The 2021 NHL season gets underway tomorrow and we are super excited so we are getting is a day early with our free NHL picks! There are five huge matchups to kick off the new season and we’ve got picks for them all.
Find all of our free NHL picks for the five scheduled games below!
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers – 5.30PM ET
The Philadelphia Flyers will host the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening game of the 2021 NHL season in a Metropolitan Divisional matchup. The Flyers are coming into the 2021 season fresh off a Game 7 loss to the New York Islanders in the second round of the most recent postseason.
Despite finishing the 2019/20 regular season with just one less win than Philadelphia, Pittsburgh’s playoff campaign was not as fruitful as the Flyers, after they were eliminated in the Qualifying Round by the Montreal Canadiens. Although the Penguins may no longer be perennial Stanley Cup contenders, their ageing stars such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkinare are still capable of keeping them competitive.
However, with Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, Travis Konecny, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek all working in unison, the Flyers are going to once again be a team near the top of the Eastern Conference and should record a victory at home in their season opener.
NHL Pick – Philadelphia Flyers (-121)
NHL Spread – Pittsburgh Penguins +1.5 (-285)
Game Totals Pick – Under 6 (-115)
THE BOYS ARE BACK 👏
— NHL (@NHL) January 12, 2021
Montreal Canadiens @ Toronto Maple Leafs – 7PM ET
The Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs will continue their fierce rivalry on NHL opening night in Toronto. The Canadiens (71 points) finished 10 points behind the Maple Leafs (81 points) last season, however Montreal’s 4-2 loss to the Flyers in the First Round of the playoffs was a more successful postseason campaign than Toronto’s 2-3 loss to the Blue Jackets in the Qualifying Round.
In terms of their matchup this Wednesday, the Maple Leafs possess a superior offense and the Canadiens a superior defense foreshadowing a close encounter. With Maple Leaf’s centre Auston Matthews the current favourite to win the Rocket Richard Trophy (finished second last season), both Matthews and Toronto should get their season off to a strong start with a home win over their arch rivals.
NHL Pick – Toronto Maple Leafs (-140)
NHL Spread – Montreal Canadiens +1.5 (-225)
Game Totals Pick – Under 6 (+105)
Chicago Blackhawks @ Tampa Bay Lightning – 8PM ET
The reigning Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning will get their title defense underway on opening night when they face off against the Chicago Blackhawks. After beating the Stars in six games to win the Stanley Cup, the Lightning lost arguably the best dual-threat player in the offensive zone in Nikita Kucherov.
However, Tampa Bay’s offense will still feature Steven Stamkos and Braydon Point while their defense will be held up by Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh and Andrei Vasilevskiy in goal.
The Blackhawks will be looking to improve on their 4-1 loss to the Golden Knights in the First Round of the playoffs, however will likely struggle when coming up against the reigning champions on Wednesday. Tampa Bay should have no trouble getting their title defense underway with a comfortable win at home over the Blackhawks
NHL Pick – Tampa Bay Lightning (-255)
NHL Spread – Tampa Bay Lightning -1.5 (+105)
Game Totals Pick – Under 6.5 (-121)
THIS IS OUR TIME
YOUR TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING ARE STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS!!!!! pic.twitter.com/1trZdj2JPf
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 29, 2020
Vancouver Canucks @ Edmonton Oilers – 10PM ET
The Edmonton Oilers will host the Vancouver Canucks in their season opener on Wednesday night. Edmonton finished last season with 83 points and second place in the Pacific Division, whereas the Canucks finished the season on 78 points and in fifth place in the Pacific Division.
Despite their superior record, the Oilers suffered a 1-3 loss to the Blackhawks in the Qualifying Round while the Canucks forced the Vegas Golden Knights to a Game 7 in Round 2 of the 2020 playoffs. Despite a recent COVID-19 scare, the Canucks resumed practice on Monday to fine tune themselves for their season opener.
Even with the likes of Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes on their roster, the Canucks failed to bring in some reinforcements to round out their forward group making it tough for Vancouver to defeat a team with hopes of contending in the Pacific Division. The Oilers should get their season off to a strong start against the Canucks on Wednesday as they look to once again aim for the near top of the Pacific Division.
NHL Pick – Edmonton Oilers (-125)
NHL Spread – Vancouver Canucks +1.5 (-270)
Game Totals Pick – Over 6 (-115)
St. Louis Blues @ Colorado Avalanche – 10.30PM ET
The Colorado Avalanche will host the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday in a match between the top two teams of the 2019/20 Central Division. The Blues finished the COVID-19 affected season on top of their division with 94 points, whereas the Avalanche finished just one position and two points behind St. Louis, on 92 points.
St. Louis will be looking to redeem themselves after a disappointing round one playoff exit against the Vancouver Canucks in the 2020 postseason, while the Avalanche will be striving to take the next step forward in 2021 after being defeated in seven games by the Dallas Stars in Round 2 of the playoffs.
Colorado’s defense is set for an improvement with the addition of Devon Toews, while their offense should once again be one of the best in the NHL (237 goals for, most in the Western Conference).
St. Louis will be reeling after the loss of the leagues No. 1 defenseman Alex Pietrangelo to Vegas. Pietrangelo will leave a huge hole in the Blues defense requiring Torey Krug, Colton Parayko, Justin Faulk, Marco Scandella, Robert Bortuzzo and Vince Dunn to step up defensively.
Given the changes that the Blues have been forced to make this offseason, the Avalanche will get their quest for a Stanley Cup off to a strong start with a win at home this Wednesday.
NHL Pick – Colorado Avalanche (-140)
NHL Spread – Colorado Avalanche -1.5 (+195)
Game Totals Pick – Over 5.5. (-121)
The 2021 NHL season is here! 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 PointsBet.