Nonetheless, we move on to Thursday, which is a busy day in the NHL with eight games. We’ve singled out the Los Angeles Kings-Minnesota Wild preview in an article of its own and we’ve got three more picks for you down below.
Record: 2-3 (+5)
New York Rangers @ Phoenix Coyotes
I’m willing to take a shot with the New York Rangers with my NHL picks in this spot. I see the hiring of new head coach Alain Vigneault as being a real positive for this team. More specifically, it’s the firing of John Tortorella that should help. This is still a solid defensive team with excellent goaltending but Tortorella has a tendency of putting the shackles on the offense. This team should be able to skate more freely and produce better offensive results.
With the NHL odds basically showing a PICK, I’ll trust them in their first road game of the year.
Pick: Rangers -104 at Pinnacle
Vancouver Canucks @ San Jose Sharks
I see the Canucks as offering some value here as a road underdog but instead, I’ll go with the under. The Sharks are a known commodity in my eyes: they have a veteran team that won’t be a Stanley Cup contender and they know that. That means that they could either be very streaky as they were last season or they could go into the tank. While some people might disagree with that, this is a veteran team that knows they can’t get over the hump. The head coach is on the hot seat and if they can’t pull a miracle this season, they might have to look at rebuilding or retooling.
Even though I’m piling onto the Sharks a lot here, they’ve actually won seven-straight over the Canucks and goaltender Antti Niemi has posted a 1.76 GAA in that time. I’ll expect him to lead us to an under.
Pick: Under 5 +110 at Bookmaker
Nashville Predators @ St. Louis Blues
The Predators fielded one of the worst offensive units last season and I’m not sure that they’ve improved very much. They scored a league-low 111 goals in the lockout-shortened season and had a defenseman (Shea Weber) lead them in scoring. They added some forwards like Matt Hendricks, Viktor Stalberg and Eric Nystrom, but nobody that really moves the needle.
Both of these squads are built around a steady defense and stellar goaltending. Preds netminder Pekka Rinne fielded a 1.97 GAA in four games against the Blues last season and Nashville only scored 2.08 goals per game on the road (24th in the NHL). Those are two key factors in my under play.
On top of that, six of the last nine meetings in St. Louis have gone under the number. We are faced with a low total in this one but I still think it’s the best choice to add to your sports picks.
Pick: Under 5 +103 at Pinnacle