November 17th 2013 Free NHL Picks

The Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators appeared to have switched roles last night as the Blackhawks allowed a season high 7 goals against them in a shocking loss to one of the worst offensive teams in the NHL. Before last night, the Predators were struggling to score at all (in their last four games before last night the Predators were outscored 17-2 and had a 2.11 G/G average). Khabibulin made the start for the Blackhawks but only had a 15:23 stay on the ice allowing 2 goals in 8 shots for a .750 SV%. They switched to Crawford, he finished the other 44:27 and allowed 5 goals on 22 shots for a .773 SV%. The Sabres couldn’t hold on until the end of regulation against the Leafs.

St.Louis Blues @ Washington Capitals: OVER 5.5 Goals 2.06

NOTE:  This game starts at 6 PM EST as opposed to the usual 7PM.

The St.Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, and San Jose Sharks all share the first place spot (tied) in the NHL for goals per game at 3.50 G/G. The Washington Capitals aren’t first place but they aren’t far behind with 3.00 goals per game which is 8th overall. The St.Louis Blues are 1st overall on the power play, with a 25.8 PP%. The 2nd place power play leader is the Washington Capitals. They have a 24.4 PP%. Both of these teams take loads of penalties, as the Blues are currently taking 17.2 PIM/G and the Capitals aren’t far behind with 14.4 PIM/G. Sure, both the Blues and Capitals are doing a good job on the penalty kill (Blues 83.1 PK%: 14th overall, Capitals 87.3%: 2nd overall) but when you take as many penalties as these clubs do there is going to be a few goals scored on the man advantage. The Blues faced the Carolina Hurricanes last night and won by a score of 4-2. After playing the next day on no rest, the Blues are 3-0 Over/Under. The Capitals are 20th ove rall for goals against per game (2.85 GA) but note that when the Capitals are an “underdog” their goals against increases to 3.13 goals against. Also note that in this same situation, the Caps also score more goals (3.25 G/G as an underdog). The Capitals have also managed to score 3.20 goals per game over their last 10 games (The Blues goals remains the same at 3.50 G/G over their L10 games). We have also seen the Blues score 7 goals against one of the best defensive teams (and best goalies) in the NHL, the Colorado Avalanche on Nov.14. We are going to take this OVER tonight because it provides great value for the price of 2.05 and as long as these teams continue to score goals there won’t be a problem cashing this one. Remember that this game starts at 6 PM EST as opposed to the usual 7PM.

San Jose Sharks @ Chicago Blackhawks: OVER 5.5 Goals 2.06
& Sharks to Win 2.15

NOTE: These are two seperate picks for the same game. This IS NOT a parlay.

If you read the last write-up, you know that these two teams make up 2 of the 3 tied for 1st place for goals per game in the NHL, at 3.50 goals per game. The Blackhawks played last night and were annihilated 7-2 by the Nashville Predators. Both Khabibulin and Crawford made appearances last night. Khabibulin made the start for the Blackhawks  allowing 2 goals in 8 shots for a .750 SV%. They then switched to Crawford, he finished the other 44:27 and allowed 5 goals on 22 shots for a .773 SV%. These two teams have the exact same goals per game at 3.50, so the difference here will be in defense and special teams. The San Jose Sharks are better defensively than the Blackhawks, allowing only 2.05 goals against per game, compared to the Blackhawks average of 2.90 goals against. They share very similar power play numbers: the Sharks have a 21.1 PP% and the Blackhawks are .03% higher at 21.4 PP%. The penalty kill numbers for these clubs are like night and day. The S harks are doing good on the penalty kill, stopping 83% of their opponents opportunities (15th overall) and the Blackhawks are the 2nd worst in the enitre National Hockey League on the penalty kill with a dismal 72.9%. The only team worse on the PK is the New York Islanders (72.3%). Both teams have played 20 games this season, and the Away record for the Sharks (8-1-3) is the exact same as the home record for the Blackhawks (8-1-3). These teams also love to take shots on goal, with the Sharks taking 36.8 S/G and the Blackhawks 35.4 S/G. The Blackhawks out-shot the Predators 41-30 last night and the Predators still managed to out-score the Blackhawks 7-2. The Blackhawks gave up 2/5 power play goals to the Predators and couldn’t score on any of their own 4 tries. After last night’s terrible performance, Nikolai Khabibulin’s GAA has increased to 5.00 GAA (accompanied by a .811 SV%) and Crawford has a 2.50 GAA and a .907 SV%. We’ll stick with a solid Sharks team ton ight for this great price, and we will also look for the goals to pile up to send this one OVER 5.5 Goals.