to be one of the hottest teams in the league of late with a sensational 9-0-1 record in their last 10 games, so riding the hot hand here is looking like the move.
Aside from rolling four balanced offensive lines that have been bolstered by the additions of Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle, the Bruins’ strength lies between the pipes, where Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak have been lights out all year long. Rask has been extra stellar over his last 16 games, earning a point in 16 consecutive decisions while racking up a ridiculous 13-0-3 record.
As for the disappointing Devils, the club continues to struggle for consistency in a season that was supposed to be their coming-out party. New Jersey has managed only eight wins away from home and has only one win in its last seven playing in Beantown.
Bruins continue to roll in this one with an easy W over the Devils. My Gold pick of the week.
Buffalo Sabres @ Toronto Maple Leafs – Pick: Maple Leafs
Let’s not sugarcoat this: things are not going well for the Maple Leafs right now. Aside from dealing with injuries to some key pieces in Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner and Travis Dermott, Toronto has struggled to play a complete 60 minutes for seemingly the past month, amassing a very pedestrian 5-4-1 record.
Questionable coaching decisions and a lack of physicality has seen the Buds get pushed around at both ends of the rink on a nightly basis. However, with that said, the Leafs still comfortably hold the third and final Atlantic Division playoff spot with a five-point lead on the Montreal Canadiens, so things aren’t all bad for Mike Babcock’s men.
Thankfully, Toronto has Buffalo in town tonight, a team they shellacked 5-3 earlier in the week. Sprinkle in the fact that the Sabres have struggled overall recently and against the Leafs, and I am feeling the bounce-back spot for a Toronto club coming off an embarrassing 6-1 defeat to the New York Islanders two nights back.
Lock in the Leafs as my Silver play.
Carolina Hurricanes @ Florida Panthers – Pick: Hurricanes
I really cannot tell you what it is, specifically, that I really like about this Carolina team, but I can’t help myself from wagering on this speedy, young and talented group on the regular. The Hurricanes are red-hot, winning four straight and eight of their last 10 games to climb into the final playoff slot in the Metro Division, so why not ride the hot hand once again?
Third-year Finnish forward Sebastian Aho continues to lead the way for Carolina with a sensational offensive season that has seen the budding superstar rack up 26 goals and 46 assists (72 points) in only 64 games. I see his sensational offensive play continue against a Panthers’ squad that’s given up the seventh-most goals allowed this season at 211.
If Carolina can get Aho going early, I think the Canes take this one easily. The Hurricanes are my Bronze pick of the week.
Ottawa Senators @ Tampa Bay Lightning – Pick: Lightning
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Montreal Canadiens – Pick: Penguins
Minnesota Wild @ Calgary Flames – Pick: Flames
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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