Saturday is here, along with a massive stack of games. So sit back, relax and let SportsTips do all the work for you and pick you some winners! Our NHL picks are some of the very best and you certainly don’t want to miss out.
Buffalo Sabres @ Boston Bruins – 1.00 PM EDT
At the TD Garden it’s Buffalo taking on Boston in what is a matchup between the two Massmutual Division East rivals. With the Sabres in last and the Bruins on 16 wins, there is the potential for a thrashing to be on our hands!
For Buffalo their last game was a 4-0 defeat to Pittsburgh. It consigned them to their 22nd loss of the season from 32 matches played. They also have a shocking DIFF of -49, the worst in the NHL.
The Bruins latest clash saw them go down in OT 4-3 to the Islanders, in what was a clash they really should’ve won. They conceded a 2-0 lead. Anders Bjork, Steven Kampfer and Karson Kuhlman got a goal each and Bjork also registered an assist.
We face the Bruins at TD Garden at 1 p.m. today! Pregame coverage on @MSGNetworks begins at 12:30.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) March 27, 2021
One exciting element of this matchup is Jeff Skinner on the LW going head-to-head against David Pastrnak on the RW. Both players have scored two goals each from their last five appearances.
This element is crucial for Buffalo given their record. The same could be said for Brandon Montour, with the defender having produced 4 assists from his last five games for the Sabres.
Boston ultimately has too much going for them to lose this match.
New York Rangers @ Philadelphia Flyers – 1.00 PM EDT
Playing at the Wells Fargo Center we have the Rangers playing the Flyers. With both sides on thirty-four points in the Massmutual East Division, a win would get either side one step closer to a finals berth, however a loss could be massive within the context of their seasons.
New York are 5-5 over their last 10 games. Their latest was a 5-3 victory over the Sabres. While Philly have gone just 2-8 over their last 10 games in what has been a horror run of form for them. Their last
game was an 8-3 thrashing at the hands of the Rangers, following on from a 9-0 disaster just a few days earlier.
In the last game Rangers started off hot, scoring three goals each over the opening two periods in the 8-3 clash. Ryan Strome opened the scoring just 8:01 in for NY. Then 52 seconds later Pavel Buchnevich sensationally made it 2-0. Then capping off the stinging first period was Mika Zibanejad 13:36 in on the power play.
One interesting battle is between that of Igor Shesterkin (NY Goaltender) and Carter Hart (PHI Goaltender). Coming back from injury Shesterkin saved 41 of the 44 shots placed against him vs PHI.
No side ever wants to be beaten the way the Flyers were – twice – it’s safe to say the they might be due for a win here.
Vegas Golden Knights @ Colorado Avalanche – 3.00 PM EDT
At the Ball Arena for this one we have the Colorado Avalanche playing host to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Avalanche have a 21-8-3 record while the Knights are 22-8-1. We should be in for a tightly contested clash here.
Max Pacioretty is an extremely difficult Vegas player to overlook here. He is equal fourth this season in the NHL for goals scored with 17 to his name. The 32-year-old also has 14 assists from just 29 games played. He has played a big part of his team being first in the Honda West Division.
When you analyse form, the Knights have won 16 of their last 19 games. However, their latest was a disappointing 5-1 defeat to Colorado.
Plans for today:
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 27, 2021
Colorado are second in the Honda West Division and just a single win off the Knights. In the strong four-goal victory, the Avalanche scored four goals in the second period. They came courtesy of Joonas
Donskoi, J.T. Compher, Cale Makar and Gabriel Landeskog in what was a well-balanced effort.
The Vegas Golden Knights opened the scoring in the first period vs the Avalanche. Here they need to start with the same vigour and follow through. If they can do that then they have a massive shot at winning.
Columbus Blue Jackets @ Detroit Red Wings – 3.00 PM EDT
This matchup sees the Columbus Blue Jackets taking on the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. Both sides have only three injuries between them and we’re sure to see a star-studded clash.
Stars include defender Seth Jones (Columbus) who has three goals over his last five games, as well as Red Wings captain Robby Fabbri who has four over that same period.
