After a smaller five-game set-up for the NHL on Friday night, the league bounces back with a 13-game slate that begins at 10:00 a.m. PT and ends with the last game beginning at 7:30 p.m. PT. Cheers to a day chockfull of hockey action!
Here are my picks and Matt Layman’s (@MattJLayman) picks for the NHL contests on February 4, 2017…
Washington Capitals (74 pts) @ Montreal Canadiens (67 pts)
Brendan: Capitals win 6-3.
Matt: After beating the Bruins at home on Wednesday, the Caps head back out on the road to face the Habs. Montreal and Washington both hold first place in their respective divisions, and both have a really potent power play and strong goaltending. Ultimately, I think the Canadiens are going to redeem themselves from a recent loss to the Flyers, and beat the Capitals at Bell Centre. Canadiens win 3-2.
Los Angeles Kings (56 pts) @ Philadelphia Flyers (58 pts)
Brendan: Kings win 3-2.
Matt: The Flyers have been a little bit up-and-down, having seen both a 10-game win streak and a five-game losing streak this season. They did just beat the first-place Canadiens, and I think the home ice is going to help Philly here. The west-coast Kings have to play a rare 1 p.m. game and do it in a different time zone than where they came from, so I think the Flyers have a small advantage. Flyers win 3-2.
Winnipeg Jets (54 pts) @ Colorado Avalanche (28 pts)
Brendan: Avalanche win 4-2.
Matt: Colorado has been struggling mightily this season and they own the NHL’s worst record, so it’s hard to pick them in any game. They are at home, but they’ve allowed the second-most goals in the league this year and face a very good Winnipeg offense. Jets win 5-2.
Toronto Maple Leafs (55 pts) @ Boston Bruins (58 pts)
Brendan: Bruins win 4-3 (OT).
Matt: This one could go either way. Boston’s hard-hitting, star-studded roster could take down the quick young Leafs, but the Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron and Tukka Rask — perhaps their two most important players — are both recovering from injuries. The Boston Globe reported today that they’re likely to play tonight, but at what level? I think the Maple Leafs stun the Bruins in this one. Maple Leafs win 4-1.
Ottawa Senators (60 pts) @ Buffalo Sabres (50 pts)
Brendan: Sabres win 2-1.
Matt: The second-place Senators head into Buffalo with a below-average power play and offense, but the Sabres own an abysmal 74 percent PK. Special teams could make the difference in this one, and I expect Ottawa’s defense and goaltending to carry them here. Senators win 3-2.
Anaheim Ducks (65 pts) @ Tampa Bay Lightning (50 pts)
Brendan: Lightning win 3-1.
Matt: The Lightning are in last place in the Atlantic Division right now, and losing Steven Stamkos to an injury earlier in the season doesn’t help matters. Meanwhile, second-place Anaheim has enjoyed reliable goaltending and well-above-average special teams. The Ducks are always a hard team to play, because they have a lot of different weapons they can attack you with. I pick Anaheim here to win on the road. Ducks win 4-2.
Carolina Hurricanes (53 pts) @ New York Islanders (53 pts)
Brendan: Islanders win 3-0.
Matt: The Canes have lost five of their last seven, and the Islanders won seven of their last ten. New York’s definitely a hotter team, they have home ice tonight, and their goalie Thomas Greiss has played quite well this season. But here’s the goal for New York: get ahead early in even-strength situations. The Islanders have one of the worst power plays in the NHL, and Carolina’s PK unit is No. 1 at 88.1 percent (!!!). I still take the Islanders here, but they have to get ahead at even strength. Islanders win 2-1.
New Jersey Devils (52 pts) @ Columbus Blue Jackets (71 pts)
Brendan: Blue Jackets win 4-1.
Matt: 2nd-place Columbus has scored the third-most goals in the NHL this year, has allowed the fourth-fewest, has the No. 1 PP% in the league (24.65) and has home ice tonight. New Jersey is in last place, ranks 27th in the NHL in goals-for, and has lost four of their last six. Need I say more? Blue Jackets win 5-2.
Pittsburgh Penguins (69 pts) @ St. Louis Blues (55 pts)
Brendan: Penguins win 5-3.
Matt: I think this is a total mismatch. Yes, Pittsburgh has been much better than the Blues this year. But St. Louis did a nice job winning 5-1 at home on Wednesday after the organization fired its head coach, while Pittsburgh is playing the second game of a back-to-back tonight. The Pens have struggled on the PK, the Blues have a better-than-average PK and own the second best PP% in the NHL. Pittsburgh has already lost once to the Blues this year, so mark my words: the Blues will down the Pens. Blues win 4-1.
Detroit Red Wings (51 pts) @ Nashville Predators (58 pts)
Brendan: Predators win 3-2 (OT).
Matt: The struggling Red Wings are out on the road after losing five of their last six, dealing with goaltending woes and the worst power play percentage in hockey — an embarrassing 11.2 percent. Nashville has enjoyed decent goaltending, and gets home ice tonight as they sit in third place in the Central Division. Predators win 3-0.
Chicago Blackhawks (67 pts) @ Dallas Stars (52 pts)
Brendan: Blackhawks win 4-2.
Matt: Don’t be fooled… Chicago may have an excellent record and sit in second place, but they have struggled lately and nearly blew a 4-1 lead in Arizona on Thursday. Still, they’re clearly a better team, and that wake-up call at the Coyotes may be enough to get them past the Stars. Blackhawks win 3-1.
Minnesota Wild (71 pts) @ Vancouver Canucks (52 pts)
Brendan: Wild win 3-1.
Matt: The Wild are tied for the second-most points in the NHL (71), and their goaltending has been among the league’s finest. That, combined with middle-of-the-road special teams against an unimpressive Vancouver, should be all they’ll need. Minnesota will edge out the Canucks. Wild win 2-1.
Arizona Coyotes (38 pts) @ San Jose Sharks (68 pts)
Brendan: Sharks win 4-1.
Matt: In the Pacific Division, San Jose is in first place, Arizona is in last place. The Coyotes have a bad PK, the Sharks have won eight of nine, and San Jose is getting home ice for this one. Sharks win 5-3.
- Matt: 9-2 (.818)
- Aaron: 4-2 (.667)
- Richard: 7-4 (.636)
- Tyler: 8-5 (.615)
- Brendan: 9-7 (.563)
- Madalyn: 8-8 (.500)