Free NHL Picks: Penguins Flounder On The Road, Take Blues -120

Bruce Webster

Monday, January 18, 2016 2:20 PM GMT

Monday, Jan. 18, 2016 2:20 PM GMT

The Pittsburgh Penguins will travel to the Gateway City as they take on the St. Louis Blues in an inter-conference clash Monday night. Who will be our free NHL pick for tonight?

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NHL Pick: Blues -120
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Pittsburgh Penguins Trying to Make Up Ground
Pittsburgh has struggled mightily despite all their talent up front. The Penguins find themselves four points behind the Islanders for the third spot in the Metropolitan Division and one point out of the wild card spots. Pittsburgh is 24th in scoring as they put up 2.4 goals per game. The Penguins are 9th in goals against as they allow 2.4 goals per game. Pittsburgh is 13th in the league with the man advantage as they tally on 18.9 percent of their power play chances. The Penguins are 7th in the league in penalty killing as the team kills off 83.9 percent of their shorthanded situations.

The Penguins took command early and didn’t look back as they hammered the Hurricanes. Olli Maatta opened the scoring with his 5th of the year at 3:54 of the first period on assists from Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel. Conor Sheary had his 2nd of the year at 10:05 on assists from Kevin Porter and Matt Cullen to make it 2-0 after 20 minutes. In the final minute of the second period, Sidney Crosby netted his 13th of the year at 19:23 on the power play on assists from Kessel and Malkin. Pittsburgh took a 3-0 lead to the dressing room after 40 minutes. In the third period, Crosby’s second of the game and 14th of the year, coming off assists from Patric Hornqvist and Ben Lovejoy at 6:55 made the score 4-0. Trevor Daley’s 3rd of the season, assisted by Hornqvist, at 13:36, closed the scoring. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 22 shots for his 16th win and third shutout of the season. He’s expected to get the start in net once again instead of Jeff Zatkoff.

 

St. Louis Blues Look for Fourth Win in Five Games
St. Louis has solidified their hold on third place in the Central Division standings, which would give them a guaranteed playoff berth. The Blues hold a seven point lead over Minnesota to hold third place while they are five points behind first place Chicago. The Blues are 21st in the league in scoring as they post 2.5 goals per game this season. St. Louis currently is 11th in the league in goals against as they allow 2.5 goals a night. The Blues are 6th in the league on the power play as they cash on 20.7 percent of their chances. St. Louis is 3rd in the league in penalty killing as they kill off 85.5 percent of their shorthanded situations.

The Blues managed to get the win despite getting bombarded in the shot department. Robby Fabbri gave the Blues a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes as he scored his 11th of the season at the 34 second mark. Jori Lehtera and Vladimir Tarasenko assisted on that marker. After falling behind 2-1 in the second period, Paul Stastny scored his 4th of the year on assists from Colton Parayko and Patrik Berglund at 11:31 to tie the game at two after 40 minutes. St. Louis was down 3-2 in the third period but trailed for just 44 seconds as Ty Rattie’s 2nd of the year on assists from David Backes and Berglund at 14:35 tied the game once again. The game remained tied through the rest of regulation and went to overtime. In the extra session, Lehtera’s 6th of the year, coming 2:04 in, gave the Blues a victory. Fabbri drew the assist on the winner. Brian Elliott kicked away 46 shots in the victory as the Blues were outshot 49-22 in the game. He’s expected to get the start again with Jake Allen currently on injured reserve and week to week with a lower body injury. Let's review the latest trends & NHL odds first.

 

Pittsburgh Trends
1-4 in their last five overall
1-4 in their last five vs. Western Conference
1-5 in their last six on Monday

St. Louis Trends
48-17 in their last 65 home games against teams with a losing road record

 

Betting Analysis
The Penguins may have bounced back from their recent slump by beating the Hurricanes but one game doesn’t make up for a series of dud performances. St. Louis has been solid of late and the Blues have been very good at keeping pucks out of their net. The Blues have the edge on special teams and are playing at home. St. Louis should be our NHL pick here as Pittsburgh flounders on the road.

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