There are nine games on tap tonight, including a showdown in the Big Apple. Let’s take a look at our NHL Daily Predictions.
|Canucks vs Bruins
ML Off / Off
|Islanders vs Rangers
ML +115 / -135
|Predators vs Flyers
ML +105 / -125
|Lightning vs Blue Jackets
ML +115 / -135
|Devils vs Senators
ML +140 / -160
|Oilers vs Blackhawks
ML Off / Off
|Blues vs Avalanche
ML Off / Off
|Hurricanes vs Flames
ML +115 / -135
|Stars vs Coyotes
ML Off / Off
Here are tonight’s starting goaltenders, courtesy of LeftWingLock.
The Game to Watch: Islanders vs Rangers.
Tonight is the first meeting between the cross-city rivals from New York. The Islanders and Rangers both find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. Yes, we are only a handful of games into the season and both teams are perfectly capable of turning it around.
However, in the betting world, it’s all about reading trends.
The Islanders have had three days of rest after a frustrating Californian road trip. They lost their opener to the Anaheim Ducks 3-2. Though they outshot the Ducks 41-30, they went 0-for-5 on the powerplay and could not find the equalizer late in the third period.
A first period in which the Islanders outshot the opposition 21-6 ended in a 1-1 tie. That simply is not enough.
In their second game, they found themselves on the other side of the possession battle, getting outskated at every turn by the San Jose Sharks. Yet they walked away with a 3-1 victory.
The following night, the Islanders again fell short coming back from down two, losing to the Los Angeles Kings 3-2.
Hockey is a game of ups and downs.
Brooklyn’s powerplay has been experienced nothing but downs lately. The man advantage is 0-for-20 on the season.
John Tavares has been a no-show for all but one of these games. He tallied two goals and an assist in the Isles’ 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres, but has not registered a point in his other contests. Lately, Tavares has not even been getting shots to the net. Though he had four shots on goal in each of his first four games, he has only one shot per game in his last two.
The Rangers have been a tire fire. There really is not any other way to put their defensive play. Alain Vigneault has shackled Kevin Shattenkirk to his worst offensive player on the entire roster, Marc Staal. Tony DeAngelo skates on the top pair despite a total lack of ability to move the puck when pressured.
Ryan McDonagh is coming off his worst game of the season, maybe of his career. He had two major giveaways in his own zone in the opening five minutes, the first of which led to a goal just 43 seconds into play. He capped off the night by initiating one of the most embarrassing overtime gaffes in recent memory.
Penguins win in OT…tough look for Ryan McDonagh pic.twitter.com/evQrejus64
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 18, 2017
What even is the thought process here by McDonagh? He has Mats Zuccarello to his left in the corner, and Michael Grabner is skating from the left circle to the near-side boards. The Penguins have a pair of attackers on the goal line, and a defenseman in the neutral zone. Pressure is on, but there are options in open space, and if they can be hit, the Rangers would have a 2-on-1 on Justin Schultz.
McDonagh flips the puck to the center of the ice (to no one) and it hits off Phil Kessel who is two feet from him, and Kessel hits Malkin for the goal.
Factor in the random benchings of Brendan Smith at the beginning of the year and you have one debacle of a situation. One that has Alain Vigneault sitting on an increasingly hot seat.
If the Rangers were to lose on home ice to their hated rivals, the bough may just break.
It has to eventually when a team that has been labeled as Cup Contenders for five years sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference three weeks into the season.
And who doesn’t love a bit of chaos?
Glad I'm not the only one this defense gives the dry heaves to. https://t.co/xLBpmnrnSn
— Casey Bryant (@CaseyBryant51) October 18, 2017
Prediction: Take the Islanders to win. Play the over.
Other NHL Daily Predictions
Canucks vs Bruins: Boston swept the season series last year against the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks are coming off a 3-0 road shutout of the Ottawa Senators, snapping a three-game losing streak. Vancouver has been doing a great job of getting opportunities to score, taking penalties left and right, but cannot seem to capitalize. They have drawn 25 penalties in the last five games, but have only managed to strike three times.
