NHL Game Predictions - Free Hockey Picks March 21
We have a pretty good idea of which teams will be in this season's NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, but as far as the actual seeding there is plenty to be decided over the next few weeks. With so much still on the line, I have come up with three picks on this Saturday's slate that have the best chance to payoff for bettors.
St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild (2 p.m.)
St. Louis has a two-point lead over Nashville in the Central Division with a 6-2-2 record in its last 10 games, but it could not get past Winnipeg its last time out in a 2-1 shutout loss as a -130 road favorite. The Blues are still 21-11-4 on the road this season and 3-0-1 in their last four road games. They dropped a 3-1 decision to Minnesota this past Saturday as a -144 home favorite, but overall in this series St. Louis has won eight of the last 10 meetings.
The Wild lost to Washington 3-2 this past Thursday as -155 home favorites to fall to 3-3 in their last six games. They have now lost three of their last of their last four games at home. Minnesota is currently fourth in the Central Division with 85 points and clinging to that final playoff spot by a point over Winnipeg. The Wild are a solid team on both ends of the ice with an average of 2.8 goals a game against at goals-against average of 2.5, but I do not like their chance to reverse this current losing trend against the Blues. Look for St. Louis to avenge last Saturday's loss in a series it has dominated over the past few years.
Vancouver Canucks vs. Los Angeles Kings (4 p.m.)
Vancouver was shutout by the Kings 4-0 on March 12 as a +115 home favorite and it is coming off a 6-2 loss to Columbus this past Thursday as a heavy -200 favorite at home. In between the Canucks did knock-off both Toronto and Philadelphia by identical 4-1 scores as favorites at home so it has been a mixed bag for a team that is clinging to second place in the Pacific Division by a point. The one constant has been a trend towards their games staying UNDER the total with a 1-5-1 record in their last seven games.
The Kings continue to battle for position in the Pacific Division, but they have not helped their cause with two losses in their last three games following that shutout of the Canucks including a 3-2 setback in overtime to Anaheim this past Wednesday as -110 favorites on the road. The one positive has been a solid effort on defense that has held opponents to just eight goals in their last six games. I like the Kings' chances to get a win at home this Saturday, but the best play in this one is the UNDER on an expected total line of 5.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Dallas Stars (8 p.m.)
The Blackhawks are on a roll with a four-game winning streak as part of an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games. They are currently just three points in back of St. Louis for the lead in the Central Division with a total of 92 points. Chicago has been getting it done on both ends of the ice by outscoring its opponents 20-8 in its last seven games. On the year, the Blackhawks are averaging 2.8 goals a game verse a GAA of 2.2 that is ranked second in the league.
Dallas is ranked second in the NHL in scoring with 3.1 goals a game, but it falls all the way to 27th on defense with a GAA of 3.2. The result has the Stars sitting in last place in the highly competitive Central Division with a total of 76 points. Dallas has won four of its last five games including a 2-1 victory against Pittsburgh this past Thursday as a -120 home favorite, but it has had its issues in the past against Chicago with just two wins in the last 10 meetings. Look for this losing trend to continue on Saturday as the Blackhawks get the win on the road.