Free NHL Picks Today for Thursday, March 18th, 2021

Free NHL Picks Today for Thursday, March 18th, 2021
Thu 18th March 2021

We managed 12/18 NHL picks yesterday with a couple big parlays in the mix. It was goals galore across the 6 games yesterday, and with 10 huge matchups on the Thursday agenda we are expecting some more madness.

Boston Bruins @ Buffalo Sabres – 7.00 PM EDT

The Bruins got some revenge on the Pittsburgh Penguins, winning 2-1 on Tuesday after being defeated 4-1 by them the day before.

The two teams put up an even amount of shots this time out as opposed to the Bruins 43 to the Penguins 25 on Monday, both sides had 4 power play opportunities, but only the Bruins were able to capitalise thanks to David Pastrnak.

Rookie goalie, Daniel Vladar, got his first NHL start in place of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak, making 34 saves in a near perfect debut.

Despite getting the win, it was another low scoring affair for the Bruins, they have scored just 8 goals in their last 6 games despite often outshooting their opponent. 

The Sabres freefall continued against the Devils on Tuesday, narrowly losing 3-2 in what was one of their best chances to get a win, against a Devils side that had lost their last 11 games at home.

Instead, the Sabres extended their losing streak to 12 games, and now find themselves just 2 games away from their franchise record loss streak of 14.

It looked like they would get the win, coming back from 1-0 down in the first by scoring back to back goals at the start of the 2nd, even outshooting the Devils 35-27.

But they couldn’t hold the lead, conceding an equaliser in the second followed by a powerplay goal from Miles Wood in the final term.

NHL Pick – Boston Bruins (-277)
Spread Pick – Boston Bruins -1.5 (+100)
Total Goals Pick – Under 6.5 (-200)

Columbus Blue Jackets @ Carolina Hurricanes – 7.00 PM EDT

The Blue Jackets were defeated 2-1 in a shootout by the Dallas Stars at home on Sunday, it was the second game of a 2 match series in Ohio, of which the Blue Jackets won the first.

It was the 7th loss from the Blue Jackets’ last 10 games, placing them in an awkward 5th place on the Central Division table, 4 points from both 4th and 6th place.

It was the 6th match between the Stars and Blue Jackets this season, each team has won 3 games a piece, Zach Werenski scored an equalising goal in the third term to extend his point streak to 4 games, but they were unable to score in the shootout.

The Blue Jackets will now play 8 of their next 10 games away from home, they are currently 4-7-2 on the road.

The Hurricanes had their impressive 8 win streak halted by the Red Wings of all teams, it was their second defeat to the Detroit based team this season, bringing their season record to 20-7-1.

The win would have put the Canes on top of the table, but they came up against a Red Wings side playing their best hockey of the season, and remain 1 point behind the division leaders.

They play their next 4 games versus the Blue Jackets, and will be looking at this as a chance to pick up some crucial points against the struggling side, they are 2-1 from 3 games against the Blue Jackets this season. 

NHL Pick – Carolina Hurricanes (-185)
Spread Pick – Carolina Hurricanes -1.5 (+135)
Total Goals Pick – Over 5.5 (-105)

Nashville Predators @ Florida Panthers – 7.00 PM EDT

The Predators are coming off the back of a big upset win over the Lightning away from home, it was the Preds first win over the Lightning from 6 games this season, and just their 2nd from the last 8 league games played.

They were clinical in the 4-1 victory, outshot by the Lightning almost 2-1, forcing Pekka Rinne to make 38 saves in net, while Calle Jarnkrok contributed a goal and 3 assists to guide the Predators to victory.

The Predators now head to Florida, today’s match will be their 5th meeting with the Panthers, they have lost the last 3 straight.

The Panthers are running hot at the moment, sweeping the Blue Jackets over 2 games last week, followed by another 2 game sweep over the Blackhawks.

The most recent match finished 6-3, maintaining the Panthers perfect record against the Blackhawks this season, 4 wins from 4 games.

The win didn’t come without a sweat though, going down twice for the game, and coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the second term with 5 unanswered goals.

Aleksander Barkov put in a true captain’s performance, assisting the goal to level the score and scoring a goal from a shorthanded position to put them in the lead for the first time.

NHL Pick – Florida Panthers (-200)
Spread Pick – Florida Panthers -1.5 (+120)
Total Goals Pick – Over 5.5 (-166)

Pittsburgh Penguins @ New Jersey Devils – 7.00 PM EDT

The Penguins saw their 6 win streak come to an end at the hands of the Bruins on Tuesday, it was the second of a 2 match series and marked the Penguins third defeat to the Bruins from 4 games this season.

