NHL four-fold: Top Tuesday picks to boost your bank balance
On an impressive run of form even without some key players, the Penguins head our best midweek hockey bets...
Pittsburgh Penguins to beat Buffalo Sabres –
The Penguins have had some injury problems lately, but the defending Stanley Cup champions have still been winning even without some of their core players.
They have a record of 7-2-1 from their last ten games, and have scored 3.60 goals per game during that run - an even higher rate than their league-leading 3.46 season average.
The Sabres, meanwhile, are clearly out of the playoff race. Buffalo sit 13th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 3-5-2 from their last 10 games, conceding 3.40 per game over that period.
This match-up doesn’t look good for the Sabres.
They are the second-worst penalty killing team in the league, while Pittsburgh have a very impressive power play percentage of 22.1.
It seems only one of these teams is capable of winning here.
Washington Capitals to beat Calgary Flames –
This should be exciting. The Flames are on a great run of form, but now face an Eastern Conference powerhouse with an outstanding home record of 28-6-2.
Stopping Calgary - who are 12-1-0 from their last 13 - looks a mammoth task for the Caps.
They have an excellent chance to do so, however.
Washington bounced back from their recent struggles with a 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in their last game.
Their top line of Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie looked great in that win, and it's fair to expect them to do damage against the Flames too.
The Caps have scored the third-most goals in the league and conceded the fewest, while ranking inside the top 10 in power-play and penalty-kill percentage.
Calgary have been over-performing for a long time, but they will regress and begin losing again. The Capitals might be just a bit too tough for them.
Florida Panthers to beat Carolina Hurricanes –
These teams are very evenly matched and are tied in the Eastern Conference standings. The Panthers have scored two fewer and conceded one more than the Hurricanes all season.
Their special teams numbers and PDO are also almost identical.
At the moment, though, it looks like the Panthers have a bit more firepower in their line-up.
With Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau both healthy, Florida have two players averaging over 0.75 points per game. Thomas Vanek has also averaged 0.78 points in the nine games he has played for the Panthers.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, don't have a single player over the 0.75 mark. Jeff Skinner is Carolina’s scoring leader with an average of 0.73.
With home-ice advantage against the East's worst road team, the Panthers should get the win.
Minnesota Wild to beat San Jose Sharks –
A risky pick on the surface, perhaps.
The Wild are on a five-game losing streak, but might well turn things around on their home ice.
Four of Minnesota's last five defeats were in road games, and they have a good home record of 23-10-1.
They have also beaten the Sharks in each of this season’s two meetings between these teams.
Minnesota suffered a 4-5 loss against the Jets in their last game even though they rallied back to tie the game from a four-goal deficit. They showed signs in that game that they can turn this run around.
Against the struggling Sharks, who have lost their last three games while scoring just two goals in the process, the Wild should prove they are still a great team.