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Friday's Top Expert NHL Picks: Minnesota Looking To Win Third Straight

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Friday's Top Expert NHL Picks: Minnesota Looking To Win Third Straight
Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild enters the rink before the start of the game against the St. Louis Blues during the NHL Winter Classic at Target Field on January 1, 2022. Photo by David Berding/Getty Images via AFP.

Keep reading for our top NHL expert picks for Friday’s schedule.

It’s a light day in the NHL, with just three games scheduled. The Dallas Stars travel to face the red-hot Florida Panthers, and the Minnesota Wild play hosts to the Anaheim Ducks. Later on, the Colorado Avalanche are big favorites against the Arizona Coyotes.

Here are the top moneyline and Over/Under picks for Friday’s NHL games from our hockey experts (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Friday’s Top Expert NHL Picks

SEE ALSO: Top NHL Prop and Parlay Picks

Top NHL Expert ML Picks

Wild (-155)

Although the Anaheim Ducks are still in second place in the Pacific Division, they have been slumping, earning just one regulation win in the past eight games. Ducks goalie John Gibson is still in health and safety protocols and while backup Anthony Stolarz has played well this season, posting a .929 save percentage, he has only started three games on the road this season.

Goaltending is not exactly secured for Minnesota, either, as starter Cam Talbot has been out since January 1. He might be ready to return to action Friday but the most significant return to Minnesota’s lineup will be Kirill Kaprizov, who has been out for a week after suffering an upper-body injury. The Wild have had a lot of games postponed and have some injury issues of their own, contributing to one regulation win in the past seven games spread out over more than a month. Nevertheless, a home game against the slumping Ducks should be favorable for Minnesota. - Cullen

Wild (-155)

The Wild are one of the best teams in the league at home with an 11-3-1 record in Minnesota. If you take out the Winter Classic, they're 11-2-1 in indoor home games. Minnesota has also found their game again recently with back-to-back wins after the Winter Classic for a 2-1-0 record since the break.

On the other hand, the Ducks are 7-7-3 on the road this season and 2-4-1 since the break. Those two wins were both at home: 4-1 against Philadelphia and 4-3 (shootout) against Detroit. The Ducks have been outshot in their last three games, including 36-27 in that win against the Red Wings.

G Anthony Stolarz (6-4-1, 2.29 GAA, .929 SV%) gives the Ducks a numbers advantage in the crease, but Cam Talbot (15-8-1, 3.00 GAA, .909 SV%) is solid enough for the Wild.

The Wild are the better team and have home-ice advantage. They should get the job done tonight. - Gilbert

Panthers (-200)

The Panthers have been completely bulldozing teams since returning from the COVID-19 break.

The Cats are 6-0-1 following the break, outscoring opponents 38-21 while averaging an insane 5.4 goals per game. The potential sustainability of these numbers is somewhat backed by the underlying statistics. Florida leads the NHL in Corsi for percentage and ranks second in both expected goals and expected goals percentage. All-star Jonathan Huberdeau is fifth in the league in scoring with 47 points and has averaged 2 points per game since the break.

Dallas has been good since the break too, posting a 3-1 record while averaging an impressive 3.75 goals per game that's well above their average. One of those wins actually came against the Panthers, a 6-5 shootout win on January 6.

I think things will be different Friday night. Although expected starting goaltenders Jake Oettinger for Dallas and Sergei Bobrovsky for Florida have been solid this season, Florida will ultimately have too much firepower for Oettinger, and the Panthers will get the win. - Smith

Top NHL Expert O/U Picks

Stars-Panthers Under 6.5 (-115)

The Dallas Stars have won five of their past six games overall and their more competitive play has put them back into playoff contention. Five of their past six road games have had a total of five goals or less. The Stars on the season have a 2.88 goals for and against average as a team.

Since emerging from their December schedule pause, the Florida Panthers have been crushing it. They have won six of seven games with the only loss coming at Dallas in a shootout. That game finished with a 6-5 score and the Panthers have hit a total of seven or higher in each of the past seven games. For the season, Florida has gone Over the total in 16 of 22 home games but this is a lofty number with a chance for some regression to hit the Under. - Cullen

Stars-Panthers Over 6.5 (-105)

The Panthers are one of the fastest-paced teams in the league. They have a league-high 65.69 shot attempts per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 play. That has led to a league-high xGF/60 at 3.01 and they're overachieving a bit at 3.39 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 play.

Florida has played seven games since the break and they've all had at least seven total goals. One of those games was a 6-5 shootout loss in Dallas, and we should see another high-scoring affair tonight.

The Panthers should get at least four goals themselves and the Stars can get a few of their own. This should be an easy Over. - Gilbert

Avalanche-Coyotes Over 6.5 (-120)

The Avalanche are absolutely filling the net.

The highest-scoring team in the NHL, Colorado has averaged 4.67 goals per game since returning from the COVID-19 break, and they’ve combined with their opponents to score 7-plus goals five times in six games. They also have five players with 30-plus points and six with double-digit goal totals.

Arizona is one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league but has shown some life lately, racking up 10 goals over their last three games. They’re also one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL, surrendering 3.71 goals per contest.

When you mix Colorado’s explosive offense with Arizona’s inept defense, you have a recipe for a potential goal-fest. I’m expecting a 6-2, 6-3 final score. - Smith

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