The NHL features only three games on Friday night and some teams on less than optimal schedules. However, we soldier on anyway to give our picks on the night. Let’s get to work!
Here are Today’s NHL Picks:
Anaheim Ducks @ Columbus Blue Jackets
- Columbus surprised quite a few when they defeated the Buffalo Sabres in overtime earlier in the week. It was a nice bounce back after getting blown out versus Pittsburgh.
This game has the feeling of being a total trap and there are reasons for both sides. Even Statschecker is a bit unsure about this one. Anaheim is projected to start Ryan Miller while Columbus appears poised to start Joonas Korpisalo. Columbus held Buffalo to 18 shots on goal which may be a blueprint of what they will have to do going forward. Columbus must control the pace of the game. With Anaheim playing last night, that plan could play right into the Blue Jackets’ hands. Josh Anderson is still out for Columbus and that is a bit of a concern, but their offense is more dynamic than it looks. Nick Foligno can chip in at a higher level when needed – like his three-point effort against Buffalo. Columbus should be able to tire out Anaheim much like they did with Buffalo.
1u – Columbus Blue Jackets ML @ -133
Florida Panthers @ Buffalo Sabres
- The Buffalo Sabres face a Florida team that loves to give up shots and goals on the road (well over 3+ goals a game last year).
Two of the more talented power plays clash on Friday night as the Florida Panthers feature a top-five calibre power play and Buffalo has looked way more dynamic on theirs. That is because of the addition of Victor Olofsson. Olofsson and Jack Eichel have formed an instant bond as it seems both know where the other is all the time. The projected goalies are Sergei Bobrovsky for Florida and Carter Hutton for Buffalo. Hutton has been a bit of an adventure this year, but nothing compared to Bobrovsky who has yet to find his form (4.78 goals-against-average). Bobrovsky was pulled at home last start against Carolina. Buffalo must continue to press and that will yield high-danger opportunities on both sides. It is the only way the Sabres can play this game. Their top-six must press Florida’s bottom forwards and defensemen.
1u – Over 6.5 Total Goals @ +130
Buffalo Sabres ML @ +100
New York Islanders @ Carolina Hurricanes
- Carolina steamrolled Florida on their way to starting the season 4-0 and look for more against an Islander team that is defensively not as sound as last year.
This is one game that looks to be the most academic of the night. Carolina is averaging over 37 shots a game (second in the league). They generate a lot of pressure against opposing defenses. Statschecker seems to like Carolina a ton in this game. Carolina has won five of the previous seven matchups – including a sweep in last year’s playoffs. Sergei Varlamov expects to start for the Islanders versus Petr Mrazek for the Hurricanes. New York only has seven goals in three games so far while Carolina has scord 16 times in their four games. Goals allowed are about even, but it is Carolina’s top-nine forwards that carry a distinct advantage here. Carolina gets off to a fast start and runs with it again.
1u – Over 5.5 Total Goals @ -120
Carolina Hurricanes -1.5 @ +150
By Chris Wassel