Today’s NHL Picks: Pucking Hockey Predictions 10-5-17
Nashville Predators vs Boston Bruins Pick
Goodbye Mike Fisher and hello Nick Bonino. Bonino missed out on the Stanley Cup Finals with a broken leg and had to watch his Penguins win for the 2nd consecutive season. This time, he hopes to get back leading to the first Stanley Cup victory in Nashville history.
It’s expected Bonino will center the second line after singing a four year $16.1 million contract. He centered the third line in Pittsburgh, which means nothing considering he played alongside Crosby and Malkin.
Nashville also added defenseman Alexi Emelin, forward Scott Hartnell (again). However, the Preds lost not just Mike Fisher but also James Neal (sucks), Vernon Fidler and Colin Wilson (big blow). To make matters worse, they will be without Ryan Ellis who will miss FOUR to SIX MONTHS with knee surgery. OUCH!
Boston finally kicked out Claude Julien, bringing in Bruce Cassidy, who led the Bruins to an 18-8-1 run since taking over last season. Although not only did the Bruins need a new look behind the bench, they also needed help up and down the roster. However, they did nothing to improve themselves except for bringing up 19-year-old defenseman Charlie McAvoy. Making matters, worse, they come into this game not so healthy. They will be without Torey Krug, Patrice Bergeron and David Backed.
It’s going to be a hectic night in Boston tonight as the Red Sox begin their quest for the Pennant and the Patriots try to keep their points against under 50.
Pekka Rinne in October -> 29-20, .919, 2.39
vs Bruins -> 4-1, .934, 2.07
Tuukka Rask in October -> 20-17, .917, 2.42
vs Predators -> 3-1, .915, 2.51
Montreal Canadiens vs Buffalo Sabres Pick
There’s a new feel in Buffalo this season, and it started in the offseason when Dan Bylsma got the ax. Now Phil Housley takes over with GM Tim Murray watching above. Housley used to play for the Sabres in the 1980’s as he played with an up-tempo. Something he wants to bring back to the Sabres on-ice play.
Now with Jake Eichel locked up for the next eight years, that up-tempo could emerge. Especially with Evander Kane, Ryan O’Reilly and Sam Reinhart also sharing the same bench. And tightening up the defense was another concern of Murray this offseason. He answered that matter by bringing in Victor Antipin, Nathan Beaulieu, and Marco Scandella.
After another early playoff exit, the Canadiens will once again, try to claim the Atlantic Division title. Through six games versus the Rangers in the first round, the Habs managed only to score 11 goals. The offense needed help, and they did just that, I think?
Alexander Radulov left and had been replaced by a headache, Jonathan Drouin. Not sure if he’s going to help, but the team brings back their core players of Pacioretty, Galchenyuk, Weber, and Price.
Carey Price in October -> 44-22, .922, 2.33
vs Sabres -> 14-12, .932, 2.00
Robin Lehner in October -> 6-4, .930, 2.28
vs Canadiens -> 4-4, .913, 2.95
Colorado Avalanche vs New York Rangers Pick
Is it possible for Colorado to have a season worse than last’s? Is it possible for the Rangers to have a better season that last’s? One finished with 100 points; the other ended with…48. Will the buy out of Dan Girardi to bring in Kevin Shattenkirk pay off? I personally do not like Shattenkirk, so my biased opinion is a big fat NO!
Another mistake the Rangers may have made was dealing Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta to the Arizona Coyotes. And now have Ondrej Pavelec backing up Henrik Lundqvist. With how Lundqvist played last season, showing his age and production decline, Pavelec is not going to help any. The future was Raanta, and in typical New York fashion, they traded him.
One of the main reasons the Avs sucked balls last season was due to the fact goaltender Semyon Varlamov missed the whole season partially. This guy is a game changer; he keeps his team in games and the players’ rally around that. Backing my statement up, he hasn’t had a save percentage lower than .914 since joining Colorado three seasons ago. He’s now healthy.
