Don’t look now, but the Pittsburgh Penguins are streaking toward the top of the Metropolitan Division, with seven wins in their last 10 games. They are just four points behind Washington, who has just won four times in their last 10. In the Atlantic Division, Boston and Toronto have each won eight of their last 10 and are bearing down on Tampa Bay atop the division — and the conference. In the West, Nashville has just one regulation loss in their last 10 games and sits just a point behind Vegas in the conference standings, with a game in hand. Dallas has won seven of their last 10, although they followed up a five-game winning streak with a 6-0 home loss to hapless Vancouver, a team with a -33 goal differential, over the weekend. Take a look at our NHL betting picks from the rink for the week ahead.
Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – February 12th
— FanSided NHL (@FanSidedNHL) February 12, 2018
Tuesday, February 13
N.Y. Rangers at Minnesota (8:00pm ET, MSG, FSN+)
The Rangers have sunk all the way to eighth place in the Metropolitan Division with just 59 points in 56 games. However, they did deliver a 3-1 whipping of the Winnipeg Jets on the road on Sunday. Their offense is average, scoring 2.9 goals per game (15th overall), but their defense (3.0 goals permitted per game, 21st overall) is the reason why they have fallen so far in the standings. In Winnipeg, the hero was Jimmy Vesey, who got a deflection for a late goal to give the Blueshirts the lead.
They look to keep this momentum going in Minnesota, as they visit a Minnesota team that scores just a hair more per game and also has a better defense, permitting just 2.8 goals per game (15th overall). Their power play is dangerous, as they score 21.6% of the time (eighth overall). They took down the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, 3-0, delivering the home shutout behind a pair of goals from Charlie Coyle. Given the defensive problems that New York has had, I see Minnesota delivering the home win.
NHL Betting Prediction: Minnesota 4, N.Y. Rangers 2
Wednesday, February 14
Columbus at Toronto (7:00pm ET, FSOH, TSN)
The Columbus Blue Jackets have had a dreadful season offensively, as they score just 2.6 goals per game (29th overall) and are dead last in the league on the power play, converting just 14.0% of the time. Their defense has been fairly solid at even strength (2.7 goals permitted per game, 10th overall) but their penalty kill has been quite leaky, permitting goals more than 25 percent of the time. However, all of that went out the window on Saturday, as they hosted the New Jersey Devils and delivered a 6-1 shellacking.
They head on the road on Tuesday to face the New York Islanders — one of the highest scoring teams in the league — and then face the Maple Leafs in Toronto the very next night. The Maple Leafs also scored six goals in Saturday night, doubling up Ottawa at home, 6-3. Their 3.2 goals per game ranks fifth in the league, and their penalty kill has been terrific, shutting down opponents 82.8% of the time (sixth overall). I see the Leafs dealing Columbus another setback, especially with the Blue Jackets having faced the speedy Isles the night before.
NHL Betting Prediction: Toronto 4, Columbus 1
Friday, February 16
St. Louis at Dallas (8:30pm ET, FSMW, FSSW)
The Blues and the Stars are running neck and neck for third place in the Central Division, trying to avoid ending up in one of those wild card spots that ensures they will face a division leader in the first round of the playoffs. The Blues took a 4-1 home loss against Pittsburgh on Sunday, permitting Sidney Crosby’s 400th career goal. St. Louis has operated with a defense-first philosophy this season, permitting just 2.5 goals per game (fourth overall). Their offense can fall off the table now and then, as they are just 19th in goals scored and 28th overall on the power play.
They visit a Dallas team that is starting to win more than they lose but still can show considerable inconsistency. They demonstrated that once again on Sunday, as they followed up a shootout win over Pittsburgh (their fifth in a row) by giving up a 6-0 howler against Vancouver. They have the week off until the Blues come to town, though, so they have a chance to fix what went wrong. Can they take down the Blues, though, who have owned them in recent years?
NHL Betting Prediction: Dallas 3, St. Louis 2 (SO)