The Holiday season is obviously in full force along with sports action, so I have 3 NHL Free Picks of the Week that will be done by the weekend putting a smile on your face and money in your pocket. We are taking this from the Wild through the Hurricanes all the way to San Jose, California where the Sharks are going to feast!
NHL Free Picks The Week Before Christmas
Minnesota Wild (18-8-4) at Montreal Canadiens (20-7-4)
When: Thursday, Dec. 22 at 7:30 pm ET
Where: Bell Centre (21,273 capacity) – Montreal, Canada
Analysis: Montreal bounced back strong after a pair of defeats at home when they traveled to beat the Washington Capitals and move their record to 5-3-2 in their last 10 games.
Some people use anger to their advantage, and goaltender Carey Price seems to be one of them as demonstrated Saturday night in a 2-1 victory. He was pulled the night before and turned his anger into defense by rejecting 20 of 21 shots that came at him to end the Capitals’ 6 game winning streak.
The problem they will have is their opponent the Minnesota Wild has a streak of 7 straight wins while scoring at least 3 goals in the last 6 games. The Wild have Colorado at home on Tuesday, but you can bet they’re coming in Thursday with 8 in a row and leaving Montreal with a loss.
Pick: Montreal by 2 goals
Boston Bruins (17-13-3) at Carolina Hurricanes (13-11-7)
When: Friday, Dec. 23 at 7:30 pm ET
Where: PNC Arena (18,680 capacity) – Raleigh, North Carolina
Analysis: The Bruins scoring has been handled for the most part by David Pastrnak who is a stud and second only to Sidney Crosby in NHL goals, but he will probably be out. He just had right elbow surgery to remove an olecranon bursa (whatever that is) and will miss at least 2 games but I am saying at least 2 more than that.
The Hurricanes may be the strongest home team in the NHL, and you can bet this is a spot they will shine with Pastrnak out. The key to Carolina being a stronger team is they have an offense that is better and keeps showing improvement. Stick with them here.
Pick: Carolina Hurricanes
Edmonton Oilers (16-12-5) at San Jose Sharks (19-12-1)
When: Friday, Dec. 23 at 10:30 pm ET
Where: SAP Center at San Jose (17,562 capacity) – San Jose, California
Analysis: Edmonton is a little better on the road at 8-5-4 this year. They are 6-3-1 in last 10 and 3rd place in the Western Pacific. They have the top scorer in the NHL in Connor McDavid with 39 points so far but he is in a bit of a funk. He only has 1 assist and no goals in the Oilers’ last 4 games to start the week.
San Jose just had a 4 game winning streak snapped by the Chicago Blackhawks when they collapsed in the 3rd period. After going ahead 1-0 the Sharks were tied after 2 periods and allowed 3 goals in the final period to end their chances at sweeping win number 4 on the road.
It appears the 4 games on the road wore the Sharks down, but now that they are back at home I expect them to rebound. The Oilers will be coming in on their 3rd road game in 5 days with McDavid in a mini-slump, and I expect San Jose to improve on an impressive 10-4-0 record at home this year. The Sharks are better at home this year and they are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games.
Pick: San Jose Sharks