There were quite a few surprises and upsets over a cracking day of NHL yesterday. With only 5 games on the agenda today, we’ve spent the morning preparing only the best NHL picks.
New Jersey Devils @ Philadelphia Flyers – 7.00 PM EDT
The Devils shocked the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Sunday with their 2-1 overtime victory, it was the final match of a 3 game series between the sides, of which the Devils walked away with 2 wins.
It came as quite a surprise as the 3rd place Penguins had been running very hot going into the series, the wins weren’t just good luck either, as the Devils remained even on shots with the Penguins in both wins.
The game finished 1-1 in regulation time on Sunday after Sami Vatanen buried a goal to tie things up in the 2nd.
Jesper Bratt came up clutch with the decisive goal in OT, it was just the 2nd goal of the season for the young winger, and his 4th consecutive point in a game.
“I really enjoy the growth that I’ve seen in a lot of the players. There’s lots of players I feel have tremendous upside.”
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) March 22, 2021
The Flyers miserable month continued, registering their 2nd straight loss to the Islanders on Sunday with a 2-1 defeat in Philly.
The Buffalo Sabres are the only team in the East that has fared worse than the Flyers over the last 10 games, with a record of 3-6-1 they continue to slip down the table.
They haven’t played the Devils since a 2 game series in Jersey at the end of January, both of which the Flyers won comfortably, however, they opened the season with a 7-2-1 record and have gone downhill since.
New York Islanders @ Boston Bruins – PPD
*This game was postponed due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, a new date has not been confirmed at this time*
Florida Panthers @ Chicago Blackhawks – 8.00 PM EDT
The Panthers started a 5 match road trip on Sunday, the first stop was Tampa Bay to face the division leaders, it was a thrilling 8 goal game, but the Lightning came out on top to increase their lead to 4 points.
They now head to Chicago for 2 games with the Blackhawks, the two have met 4 times this season, however, this will be the first time they play in Chicago.
The Panthers have had the Blackhawks in their pockets from those 4 games, yet to lose against them, and winning with an aggregate score of 20-11.
The Lightning struggled to keep the Panthers away on Sunday, as they were outshot by 32-24, and allowed the score to tie up on 2 occasions through some solid powerplay’s from the Panthers, they eventually broke away in the third though to pick up their second win against the other Florida team.
The Blackhawks also come into this match off the back of a loss to the Lightning, they played them on Saturday in a 4-1 loss, the 4th consecutive defeat for the Blackhawks.
Facing the Panthers and the Lightning in back to back series’ was never going to be easy, but their bad run of results has seen them slip down to 5th on the table, tied for points with the Blue Jackets on 33, and with the worst 10 game record in the division (3-6-1).
Detroit Red Wings @ Nashville Predators – 8.00 PM EDT
The Red Wings lost at home to the Stars on Saturday, the 3-0 defeat came after a 3-2 victory 2 days earlier, and was the 4th shutout of the season for the Detroit team.
The Red Wings were going for their third straight victory, something they are yet to achieve this season, they now head to Nashville to play the Predators who they are 2-2 against this season.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) March 22, 2021
The Preds are coming into this one having just wrapped up a huge 8 game road trip against some of the divisions best.
The trip will be considered a big success for the Preds, as they returned home with 4 wins and an overtime point, 9 points from a possible 16 with wins against the Lightning and Panthers in the mix.
Their most recent game was a win against the Stars, who they also beat at the start of the trip, the 4-3 victory was hardfought, as the Preds came back from 3-1 down in the 2nd term to force the overtime.
The game eventually went to a shootout, a great result for the Preds who were 2-0 in shootouts, against the league’s worst performing shootout team, 1-4 at the time.
Eeli Tolvanen had a hand in all 3 of the Preds goals in regulation time, assisting the first two before scoring the equalising goal late in the final term.
It was the best game of the campaign for the 23 year old winger, and earned him his first NHL career 3 point haul.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Dallas Stars – 8.30 PM EDT
The Lightning picked up their 4th straight win on Sunday with an emphatic 5-3 victory over the 2nd place Florida Panthers, the win sees the Lightning extend their lead at the top of the Central Division to 4 points.
Blake Coleman and Yanni Gourde both picked up 2 points in the victory, and the aptly named Brayden Point scored a goal and assist to mark his 30th point this season.
The Lightning will be confident heading into this 2 game series with the Stars as they are unbeaten from 3 matches so far this season, however, the Stars put up a good fight last time out, sending the game to a shootout.
The Stars lost to the Predators in a shootout on Sunday to decide the winner of their 3-3 regulation time match, it was the 6th defeat over the last 10 games for the Stars.
Whilst it is their 6th defeat from the last 10, of those 6, the Stars have taken 4 to overtime, picking up 4 vital points in the process, they are just 5 points off the Blue Jackets in 4th with 4 games less played.
The defeat to the Predators will be painful for the Stars as they had outshot their opponents and blew a 2 goal lead on two occasions to let the Preds back into the game.
Colorado Avalanche @ Arizona Coyotes – 10.00 PM EDT
The Avs and the Coyotes meet for the final game of their 2 match series in Arizona, the first leg was played yesterday which will test the depths of both squads as they go back to back today.
The Coyotes won’t be too eager for this second fixture after they were demolished by the Avs 5-1 yesterday on their home turf. It was the 5th game between the two this season, the Avs have now won 4 of those meetings.
It was a characteristically dominant performance from the Avs, who see their win streak extend to 7 straight, and have scored an impressive 4.57 goals per game on average.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 23, 2021
Mikko Rantanen and Connor MacKinnon kept their point streaks going, but only scored a single point each, leaving some for the rest of the team in a rare occurrence. Joonas Donskoi scored the final 2 goals for the Avalanche, bringing his season total to 10.
The Avs are finally playing to the quality that the quality of their squad commands this month, and you have to like their chances to come out and do the same thing today that they did to the Coyotes yesterday.
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of Bet365.