Columbus’s latest affair was an incredibly close 4-3 OT loss to the Hurricanes. Despite the Blue Jackets clawing back the game in the third period scoring 2 goals to 1, it wasn’t quite enough. They gave away the puck 14 times and they allowed the Hurricanes 5 takeaways.
For the Red Wings, their last game saw them annihilated 7-1 by the Predators. It was over by the end of the first period as they went down 4-1! Their sole goal was a wrist shot from Bobby Ryan that went through traffic and in.
Detroit might not be having the best run of form at the moment, but they are only three wins behind the Hurricanes in the Discover Central Division. Needing a win, they might get it here, even if it will be incredibly difficult.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Carolina Hurricanes – 7.00 PM EDT
It’s the Tampa Bay Lightning up against the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC Arena in what is a battle of the top two teams in the Discover Central Division. With the Lightning winning 7 of their last 10 games and the Hurricanes also being 7 out of 10, both sides have some strong form heading into this clash.
Comparing the two Goaltenders from both sides is a great place to start. Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Lightning has conceded under two goals per game this season. James Reimer of Carolina has a .909 SV percentage. The Russian and the Canadian are bound to be commanding between the pipes here.
Q: Are the #Canes a legit SCF contender?
A: a resounding “yes” from @MSmithCanes
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 26, 2021
The Lightning’s last game was a close 4-3 loss to the Stars in a very back and forth game with both sides trading multiple blows throughout. It finally was decided with 1:21 left in the third period as the Hurricanes scored inflicting pain onto Tampa Bay.
Carolina came away with a 4-3 victory inflicting the crucial blow in OT when Sebastian Oho scored the winner after a great run from Martin Necas down the ice.
The NHL keeps on giving with games like these!
New York Islanders @ Pittsburgh Penguins – 7.00 PM EDT
There might be a 7-win gap between the Islanders and the Penguins in the Massmutual East, but when push comes to shove, both teams are capable of putting in massive performances on their day. Whilst neither side will back down here. As the NHL season heats up, this is yet another game that should have many eyes glued to the TV.
For the Islanders they have won 17 of their last 20 games in what has been a hugely successful streak for them. While their latest game saw them win by 6-1 over the Flyers. In the first period alone they produced four goals.
The opening two goals came courtesy of Jean Gabriel-Pageau 6:11 in as the previous shot deflected straight off a defender and straight to him (Pageau). Then 8:11 in Jordan Eberle scored after grabbing the loose puck and shooting low. That was the start of the rout.
For the Penguins, their latest game came in the form of a 4-0 thumping win over the Sabres. They scored their goals 17:21 into the first period, 1:27 into the second, 8:56 into the third and 18:54 into the third. Jared McCann had two goals as well.
If the Penguins want a chance here, then McCann will have to be fairly influential.
Edmonton Oilers @ Toronto Maple Leafs – 7.00 PM EDT
It’s a battle of two of the NHL’s Canadian sides as the Oilers face off against the Maple Leafs. With the Maple Leafs having won convincingly to the tune of a 6-1 score-line when these two teams last met, you’d have to think that the Oilers will be badly searching for a win at Scotiabank Arena.
As things currently stand Toronto is in 1st in the Scotia North and Edmonton are in 3rd. Both sides have 21 important wins to their name, the Maple Leafs from 33 games and the Oilers from one more. Toronto’s DIFF is currently +25 and Edmonton’s is +19. Both sides are strongly placed as the season moves into its later stages.
Congrats to Connor & Tyson on being selected as @EASPORTSNHL All-Stars! 🏆
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) March 26, 2021
Looking at Toronto, their latest game was a 3-2 win over the Senators. Some of the key stats include them having 41 shots at goal, committed 9 blocks and 13 giveaways. While for Edmonton, they beat the Jets 4-2 in what was another all-Canadian affair. They took 3 7shots, committed 10 blocks and 9 giveaways.
Regardless of where you hail from, this game is one to watch. With Defender Tyson Barrie having chalked up 6 assists over his last 5 games and RW Mitchell Marner having 3 over 5, you just know that this encounter is going to be good!
Nashville Predators @ Chicago Blackhawks – 8.00 PM EDT
When the Predators and Blackhawks last met Nashville came away with a thrilling 2-1 win. Nashville won the shootout 1-0 culminating in the eventual win. With each side also on 16 wins from 34 games in the Discover Central, there’s fun to be had at the United Centre.
