NHL Picks: Oilers vs. Coyotes

David Lawrence

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 12:36 PM GMT

Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 12:36 PM GMT

The Phoenix Coyotes are Mike Smith and backup Jason LaBarbera has flopped badly. So, the team turned to third goaltender Chad Johnson and the team put forth their best defensive effort of the season.

NHL Betting – Oilers vs. Coyotes NHL Picks 

Now the question is whether that was a fluke or the start of a trend. We’ll find out more on Wednesday when the Edmonton Oilers visit. The Coyotes are the prohibitive favorite on the NHL odds boards.

The Edmonton Oilers can win because…

They are coming off their most complete win of the year. While the Oilers did beat Vancouver and Los Angeles earlier this season, they eked out those wins by the skin of their teeth. On Monday, they throttled the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 as goaltender Devan Dubnyk put forth his best performance of the season. He made a season-high 37 saves and should be fairly confidence facing a meager Coyotes offense.

The Oilers special teams have been phenomenal this season as they have scored at least one power play goal in every game. On the whole, they have converted 26.3% of their man-advantage situations. That surely comes in handy.

This team might be young but they are getting a balanced effort from all of their young prospects. Nail Yakupov and Jordan Eberle lead the team with three goals, Taylor Hall leads the way with seven points while Sam Gagner, Justin Schultz and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all have at least four points in the first five games. They have more firepower than Phoenix and if they can find a way to score in five-on-five situations, they should get the win.

The Phoenix Coyotes can win because…

The team finally has a bit of momentum. The Coyotes had only been victorious just once in five games to start the season and that lone win came against Columbus. Suffice to say that people were starting to feel like this team had fallen off after such a nice playoff run last year.

However, the Coyotes finally put it all together with a 4-0 win over Nashville on Monday. Now they’ll take that confidence as they face a young Oilers team that has struggled on the road.

The Coyotes had given up an average of four goals per game through their first five contests but that all changed on Monday. They shutout the Predators as Johnson stopped 21 shots. More than that, the team played their most disciplined game of the year as they were shorthanded just twice. Prior to that, they had been shorthanded at least three times in every game while averaging 4.6 penalty kills per game.

The Oilers have scored just seven even strength goals this season. As long as the Coyotes don’t play stupid, they’ll get the win.

Outlook & NHL Betting Prediction:

The Coyotes dominate this series as they have won five straight and 10 of 11 in this series. The Oilers have won just once of their last seven visits to Phoenix.

Even so, it’s hard to gather what to expect from Chad Johnson. Do you really want to be laying juice with a team whose goaltender probably should be in the AHL?

We’re not sure if Johnson’s performance was a fluke or a trend but we’ll bank on this game being low scoring. The Coyotes know they have to play smart, stellar defense in front of him and not take any penalties. Edmonton has shown they struggle to score in even-strength situations, so if those parameters stay true, the under should be one of your NHL picks.

NHL Picks: Under 5.5 at Bodog

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