NHL Free Picks - Hockey Predictions April 11
The long and grueling NHL regular season comes to a close this Saturday, but things are just starting to heat-up in the quest for this season's Stanley Cup. The following NBC triple-header on Saturday's slate has come together perfectly to form my NHL "best bets" for the day.
New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals (12:30 p.m.)
This matchup features the top two teams in the Atlantic Division that could very well be on a collision course to meet later in the playoffs. The Rangers currently lead the NHL in total points with 111 and they are riding a five-game winning streak into Thursday's home game against Ottawa. New York has been the complete package this season with an offense that is third in the league in scoring with 3.1 goals per game and third in defense with a goals-against average of 2.3.
Washington is coming off a 3-0 shutout of Boston this past Wednesday as a slight -110 home favorite. It is now 23-12-5 at home this season heading into this final game. This is another well-balanced team with 2.9 goals per game complementing a GAA of 2.4. Looking back at the season series between these two division foes, the Rangers have the 2-1 edge in the first three meetings and the total went OVER in two of the three games. I like Washington at home in this one, but my best bet is the OVER on an expected total line of five.
San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings (3 p.m.)
The Sharks have already been eliminated from the postseason, but they would love nothing more than to throw a wrench into their bitter division rivals' playoff plans. San Jose will first have to face Edmonton on the road this Thursday night as a solid -145 favorite on 5Dimes' NHL betting odds for the game. The Sharks have been one of the better road teams this season with an overall record of 20-15-4.
Los Angeles is on the outside looking in right now for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but it only trails Calgary by two points with two games to play. These two face one another on Thursday with the Kings listed as -127 favorites on the road. Los Angeles has always been a team that finds ways to win games when they matter the most. The season series against the Sharks is tied 2-2 and I am going with the Kings to win the rubber match this Saturday afternoon.
Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues (7:30 p.m.)
Minnesota has already secured a spot in the postseason and if things stay the same in the Central Division standings, it will be facing the Blues in the opening round of the playoffs. The Wild snapped a three-game skid with Tuesday's 2-1 victory against Chicago as +135 road underdogs. They will stay on the road for their final two games starting with Thursday's matchup against Nashville as +115 underdogs. Minnesota is another solid road team with a 23-14-2 record on the year.
St. Louis is still battling Anaheim for the most points in the West, but it did not help its cause with Tuesday's 1-0 loss to Winnipeg as a -135 home favorite. The Blues will host Chicago on Thursday night before welcoming the Wild to town in Saturday's season finale. St. Louis has now lost four of its last five home games as well as its last two matchups against Minnesota by a combined score of 9-4. I am banking on the Blues to send a message this Saturday that both of these trends will have no bearing on the upcoming playoff series between the two with a win.