The two sides were very even for the game, with both teams attempting upwards of 30 shots, the Penguins had 21 penalty minutes compared to the Bruins 8, but it was an even strength goal that gave the Bruins the win in the final term.

It was the 5th time this season the Penguins have been kept to a goal or less, they now travel to New Jersey to face the Devils for the first time this season. 

The Devils snapped out of their losing streak with a tight win over the struggling Buffalo Sabres, it was well needed for the Devils having just suffered a 3 game sweep to the Islanders.

It was just their 2nd win from the last 10 games, only the Sabres have fared worse in the East, however they have played much better than the Sabres, losing 5 of those games by just 1 goal.

With a measly home record of 2-10-2 this season, the prospect of facing the Penguins is unlikely to fill fans with much confidence.

Working in their favour is the fact that the Penguins will be without Evgeni Malkin and Teddy Blueger, both of which are crucial to the team’s center.

NHL Pick – Pittsburgh Penguins (-166)
Spread Pick – New Jersey Devils +1.5 (-172)
Total Goals Pick – Under 6.5 (-172)

Philadelphia Flyers @ New York Islanders – 7.00 PM EDT

The Flyers were absolutely embarrassed in New York by the Rangers yesterday, losing by a whopping 9-0 just two days after beating them 5-4.

It was one of the biggest shutouts of the decade and will undoubtedly be something the Flyers want to put behind them immediately.

The loss allowed the Rangers to bring themselves 2 points closer to the Flyers who currently sit in the much desired playoff position.

The Flyers and Islanders are set to play the next 3 games against each other, the first two in New York followed by a game in Philadelphia, the Flyers are unbeaten from 2 games against the Islanders this season.

The last time the teams met the Islanders were on a 3 game losing streak, this time around they have won 8 of their previous 9 games, with the Capitals putting an end to their streak on Tuesday.

It was the third Islanders 3rd defeat from 3 games against the Caps this season, the only other team they have failed to beat this season is the Flyers.

It was a mostly even match on Tuesday, with both teams making 22 shots a piece, however, the Capitals made the most of their penalty opportunities, with 2 of their goals coming from power play situations.

NHL Pick – New York Islanders (-140)
Spread Pick – New York Islanders -1.5 (+200)
Total Goals Pick – Over 5.5 (-105)

Chicago Blackhawks @ Tampa Bay Lightning – 7.00 PM EDT

The Blackhawks failed to hold onto a 3-1 lead against the Panthers on Monday, conceding 5 unanswered goals to give the Panthers a clean sweep over 2 games.

The loss continues the Blackhawks trend of struggling against the division’s stronger teams, only 2 of their 14 wins have come from games against the 3 teams above them, they are currently 2-10 against these sides (Lightning, Panthers, Hurricanes).

The Blackhawks now travel to Tampa to face the Lightning, who they have played on 5 occasions this season, three games at home and twice away, they are 1-4 from these matches.

Whilst still running well, the Lightning have not been at their best lately, dropping points to teams that they would characteristically have no trouble rolling over.

They have lost to the Predators, Red Wings and Blackhawks for 3 of their last 7 games, allowing the Panthers and Canes to close the gap on the table.

Their most recent win came over the Stars on Tuesday and it did not come easy, as the Lightning were surprisingly outshot by the Stars, and conceded 2 goals in the final 3 minutes of the third term to send the game to overtime.

With no goal in overtime the match went to a shootout, the Lightning prevented their overtime record going negative thanks to a save from Andrei Vasilevskiy on Alexander Radulov. 

NHL Pick – Tampa Bay Lightning (-243)
Spread Pick – Tampa Bay Lightning -1.5 (+105)
Total Goals Pick – Over 5.0 (-140)

Dallas Stars @ Detroit Red Wings 7.30 PM EDT

The Stars and Red Wings are set to do battle for the third time this season, the Stars have won both previous encounters in Dallas, but travel to Detroit today for a clash between two of the division’s weakest.

The Stars come into this match in their best form since the start of the season, having picked up 3 wins from their last 7 games, they have shown improvement from the team who had won just 1 from the 11 games prior.

They were a shootout away from registering their biggest win of the season against the top place Lightning on Tuesday, having clawed back into the game from 3-1 down, they were unable to get the shootout victory for a second game in a row. 

The Red Wings have also shown improvement recently, managing to take away 2 points from series’ against two of the divisions’ best in the form of the Lightning and the Hurricanes.

Both of those wins took place in Detroit which will fill the Red Wings with confidence ahead of this home fixture, their home record is 6-7-3, not great, but far better than their away record of 3-10-1.