Boston could not solve former goaltending prospect Malcolm Subban, falling 3-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights. Their powerplay looked good in their three-game road trip, netting three goals out west.
Both the Canucks and Bruins sit at five points so far this year.
The Bruins could be seeing a return of Patrice Bergeron and David Backes soon, but it’s unclear whether or not that day is today. Neither have played this year, as Bergeron deals with a lower-body injury and Backes has diverticulitis.
UPDATE: David Backes is confirmed to be playing tonight. Patrice Bergeron is a “game-time decision.”
Either way, I like the Bruins tonight.
Prediction: Take the Bruins to win. Play the under.
Predators vs Flyers: Philly is seeing the rise of a new young, exciting team. I wrote before the season in previewing the Flyers’ season that this is a team capable of a lot of things. They are exciting, speedy, and aggressive in all three zones.
Shayne Gostisbehere is a marvel to watch on the blueline. He will soon be mentionable in the same category as guys like P.K. Subban and Keith Yandle because of his incredible ability to spread the puck around. He may already be on the same level. The GhostBear has a goal and nine assists this season, six of those coming on the powerplay.
Jakub Voracek got off to a hot start last season and cooled off as October turned to November. He has 10 assists already this year, surpassing his eight-point total he had on October 24th last year. Philly’s top line of Voracek, Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux is tenacious.
Only two Flyers on the current roster have failed to register a point this season- veterans Michael Raffl and Radko Gudas. The conclusion to derive from this- the kids are holding up their end of the bargain. And things are clicking in Philly.
Nashville will need a boost in their scoring, as Nick Bonino will likely miss a few weeks of action. Bonino only had one point, a goal, in five games but his speedy presence will be missed nonetheless.
At least Filip Forsberg is doing his usual superhero act, leading the team with five goals and nine points so far.
P.K. Subban has a goal and six assists in seven games. Subban’s first year in Nashville was one in which his health robbed him of 16 games and his offense suffered. Even when he returned from injury, it took a while to look like himself again.
He looks like his usual beastly self this year.
Roman Josi missed a few games, but had a goal and an assist Tuesday night in his return to action against Colorado. Man, this defense is fun to watch.
This is a fun matchup tonight. There’s elite talent to watch on both sides. If you’re a daily fantasy player, take a good long look at these two lineups. There’s going to be some scoring tonight.
Do keep in mind the Preds are winless in three road games this year.
Prediction: Take the Flyers to win. Play the over.
Oilers vs Blackhawks: Much like the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens, the Edmonton Oilers find themselves vastly below the mark where they want to be. The Oilers are 1-4-0 on the year, dropping four in a row, three at home.
Worse yet, injuries are starting to deplete their offense. Andrej Sekera will be out until December with a knee injury, as has been known for a while. Now, Drake Caggiula is out indefinitely with an undisclosed injury.
The biggest loss of all is Leon Draisaitl, the Oilers #2 option to Connor McDavid. He is also out indefinitely with a concussion and a swollen eye. That is a crushing blow.
Just to add to the frustration, the slumping Oilers are battling the Blackhawks in Chicago tonight.
They may be catching a break, though. The Hawks took a loss in St. Louis last night. Anton Forsberg will likely get the start, since Corey Crawford was in action last night. Forsberg’s NHL debut was a tough one in which he faced 43 shots from the Toronto Maple Leafs. He let in four, losing in overtime, but still looked impressively poised as a 24-year-old rookie.
The Oilers need a win, and they need one badly. They’ve had to call on their backup goaltender twice already this year to relieve Cam Talbot. They need to stabilize the defense.
Chicago has won five of their last six home games against the Oilers. So while circumstances may be on the Oilers’ side, history certainly is not.
Prediction: Take the Blackhawks to take advantage of the lackluster Oilers defense. Play the over.
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