Friday is a quiet night in the NHL with just three games on the card. We’ve got a separate preview up for the Stars-Oilers matchup and below, we’ve got previews and NHL picks for the other two games.
Calgary Flames vs. Minnesota Wild
Odds: Wild -175
The Flames-Wild contest is going to be one heck of an intense affair. The Flames are fighting for their playoff lives as they are right there in the thick of things in terms of the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. However, while they’ve picked up a point in each of their last three games, that does very little for bettors as they’ve lost four of their last six games overall.
As for the Wild, they continue to roll as they’ve won three straight and five of their last six games. That’s just a small part of a greater hot streak as the Wild are 24-6-2 in their last 32 games.
The challenge for the Flames in this spot is that their goaltending has tapered off this month. They’ve allowed 28 goals in their last nine games, which is not very good. That boils down to a 3.11 goals per game average. Meanwhile, Minnesota has allowed just 1.83 goals per game this month, which is the third-best number in the NHL.
This game is tough to handicap as it’s more of a tossup than might be expected as there’s lots on the line for both sides. However, with so much juice here, I’ll look for an over for my NHL picks. The over is 10-2 this season when the Flames are on the road with a total of five or less.
NHL Pick: Flames +150 at Bovada
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Odds: Blackhawks -230
The Chicago Blackhawks have been playing well recently but are coming off a fairly disappointing loss. Overall, they’ve won five of seven but are coming off a loss as a -165 NHL betting favorite on the NHL betting odds in Philadelphia. The Blackhawks have been a tough and costly team to peg all season long as they tend to beat the better teams but also play down to the level of their competition at times, and lose games against teams below .500. They are just 19-15 on the year against teams with a losing record and if you’ve been betting them in this spot, they’ve cost you 8.4 units. That means they are 25-10 against everyone else.
What might make Friday’s matchup with Columbus all the more difficult is that the Blue Jackets are playing their best hockey of the season right now. They’ve won seven of their last eight, which is quite impressive considering they had won just seven of their previous 21.
The Blackhawks dominate this series as they’ve won three straight at home and six of seven meetings overall. This is another tough game to handicap as it could go either way, but I’ll side with Chicago. I’m not going to lay the juice here but I’ll take a small flier on the Blackhawks puck line.
NHL Pick: Blackhawks -1.5 at 5Dimes