NHL picks: 4 best bets for Saturday
Chris Peters makes four money line picks for Saturday night's NHL action.
Flames to beat Red Wings
Coming off a big win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Flames will look to continue their winning ways against a Red Wings team that has lost four straight and nine of their last 11 games. Calgary has been one of the NHL’s top teams for the last few months and is starting to run away with the Pacific Division.
As one of the better teams on home ice this season with a 17-5-5 record, it’s hard to see the red-hot Flames dropping one to the Red Wings right now. So many Calgary players are looking unstoppable, too. Johnny Gaudreau is playing at an MVP level and is coming off of a hat trick against the Lightning. He’s on a seven-game point streak during which he has collected 13 points. He has 77 points over the entire season.
The Red Wings have been outscored 23-10 over their last four games in regulation, while the Flames have scored no fewer than three goals in their last seven games. It’s hard to pick any other result than a Flames win and I would consider a Flames puckline play for a little extra value.
Canadiens to beat Kraken
The Habs have had a few days to regroup after a hard-fought loss to the Vancouver Canucks last week, while the Kraken have been in a downward spiral that seems to be spinning out of control. Seattle has lost 11 of its last 12 games including a 4-3 loss to Ottawa in overtime on Thursday.
Montreal has played way better under new coach Martin St. Louis. They just seem to compete more and don’t give up as many easy opportunities. Decent goaltending and a refreshed scoring attack have helped them start looking like a competitive hockey team again. Over their last nine games, they’ve scored three or more goals eight times. That was a far less common occurrence earlier this season.
The Kraken, meanwhile, look like a traditional expansion team in that they’re just not in a lot of the games they’re playing. Goaltending has been abysmal and they have had a hard time holding onto leads. Seattle has been particularly poor on the road, having lost 23 of their 30 games.
Montreal isn’t all the way back from how bad they looked earlier this season, but they’re in a far better position than Seattle right now and I’d definitely ride the Habs at home.
Blackhawks to beat Senators
I wish I could tell you I had a clue how to read the Senators this season, but you really never know what you’re going to get out of them. They’ve won two straight, beating St. Louis on the road and earning an overtime win over the Kraken on Thursday. Prior to that, they lost five straight and seven of their previous eight. Competing seems to come and go for this team.
The same can be said in a lot of ways for Chicago. They don’t lose as much as Ottawa, but the Blackhawks certainly have not been consistent by any stretch. They lost a close game to Boston on Thursday, but have struggled on the road in general with a 10-15-4 record.
There’s a chance that both of these teams will be trading away pieces from their roster before the forthcoming NHL trade deadline. That’s more just a reminder to keep an eye on rosters moving forward. Some players on the trade block might not play or might be dealt before games, so this time of year it always helps to keep an extra eye on the transactions page before you make your wagers.
As far as this game, though, these are two teams in a similar spot in the standings and going nowhere. Chicago has been getting a good amount of production out of Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane of late and I trust them a little more to score than I do for the Sens top players. This one could go either way, but I’ll give the edge to Chicago.
Lightning to beat Oilers
The Bolts have lost each of their first two games in Western Canada on this current six-game road trip, losing 7-4 to Winnipeg and 4-1 to Calgary. Tampa Bay hasn’t had a lot of opportunity to breathe as they’re about to play their seventh game through the 12 days of March.
This game actually sets up decently well for Edmonton, which has had a few days off and will be on home ice. However, I don’t trust the Oilers’ goaltending or ability to defend against a high-level team like the Lightning. There are just too many weapons for Tampa Bay to exploit the weaknesses on the Edmonton roster.
Additionally, the Bolts have only had two prior losing streaks of three games. Having lost their last two, I’d have to think Tampa views this game in Edmonton as an opportunity to get back on track.
I’m tempted by the value of Edmonton as a home underdog, especially with Tampa stumbling. But the Lightning don’t stay down for long, so I’ll go with the two-time defending champs in this one.