Jimmy’s NHL picks record: 46-58-2
Monday, 12:30 p.m. ET
Free NHL Pick: Under
Best Line Offered:
Take two Vezina Trophy candidates between the pipes in Pekka Rinne and Braden Holtby; a desperate team trying to snap a losing streak in the Nashville Predators and one of the hottest teams in the NHL in the Washington Capitals and a 12:30 p.m. matinee on New Year’s Eve in front of a packed house at the Capital One Arena in the nation’s capital and what do you get? A playoff-like, grinding game between two teams that could meet in the Stanley Cup Final! I’ll take the defending Stanley Cup champs and the under in this one to go into 2019 on a high note!
The champs are rolling into the New Year at 9-1-0 in their last 10 games, riding a 4-game win streak and look poised to repeat. Alex Ovechkin is having a Hart Trophy-like season and Holtby looks great again between the pipes. Washington has battled some big injuries but now they’re getting healthy and they’re going to be tough to beat in 2019!
Meanwhile on the other side, the Predators, a team many, including yours truly, picked to go to the Stanley Cup and win, are looking like anything but contenders as of late. Yes they’ve battled injuries to key players like Renne, P.K. Subban and Viktor Arvidsson, but all three are back in there now and they’re still losing. Nashville is mired in a season-high 5-game losing streak and there’s plenty of questions surrounding this team as 2019 approaches. If this keeps up, and it should in Washington, despite a great performance from Rinne, GM David Poile will be looking to make a season-saving trade soon. This will be a better effort, but not good enough to get off the schnide!
The Predators are 22-17 against the spread and 8-10 on the road. Nashville has scored 114 goals and allowed 101. They’re 18-20-1 on the over/under and 10-8 on the road. The Preds are 14-25 on the puck line and 5-13 on the road. Ryan Johansen leads Nashville in assists with 25 helpers and in points with 31. Filip Forsberg leads the team in goals with 14 lamplighters.
The Capitals are 24-13 against the spread and 12-7 at home. Washington has scored 135 goals and have allowed 106. They’re 19-15-3 on the over/under and 9-8-2 at home. The Caps are 19-18 on the puck line and 8-11 at home. Ovechkin leads the team in goals with 29 lamplighters and points with 45. Nicklas Backstrom leads the team in assists with 33 helpers.
- For the Preds, Rinne is 14-10-0-1 with a 2.22 GAA and .922 save percentage and Juuse Saros is 8-5-0-1 with a 3.05 GAA and .894 save percentage.
- For the Caps, Holtby is 15-8-0-2 with a 2.72 GAA and .915 save percentage. Pheonix Copley is 9-2-0-1 with a 2.61 GAA and .914 save percentage.
- The Predators are healthy.
- For the Capitals, defenseman Matt Niskanen is day-to-day with a head injury; forward Christian Djoos is out indefinitely with a leg injury and defenseman Brooks Orpik could return from a knee injury.
Prediction: Capitals 2 Predators 1