NHL Picks: Saturday's Top Hockey Plays

David Lawrence

Saturday, March 22, 2014 1:12 PM GMT

Saturday, Mar. 22, 2014 1:12 PM GMT

It’s a busy night of action in the NHL – the busiest of the week – with 11 games on the card. Time is ticking on teams to make their moves as the playoffs are less than a month away. Here are our top NHL picks for Saturday night.

Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
An Original Six rivalry will be renewed in this one as the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Montreal Canadiens. The two teams are heading in opposite directions as the Leafs are stumbling – especially without the services of goaltender Jonathan Bernie – while the Habs are on the rise. The Leafs have dropped four of their last five games while Montreal has won three of four. 

The Habs should have a clear edge in net as Carey Price has looked very sharp since returning from his lower body injury. The Leafs better hope they have Bernier back in net (he’s a game-time decision) after head coach Randy Carlyle threw James Reimer under the bus after the latest loss. With the game being a pick, I’ll add the Canadiens to my NHL picks

Pick: Habs -102 at Matchbook

[gameodds]7/259555/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

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Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers
It looks like the Oilers are favored by a little too much here on the NHL odds. They’re laying about -135 or -140 and considering they’re coming off a home loss to the league’s worst team, they probably shouldn’t be costing us that much.

The Flames have actually played pretty well in this series, winning five of their last seven visits to Edmonton and eight of the last 14 meetings overall. Edmonton has not fared well on Saturdays this season as they’ve lost 11 of their 13 games on that night.

The Flames have won nine of their last 14 against teams with a losing record, so the stats point to them having a decent shot to win this game. I’ll take them as a road dog.

Pick: Flames +125 at Pinnacle

[gameodds]7/259559/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

 

Washington Capitals vs. San Jose Sharks
The Capitals will visit the Sharks on Saturday night in a game I expect to be low scoring. The key for the Caps is that they live and die by the power play. It’s clicking right now but they should have a hard time in the Shark Tank against the league’s sixth-best penalty kill. On top of that, they’ll have to deal with a hot goalie as Antti Niemi is 6-1-0 in March with a 1.87 GAA. As a member of the Sharks, he’s 4-0-0 with a 1.23 GAA against Washington.

The under is 16-8 in games when Washington plays a team with a winning record and it’s also 11-4 in the Sharks last 15 matchups against teams above .500. When the Sharks are at home with a total of 5.5, the under is 16-9 this season.

While I like the under for my sports picks, if you’re betting the side, keep in mind that San Jose owns this series. They’ve won 11 straight at home and 21 of the last 24 meetings overall. 

Pick: Under 5.5 at Bodog

[gameodds]7/259560/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

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