Filip Hronek leads the Red Wings for points and assists, and was the most valuable player in their recent 4-2 win over the Hurricanes, the defenseman added two assists to his tally, on top of scoring his first goal of the season.

NHL Pick – Detroit Red Wings (+160)
Spread Pick – Detroit Red Wings +1.5 (-161)
Total Goals Pick – Under 5.5 (-125)

Minnesota Wild @ Colorado Avalanche – 9.00 PM EDT

The Wild wrapped up their 3 match series with the Coyotes on Tuesday, and they did so once again in clinical fashion, winning with a 3-0 shutout.

The aggregate score over the 3 games was 11-1, bringing their win streak to 5 games, and their first 3 shutouts of the season in the mix.

Both Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello provided a point on Tuesday to extend their streaks to 4 games each, and 6 over the last 5.

Having played the last 5 games at home, the Wild head to Colorado for 2 games against the Avs, they are 2-2 from 4 games with the Avalanche this season.

The Avalanche are coming into this game off the back of a bizarre 8-4 win over the Ducks on Tuesday, conceding 4 goals to 2in the first term, the Avs went on to put 6 unanswered goals past the Ducks.

The Avalanche 25 year old backup goalie, Hunter Miska, was given the chance to open the game and had a nightmare of a time, conceding 4 goals from 7 save attempts.

Philipp Grubauer was forced to come on to replace him and went on to save all 15 shots that came his way in the second and third term.

The Avs had 5 players finish the game with 2 points, Devon Toews finished with 3 assists and Nazem Kadri bagged himself 2 goals and 2 assists.

NHL Pick – Colorado Avalanche (-156)
Spread Pick – Minnesota Wild +1.5 (-185)
Total Goals Pick – Over 5.5 (-110)

Winnipeg Jets @ Edmonton Oilers – 9.00 PM EDT

The Jets and Oilers go back to back today after playing in, and winning, their own separate matches yesterday. The Jets wrapped up their home series against the Canadiens, exacting some revenge for their defeat two days prior.

It was the 6th game between the teams, with the Jets walking away with their 4th win over the Montreal based side, the Jets took the lead early and went into the final term 3-1 up.

The Canadiens came back though, tying the scores up with just 2 minutes to play to force the overtime, however, it lasted less than a minute as Pierre-Luc Dubois set Nikolaj Ehlers up for the winning goal.

It was a similar scenario for the Oilers, who got up 7-3 over the Flames having been beaten by them 4-3 two days earlier.

Just like the Jets and Canadiens, it was the 6th meeting between the sides, of which the Oilers have won 4.

Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid were characteristically immense for the Oilers, both walking away with 3 points, but Tyson Barrie was the top scorer, serving up a career best 4 assists.

Today’s meeting will be an interesting affair, the two teams have met 4 times this season, twice in Winnipeg and twice in Edmonton, both sides have won a home and away game each.

NHL Pick – Edmonton Oilers (-140)
Spread Pick – Edmonton Oilers -1.5 (+190)
Total Goals Pick – Over 5.5 (-181).

Arizona Coyotes @ Anaheim Ducks – 10.00 PM EDT

The Coyotes suffered their 4th defeat in a row following their 3-0 defeat to the Wild, wrapping up a forgettable series in Minnesota in which the Coyotes were shutout twice, scoring just 1 goal over the three games.

It was the 7th loss from the last 10 games for the Coyotes who now find themselves 5 points away from a playoff position, they will be looking at 2 games against the Ducks as a chance to pick up some much needed points.

The two have played on 4 occasions this season, the Coyotes have won 3 of the 4, today’s match will be the first time they have travelled to Anaheim though. 

The Ducks are running just as poorly as the Coyotes, losing their 4th straight game at the hands of the Avalanche.

It was a painful loss for the Ducks who thought they might run away with it after scoring 4 goals in the first term, however, the Avs flicked the switch in the second and third terms scoring 6 unanswered goals to beat the Ducks 8-4.

It has been a disastrous season for the Ducks as they look set for a last place finish, with just 2 wins from the last 10 games it is now or never if they want to have a chance at playoffs.  

NHL Pick – Arizona Coyotes (-135)
Spread Pick – Arizona Coyotes -1.5 (+190)
Total Goals Pick – Under 6.5 (-208)

The 2021 NHL is well underway now! If you want to catch up with all the latest information, make sure you visit our NHL hub page.

*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of Bet365.

Connor is a passionate writer and sporting fanatic, with a focus on all things soccer, NBA, and NHL. Happy to chew your ear off about his beloved Tottenham Hotspur, or talk odds on the latest ball game. Connor always delivers the latest in breaking news, matchday analysis and predictions.