January 23 2014 Expert NHL Picks

January 23 2014 Expert NHL Picks

Pittsburgh Pengins @ New York Islanders: OVER 6 Goals 2.04

The NHL’s 4th ranked offense will meet the Leagues 2nd worst defense tonight in New York. The Pittsburgh Penguins are scoring 3.16 goals per game overall (4th) while the Islanders are allowing 3.19 goals against per game (29th). Whats interesting here is that the Islanders offense has actually been quite effective recently, as the Isles have scored 3.50 goals per game over their last 10 games, which is a significant improvement as they are scoring just 2.71 goals per game overall (15th). The Islanders offense has picked up while the Penguins defense has been slacking, as the Penguins have allowed 3.00 goals against per game over their last 10 games, which is unusual for them as they allow just 2.42 goals against per game overall (10th). The Islanders have been taking plenty of shots on goal as of late, which undoubtedly contributes to the increase in scoring. We’ve seen the Isles take 40 or more shots on goal in 3 of their last 10 games, and 30 or more shots in 4 of them. The Islanders have had 3 games in a row go over the total, (and 7 of their last 10) which includes a 5-3 win over the Rangers, 4-3 win over the Flyers, and a 6-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. In those 3 most recent games there were 25 total goals scored, an average of 8.33 goals per game. Like the Islanders, the Penguins have also had 3 in a row go over the total, and 8 of their last 10. The two recent “unders” for the Penguins were against Calgary and New Jersey, two teams that can’t seem to find the back of the net. The Penguins power play is the best in the League with an impressive 24.7% while the Islanders have the worst penalty kill in the NHL, at 76.0%. This isn’t good news for the Isles as they are taking 11.1 PIM/G while the Penguins are slightly more disciplined with 10.7 PIM/G. The Penguins have had 24 games go over the total this season while 22 stayed under, and the Islanders are 29-22 over/under. The over is 5-0 for Pittsburgh in their last 5 games following a win, and also in their last 5 games when allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game. These two clubs have met 3 times this season, with 2 of 3 games going over the total (both 7 goal totals) while one game remained under the total by just 1 goal in a 3-2 Penguins overtime victory. This game should turn into a battle of the offenses, and if the Islanders want to pull off a victory tonight they will have no choice but to try and out-score the Penguins. We’ll take this over tonight for a plus money price.


Philadelphia Flyers @ Columbus Blue Jackets: OVER 5.5 1.94

The Columbus Blue Jackets have impressed us all, winning 7 games in a row, their most recent victory coming against the LA Kings (5-3). That win over the Kings marked the 3rd straight “over” in a row for the Blue Jackets, and the 7th “over” in their last 10 games. The Columbus offense have put an average of 3.50 goals per game on the board over their last 10 games, which is very impressive, and puts them right up there with some of the best in the NHL when it comes to scoring, as the Blackhawks lead the NHL in scoring with 3.52 goals per game. The Blue Jackets have advanced to 8th overall in scoring, with 2.84 goals per game. The Philadelphia defense has been struggling, allowing 3.20 goals against per game over their last 10 games, and have allowed 4 or more goals against in 50% of their last 10 games. Although the Flyers defense has been lacking as of late, their offense remains strong as the Flyers have scored 3.30 goals per game over their last 10 games which is quite an improvement as they are scoring just 2.67 goals per game overall (17th). The Flyers still take the most penalties of any team in the NHL with 15.9 penalty minutes per game, which might get them into trouble tonight as the Columbus power play has been exceptional latley, as they have converted on 28.1% of their power play opportunities over the last 10 games. The Blue Jackets have had one day to rest since their victory against LA, and on one days rest the Blue Jackets have had 15 games go over the total this season, while just 6 games stayed under on one days rest. The over/under for Columbus is 26-18 this season (59% of their games have gone OVER the total). Ray Emery is the confirmed starter for Philadelphia tonight. Emery is 6-8-1 on the season, with a 2.85 GAA (34th) and a .901 SV% (39th). Sergei Bobrovsky will get the nod tonight for Columbus and is 16-11-2 on the season with a 2.55 GAA (23rd) and a .915 SV% (20th) and has received a sub .900 save percentage in both of his last two starts, allowing 3 goals on 29 shots against LA (.897 SV%), and ironically allowed 3 goals on 29 shots against Buffalo on Saturday. Bobrovsky allowed 3 goals in each contest against two of the NHL’s top 8 worst offenses, LA (23rd) and Buffalo (30th), and must face the hot Flyers offense tonight. We should expect to see lots of goals on the scoreboard tonight in Columbus.