Here are Today’s NHL Picks:
Lightning @ Blue Jackets
The toughest games to predict are elimination games. Tampa Bay will have Nikita Kucherov back in the lineup and maybe Victor Hedman as well. The Lightning started to play better later in Game 3 but again, the chances were not good enough. Aside from Game 1, this has been a challenging series to read. Columbus has made it that way with how well they have played in the slot especially. Scoring dropped mostly because of Columbus and their approach to defending Tampa Bay’s attack. Does that relax a bit in Game 4? The sentiment is to expect more offense but not quite enough to go overtly risky.
1u – Under 6.5 Total Goals @ -137
Penguins @ Islanders
When does the Pittsburgh from late in the regular season show up? Give the New York Islanders a ton of credit, they have been great at all the critical points of this series. That is why they are up three games to zero. So many numbers point to New York as they have yielded just six goals in the last five contests. When they start getting timely power play contributions, it just has the look of a series that is over. However, there is just this nagging feeling that Pittsburgh will not go quietly. Pittsburgh needs to play a confident first 20 minutes and play Jack Johnson much less. The key is Sidney Crosby. Crosby has zero points in this series and yet the chances have been there. If he and the Penguins are going to break out, this would be the time.
1u – PIT Penguins Moneyline @ -162
Jets @ Blues
Does playing at home create more problems than it should? It’s a great question. The reality of predictions in the playoffs is a small sample crapshoot. Shifts occur so often like in this Blues series. Did Winnipeg figure out tendencies of Jordan Binnington? It certainly looked like it in Game 3. St. Louis does allow 3.05 goals per game at home overall and Winnipeg yields 3.07 goals per game on the road. This all depends on Winnipeg. If they score 3+ goals, they will win more than likely. If they take an early lead, that will force St. Louis to up their pace which inevitably leads to more goals. That may happen again in Game 4.
1u – Over 5.5 total goals @ +105
Sharks @ Golden Knights
Without Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the San Jose Sharks defense has not been the same. Scoring chances are up by more than a third, play has been more tilted toward the San Jose end, and Martin Jones has been less insulated. Despite the Sharks’ bravado, those numbers tell the story. The starts of periods have been fatal as well. Consider that Vegas scored a goal in the opening minute of each stanza on Sunday night. If Vegas sets that tone again, then this series just got shorter still. There is too much of a lack of confidence in San Jose’s goaltending to even think about trusting them to keep numbers down.
1u – VGK Golden Knights Moneyline @ -150
1u – Over 6.5 Total Goals @ +130
By Chris Wassel