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Monday's Top Expert NHL Picks: Can Penguins Unseat Knights in Vegas?

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Monday's Top Expert NHL Picks: Can Penguins Unseat Knights in Vegas?
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby skates with the puck during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers. Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images via AFP.

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

Our hockey experts select their top Moneyline and Over/Under picks for the Jan. 17 NHL games (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5 star scale).

Monday’s Top Expert NHL Picks

SEE ALSO: Top NHL Prop Picks for Monday

Top NHL Expert ML Picks

Penguins (-105)

The Pittsburgh Penguins have won 12 of their last 14 games, with nine coming on the road. The Penguins have been a strong road team this season. They rank third in score-and-venue-adjusted shot attempts (55.8 CF%), fifth in expected goals (56.4 xGF%), and fifth in goal ratio (59.4%). Additionally, they're 12-8 straight-up on the road this season. Star center Evgeni Malkin recently returned from injury, and the Penguins look a serious contender once again.

Meanwhile, the Vegas Golden Knights are stumbling, with just one win in their last five games, all of which have been at home. The Golden Knights are 12-11 SU on home ice and rank seventh in score-and-venue adjusted shot attempts (53.5 CF%) and expected goals (53.5 xGF%). However, Vegas sits just 14th in goal ratio (52.5 GF%). One issue has been its goaltending, with a .899 five-on-five save percentage on home ice ranking 30th.

That's enough to like the Penguins' chances as slight underdogs in this matchup. - Cullen

Pittsburgh has been hot since returning from the break, posting an impressive 5-2 record on 4.1 goals per game. Malkin returns to join Sidney Crosby - who's producing at a point-per-game clip - and Jake Guentzel, who's is in the midst of a career campaign.

The Penguins rank in the top 10 in Corsi for percentage, expected goals (fifth), and expected goals percentage (fifth), and those underlying numbers are accompanied by real results on the scoreboard. And though the Golden Knights also have excellent underlying numbers, they've been mediocre since the break. Vegas has gone 3-2-2 despite still managing to score 3.43 goals per game. However, as it's been mentioned, scoring isn't the team's issue.

On the other side, Pittsburgh is anchored by All-Star goaltender Tristan Jarry. The Penguins surrender just 2.51 goals per game, good for third in the NHL. For his part, Jarry sports a sterling 2.05 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in 29 appearances. With a 2.91 GAA and .905 SV%, Golden Knights netminder Robin Lehner won't outduel Jarry, and the Penguins will emerge victorious. - Smith

Kings (-115)

I was on the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday in Seattle and I really like them again on Monday in San Jose. Los Angeles is 6-2-0 since the holiday break with the second-highest xGF% (60.15) in the league. Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks are doing well, too, but theirs is slightly lower at 52.99%.

The Kings have won four straight games, including multi-goal victories over the New York Rangers and Penguins. The Sharks lost their last two games, scoring only one goal against Pittsburgh and getting shut out by the Rangers. Los Angeles also has the upper hand in net with Jonathan Quick (11-8-4, 2.38 GAA, .921 SV%) projected to face off against James Reimer (11-7-1, 2.68 GAA, .916 SV%), with the latter recently missing some time for San Jose.

Los Angeles should be a much bigger favorite than -115 here. - Gilbert

Top NHL Expert O/U Picks

Predators-Blues Over 5.5 (-120)

Though the Nashville Predators rank 12th in both all-situations goals for (3.02 per 60 minutes) and all-situations goals against (2.97) on the road this season, they're missing top goal-scorer Filip Forsberg, who is in COVID-19 protocols along with defenseman Mattias Ekholm. Since their December pause in the schedule, the Predators have hit a total of six or more in seven of nine games.

Their opponents, the St. Louis Blues, rank fifth in all-situations goals against (2.31 per 60 minutes) but also fourth in goals for (3.73) on home ice. They've hit a total of six-plus goals in five of seven games since the pause in the schedule.

These are two quality teams, and though they're capable of playing tight defensively, their recent trends have involved more scoring, so lean toward the Over. - Cullen

Flyers-Islanders Under 5.5 (-130)

The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders have both played more games to the Under than the Over this season. Philadelphia is 17-20 to the O/U while New York is 10-19.

That trend has been especially prevalent recently with the Flyers losing three straight games by a score of 3-2. In fact, Philadelphia has gone Under the total in six of its last eight games. Likewise, the Islanders have gone Under 5.5 goals in four straight and five of their last seven.

It also helps that these two poor offenses are strong in the crease. Philadelphia goaltender Carter Hart (7-12-4, 2.94 GAA, .911 SV%) is projected to face Ilya Sorokin (9-7-5, 2.43 GAA, .925 SV%). - Gilbert

In a matchup featuring two of the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL, you have to bet on the Under. Mired in a seven-game losing streak, the Flyers have scored a mere two goals in four straight contests, including the previously mentioned three straight featuring a 3-2 scoreline.

The Islanders haven't been as pathetic of late, but they aren't exactly torching the twine either. New York ranks 30th in the league in goals per game at 2.23, and though it's 3-1 since returning from the break, none of those games have topped five total goals.

There will be a dearth of goals in Long Island, as I'm expecting a scoreline of 3-1 or the Philadelphia special of 3-2. - Smith

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