For the first time ever we released five Free NHL Picks last night and came out on the winning end by going 3-2 on the night. The night started off with a bang as the Islanders and Sabres went OVER the 5.5 total thanks to a tying goal from Anders Lee at the midway point of the third period, but our pick of the Islanders to win was sank when Sam Reinhart bagged the winner with about four minutes to play. The Lightning handled the visiting Canucks nicely with a thorough 5-2 victory, giving us a nice -1.5 win at +110. Disaster struck shortly thereafter as the Wild blew a 3-0 lead at home to the last place Coyotes and would go on to lose 4-3 in overtime. That one hurt. However, we would finish off the night with a Stars’ 4-2 victory in Chicago to go 3-2 on the night and pick up a 0.90 unit profit in the process. There are eight games on this Friday evening as we have a pair of picks going with our write-up featuring the Canucks vs. Hurricanes.
Season Record: 72-58
Canucks vs. Hurricanes NHL Pick – February 9th
OUR PICK: CANUCKS (+180) *Risking 1 unit to win 1.80 units*
For the second and final time this season the Canucks and Hurricanes go head-to-head with Vancouver winning the previous matchup by a 3-0 score in Vancouver.
Very rarely do we ever go with this big of an underdog with our Free NHL Picks, however we couldn’t resist this one tonight. While the Canucks have dropped three in a row entering play tonight, there is reason for hope in Carolina. They are playing on back-to-back nights tonight and with Anders Nilsson getting the start last night, it’s No.1 goaltender Jacob Markstrom going tonight in Carolina. Markstrom sports a solid .912 Sv% over his last six starts and most recently turned aside 37 of 39 shots in a tough-luck loss to a good home offensive team in Florida. The last time Markstrom faced the Hurricanes he produced that 3-0 shutout victory, turning aside all 30 shots he faced. Surprisingly, the Canucks have been lethal on the power play on the road this season. Only the Pittsburgh Penguins own a higher mark than the Canucks and their 24.7% clip on the power play away from home. The Canucks’ top line of Sven Baertschi, Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser have combined for 50 goals in just 130 games this season with 21 of those goals coming on the power play. The Canucks should be able to capitalize again tonight against the Hurricanes and their 79.1% mark on the penalty kill, good for 21st.
Simply put, the Hurricanes are not a good enough team to be in the -200 range, especially with the way they’ve performed lately. Carolina’s offense has produced just one goal in each of their last three games, all ending in losses. Furthermore, their offense has produced just one goal in six of their last ten games while they’ve averaged a measly 1.90 goals per game during that stretch. The Hurricanes have the NHL’s 28th-ranked home offense at just 2.42 goals per game. Defensively they haven’t been too bad lately, but Scott Darling is getting the nod in goal tonight and he’s had a rough season and an even rougher stretch as of late. On the season, Darling sports a 3.06 GAA to go along with an .892 Sv%. Furthermore, over his last seven outings, Darling has posted an atrocious .853 Sv%. He’s 9-14-6 for the campaign.
Again, we don’t go with big dogs like this often, but we see plenty of value in the Canucks tonight. They have the goaltending advantage and their road power play has been dynamite. They are also 8-1-0 over their last nine against the Hurricanes. It will likely be a close game, but we love the value the Canucks are yielding tonight on the road.
PIT @ DAL OVER 5.5 (-120)