With seven games on the schedule for tonight, including contests that feature three of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference, NHL fans will get a look at some high quality hockey. The Flyers attempt to rebound against the Bruins, the Capitals look to continue their winning streak against the Blues and the Canadiens try to take care of business against the lowly Oilers.
Edmonton Oilers at Montreal Canadiens
Montreal and Edmonton kick off the two-game season series in Montreal tonight. The Canadiens are the stronger team, and they are playing at home, making them the logical pick here. It is worth noting that the home team won both matchups between these teams last year. Carey Price is playing great hockey right now, and I see no reason why the Canadiens would not take care of business here.
Pick: Montreal 4, Edmonton 2
Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers
Philly faces off against the Bruins after a nice three-day hiatus. The last time the Flyers had this much time off, they beat Carolina, 8-1. Meanwhile, after a hot start, the Bruins seem to be cooling off. The Flyers return home and should get back on the right track. I expect Philadelphia to get the offense going regardless of who is in net.
Pick: Philadelphia 5, Boston 3
Nashville Predators at Columbus Blue Jackets
This is the toughest game of the night for me. On the one hand, Nashville has some momentum going, and seem to be playing with a sense of desperation, while the Jackets are coming off a pair of tough losses to the division rival Red Wings.
On the other hand, I think the Blue Jackets are the better team, and they are playing at home. Nashville is not great on the road (6-7), but Columbus is just 6-6 at home. I am going with Nashville here. They play great defense, and the Blue Jackets have struggled to generate offense recently, scoring just three goals in two games against the Wings.
Pick: Nashville 3, Columbus 1
Washington Capitals at St. Louis Blues
These two teams are heading in two different directions. The Capitals have won four straight, while the Blues have dropped seven of their last 10. In addition, the Blues had a tough loss against a rival last night, losing 7-5 to Chicago. I like Washington in a landslide here.
Pick: Washington 5, St. Louis 1
Phoenix Coyotes at Minnesota Wild
The Coyotes are in a tough spot here. They had a tough loss last night at the Predators, and now have to travel to Minnesota to play a physical Wild team that returns Pierre-Marc Bouchard to the lineup. That being said, Ilya Bryzgalov is a stellar 5-1-2 away from Phoenix this season, while Niklas Backstrom has struggled recently. Backstrom is too good not to get back on track.
Pick: Minnesota 3, Phoenix 2
Vancouver Canucks at Calgary Flames
The Canucks are on a roll right now, having won three in a row, including a 6-1 thrashing of the Sharks. They come into this contest rested and ready to roll against a rival Flames team that has been streaky lately. The Canucks are running into a hot goaltender however. Miikka Kiprusoff has a 94.8 save percentage in his last four games. I like the home underdog riding a strong goaltender in this contest.
Pick: Calgary 2, Vancouver 1
Florida Panthers at Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks have a lot going for them in this contest. They are in the thick of the Pacific Division race after taking down the Kings on Monday night, and they are playing at home. The Panthers, meanwhile, are not a strong team and have to travel coast to coast after losing three of their last four.
Pick: Anaheim 4, Florida 1