It’s Monday, December 23rd and here at Pucking Hockey we have three free NHL picks now available for today. This is the final day of games until Friday (12/27/13) as the players will go on their Christmas break. Happy holidays everyone, hope you all have an amazing day with your family and friends. Because after-all that’s whats most important in life.
Minnesota Wild vs Philadelphia Flyers Prediction (12/23/13)
The Wild have screwed me in their last two games by losing both on the road. I have always been a Niklas Backstrom fan – heck – I own his jersey. But lately he’s been a slug in between the pipes. Maybe its lack of ice time or maybe it’s because Josh Harding is playing out of his mind pushing Backstrom out-of-town. Whatever it is, I don’t expect him to get it together before the Christmas break. Especially against a Flyers team who has been dominating at home.
The Flyers will try to produce their first nine-game win streak at the Wells Fargo Center since Oct. 7-Nov. 12, 2005.
Rumors have surfaced that the Flyers are interested in Montreal’s Max Pacioretty – as much as the Flyers could use a player like him – don’t expect him to be in Philly any time soon or ever. In the beginning of the season when the team was struggling there were rumors about acquiring Jordan Eberle from Edmonton. Since then, they Flyers have played better. I truly believe this is just a rumor to stir the pot and get certain players to heat up (B. Schenn). Yes, organizations do that to get the players attention.
Philly was embarrassed by Columbus over the weekend in Columbus and watching this team all season I expect them to vent against Minnesota tonight. Steve Mason has been stellar in net for Philly and at home where he’s comfortable it’s hard for me not to back them tonight.
Philadelphia Flyers -130 to win $100
Anaheim Ducks vs Washington Capitals Prediction (12/23/13)
When I first looked at this game I assumed high scoring. I mean, why not? The Ducks average 3.26 goals per game and the Capitals average 3.19 goals per game. But, tonight, I am backing the under 5.5 – here’s why.
The Capitals make a living on the power play, being coached by one of the best power play specialists in the league I would hope so. But let’s not forget who is coaching the Ducks now. Former Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. He is a genius when it comes to killing penalties, at least I believe he is. At this is the first time he returns back to Washington.
The Ducks have a 83.7 penalty killing percentage. The Caps have a 80.1 power play percentage. To me, it’s a wash a non factor.
Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller has won six straight and has not allowed more than two goals in a game in December. He will take on the Capitals in Washington tonight, he is 7-4-2 with 2.93 GAA and .887 SV% on the road. His percentage isn’t too thrilling but not allowing more than 2 goals per game during December is impressive.
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby has been a disappointment this season. Therefor they will be starting Philipp Grubauer, who has been very good. Grubauer stopped 39 of 41 shots in a win over the Hurricanes on Friday. He has been great since being recalled from Hershey. He has calmed the Capitals crease going 4-0-1 with a 2.05 GAA and .940 SV% in four starts and six appearances.
The over’s odds are currently at -120 and everywhere I look I see people playing the over. So I expect the odds settle in around -125ish by game time. Wait until closer to game time to get better odds and play the under 5.5
UNDER 5.5 (+100 odds) to win $100
Winnipeg Jets vs Edmonton Oilers Prediction (12/23/13) – TOP NHL PLAY OF THE DAY
When I imagine these two teams playing one another I automatically assume a high scoring game. Well, high scoring in terms of what Vegas thinks is high scoring (over 5.5) And that’s exactly what I expect to happen tonight.
My least-favorite goaltender will be in net for the Oilers (Bryzgalov) and I don’t trust him. His true colors will soon show if they haven’t already. His last outing he allowed 6 goals on 33 shots. Now Edmonton’s defense isn’t innocent which is what makes this over seem much more reasonable.
Ondrej Pavelec will be in net for the Jets and he’s having issues of his own. As well as the Jets defense. The Jets lost last night 2-1 against Vancouver and I expect them to be a bit loose on the defensive side of the game. The day before Christmas break expect a full-blown offensive attack from both squads. Both the Jets and Oilers have young talent to rack the score up before the third period begins. Pound this one.
OVER 5.5 (-110 odds) to win $500
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