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Four Picks and Predictions for Tuesday, Dec 12

12 Dec | news | BY Andrew Berkshire | MIN READ TIME |
Four Picks and Predictions for Tuesday, Dec 12
NHL picks

Andrew Berkshire's picks for Thursday's action include wins for the Rangers and Senators.

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The NHL is a weird league. With young players, NHL coaches rarely have much patience. Frankly NHL coaches rarely have patience with any skill players, unless they’re at a superstar level. Imagine if you will, a rookie who has seen their team outscored 13-2 at even strength while they’re on the ice, and that has happened in under 200 minutes of ice time. Can you imagine any NHL coach still playing that rookie? Well it’s not a rookie, that’s the results for Ryan Reaves on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Without Ryan Reaves, the Leafs are 9th in the NHL in goal differential at 5-vs-5, but with him included that drops to 20th. Can’t imagine any other situation where a team is okay with playing that player, and until they stop, the Leafs are a risky bet.

New York Rangers to beat Toronto Maple Leafs

On the second-half of a back-to-back, the Maple Leafs lost to the Islanders on Monday night, though they likely still had some celebrating to do after captain John Tavares scored his 999th and 1000th career points against his former club. However, they’re now up against one of the top teams in the league, and one of the best home teams in the league.

With 39 points, the Rangers are tied for first in the Eastern Conference, and with a 9-2-0 record, they’re especially tough to beat on home ice. The combination of elite goaltending and high end goal scoring talent makes the Rangers hard to put down, especially if you’re tired and they’re not.

Ottawa Senators to beat Carolina Hurricanes

After a 0-4 stretch through Western Canada, the Carolina Hurricanes had a players only meeting after their last game, but the problems on the road pre-date this run. Now 6-10-0 on the road, the Hurricanes are a completely different team on home ice at 8-2-1. 

The Senators meanwhile, are showing signs that they may be beginning to wake up. Goaltending remains an issue, but with three wins in their last four, the goal scoring is starting to pick up, and they’ve beat some good teams in the process.

Arizona Coyotes to beat Pittsburgh Penguins

It’s interesting how two teams in similar spots in the standings can feel so different based on expectations. If you asked anyone how the Penguins are doing, you’d probably hear things like ‘catastrophic’, ‘demoralized’, ‘failing’, and if you asked about the Coyotes you would hear ‘surprising’, ‘dangerous’, or ‘better than expected’. Only three points separate the two teams, but one is exiting a rebuild, and the other is desperately hanging on to an idea of competitiveness with their aging stars.

Both teams carry losing streaks into this game, but the weight of expectations seems to be holding the Penguins down, and the most frustrating part of all is they’re actually outscoring their opponents, they just score in bunches in games they win, and lose tight games. It also helps when opponents don’t have to worry about the Penguins’ powerplay at all.

Connor McDavid to score 3+ points vs Chicago Blackhawks

Facing off against the new Connor in the NHL in Connor Bedard, McDavid is carrying a nine-game point streak into this one, while the Oilers have won seven straight games. McDavid has scored two or more points in seven of those nine games, with the injury that hampered him earlier in the season seemingly in the rear-view mirror.

With 21 points in his last nine games, McDavid has rocketed his way up the individual scoring standings at the same time the Oilers move up the team standings, now just three points out of a Wild Card spot in the West, with two games in hand. I would wager they’ll be in the playoff picture by the New Year.


Andrew Berkshire

Andrew is a hockey writer specializing in data-driven analysis of the game. He provides NHL betting picks for the Insider. 

Andrew Berkshire

Andrew is a hockey writer specializing in data-driven analysis of the game. He provides NHL betting picks for the Insider.