When you analyse the power play statistics between the two sides, it makes for an interesting reading. Nashville are 16th in the NHL with 20.4. In comparison Chicago is 3rd with 28.3. Could this perhaps play a role in the result?
Further adding to the theory that this game will be incredibly tight is that RW’s from both sides in the form of Eli Tolvanen and Patrick Kane have each claimed five points over their last five games. The impact they are capable of having is tenfold.
Nashville’s latest win was a thumping 7-1 effort over Detroit. Rocco Grimaldi was superb as he scored four MASSIVE goals. While for Chicago they won 3-0 in a sterling effort over the Panthers. Kevin Laniken was a standout for his side as he made 41 saves in what was his second NHL shutout.
If these sides’ latest matches are anything to go by, will it be Grimaldi who wins it for his side? Or will Laniken come through defensively?
Florida Panthers @ Dallas Stars – 8.00 PM EDT
It’s 3rd vs 7th in the Discover Central as the Florida Panthers take on the Dallas Stars in what should be a keenly contested matchup. Florida are coming off of a heavy 3-0 loss to the Blackhawks. For Dallas they produced a thoroughly entertaining 4-3 victory over the Lightning.
Florida’s loss to Chicago was a heavy one to take as they produced 41 shots at goal to the Blackhawks 21. But looking at things a different way, they also only blocked 9 shots to their 22. And they gave up the puck 9 times as well.
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) March 27, 2021
Dallas’s opening goal came through Miro Heiskanen as he scored off a break away move as he used the backhand. Their closing goal then came through Roope Hintz as he split two opposing defenders and smashed a shot into the back of the net much to his and his sides delight.
Sergei Bobrovsky and Anton Khudobin have both been performing at a high level this season. Bobrovsky has a save percentage of .902 and for Khudobin it’s at .910.
Both goaltenders have been crucial for their sides at various stages this season. But who wins out here?
Anaheim Ducks @ St Louis Blues – Postponed
*This game was postponed due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, a new date has not been confirmed at this time*
San Jose Sharks @ Arizona Coyotes – 10.00 PM EDT
Vancouver-born Evander Kane is the star of this clash between the Sharks and the Coyotes. The 29-year-old LW has 14 goals and 15 assists so far this season. While from his most recent 2-game stand against the Kings, he bagged 2 goals and an assist. What will his stats look like come full time at the Gila River Arena?
He’s not the only goal scorer in the midst though as the two opposing C’s in the form of Thomas Hertl and Derrick Brassard have both had some fine form lately producing 3 goals each over their last 5 games.
When San Jose most recently faced off against the Coyotes, the two sides produced a high-scoring 5-2 match in favour of the latter. The Coyotes pulled the game away from the Sharks grasp in the third period as they won 5-2. There were six different goal scorers there as Dvorak had two.
Dvorak’s first goal came from a nice pass before he fired away the puck 6:20 into the first period. Then his second came after he forced a TO in the offensive zone and went all the way down to the other end to score a fine goal 7:48 into the third period.
His ability to force a goal from nowhere will come in mighty handy for his side in this encounter.
Winnipeg Jets @ Calgary Flames – 10.00 PM EDT
Winnipeg and Calgary face off here in what should be another great game featuring all Canadian sides. A win for the Jets would see them move up a win over Toronto. As for the opposition a win would be massive for them in terms of playoff implications. This clash at the Scotiabank Saddledome is no doubt going to be great!
Winnipeg have won their last three clashes headed into this one. They’ve beaten the Flames 3-2 as well as Vancouver 5-1 and 4-0. Their latest win saw them just hang on as a goal over each period was enough for them to come out on top.
WHAT A BLASTy!! 🤪🔥
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) March 27, 2021
Calgary on the other hand have suffered four defeats in a row. First they lost to Winnipeg 3-2. Before that it was to the Senators 3-1 and 2-1. Prior to those two games, it was 2-0 to Toronto. This isn’t exactly the sort of form that they’d like headed into such an important fixture, that’s for sure!
Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor scored the only two goals of the first and second period respectively in the Jets 3-2 win and from there it was always going to be difficult to bounce back.
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.