- New York
Semyon Varlamov in October -> 23-14, .919, 2.63
vs Rangers -> 5-3, .893, 3.21
Henrik Lundqvist in October -> 52-38, .917, 2.47
vs Avalanche -> 5-3, .924, 2.25
Minnesota Wild vs Detroit Red Wings Pick
New barn, new atmosphere? As long as Jeff Blashill is behind the bench, probably not. We shall see though, as the Wings brought in defenseman Trevor Daley, Luke Witkowski, and Martin Frk. The same roster from last season’s first playoff miss since the 90’s returns.
If Detroit is going to get back to the playoffs, they must find ways to close out one-goal games. They were a pathetic 4-12 last season in one-goal games. Can it be done without Andreas Athanasiou, who ended last season with 18 goals?
After finishing last season with 106 points, the Wild found themselves out of the playoffs in the first round. This came after the Wild dominated through March, before falling apart going on a significant slide entering the playoffs. Typically good coaches dig deep and get the players out of the funk; Bruce Boudreau doesn’t have it in him.
Minnesota will be without Zach Parise as he’s recovering from back surgery. Daniel Winnik, Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno, Matt Cullen are the new faces this season. And if you ask me, missing Parise won’t matter with those additions.
Devan Dubnyk in October -> 17-10, .912, 2.56
vs Red Wings -> 4-2, .908, 2.68
Jimmy Howard in October -> 22-12, .925, 2.17
vs Wild -> 13-3, .908, 2.16
Washington Capitals vs Ottawa Senators Pick
I was all over Ottawa last season, here and here. I’ve been all about them since Mr. 1-3-1 took over behind the bench. He, in my opinion, is the most underrated head coach in today’s game. His style is unique, the players respond to it, and he has the type of players to pull the system off.
However, tonight the Senators will skate without the best defenseman in the league, Erik Karlsson. He had ankle surgery in the offseason, in which he played through the playoffs with a broken ankle. Boucher says he is day to day, but Karlsson has been practicing with a non-contact jersey the past two weeks. Then again, it doesn’t matter; this guy doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to hockey.
Here we go, more Stanley Cup talk for the Capitals? Ovechkin is getting older, and his production dropped to an all-time low last season. Here are three things he better have worked on in the offseason.
Let’s go back to Ottawa because I hate the Capitals; they were one goal away from going to the Stanley Cup Finals. They won’t regress this season.
Braden Holtby in October -> 16-11, .915, 2.38
vs Senators -> 6-3, .938, 1.90
Craig Anderson in October -> 35-22, .915, 2.84
vs Capitals -> 11-7, .925, 2.32
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Chicago Blackhawks Pick
It’s crazy once you read it. The Penguins and Blackhawks have combined to win six of the past nine Stanley Cup championships.
In typical fashion, the reigning champs lost in their home opening banner raising game. It was before the Penguins tied the game up scoring two late goals. Despite the loss, they looked the better team over St Louis last night.
It’s going to be difficult for Pittsburgh to win tonight though, considering Corey Crawford is 6-1-0 in seven career games vs. Pitt. Posting an incredible 1.65 goals-against average and .946 save percentage. And after last season’s sweep in the first round, the Hawks will be out for revenge tonight.
Goaltender Matt Murray has never faced the Hawks, and it’s possible we will see former Blackhawk Antti Niemi in net. However, his numbers vs. Chicago are, not good.
Antti Niemi in October -> 30-11, .909, 2.56
vs Blackhawks -> 8-10, .910, 2.85
Corey Crawford in October -> 24-13, .919, 2.22
vs Penguins -> 6-1, .946, 1.65
Arizona Coyotes vs Anaheim Ducks Pick
Antti Raanta in October -> 5-2, .939, 1.73
vs Ducks -> 1-0, .939, 1.45
John Gibson in October -> 5-5, .915, 2.46
vs Coyotes -> 2-1, .935, 1.62
Philadelphia Flyers vs Los Angeles Kings Pick
Michael Neuvirth in October -> 14-11, .911, 2.76
vs Kings -> 1-2, .929, 1.85
Jonathan Quick in October -> 40-14, .925, 2.16
vs Flyers -> 6-3, .938, 1.79
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