NHL Lock Picks Opening Week 2016Josh Bailey
The 2016-2017 NHL Season is here! The season starts on Wednesday, October 12th. Come back every week for my NHL lock picks.
NHL Lock Picks Opening Week 2016
Who has the better team from New York when the Islanders battle the Rangers on Thursday? Does Anaheim have any shot of taking down the Stanley Cup champs on the road on Saturday? Can Chicago prove that it should be the Cup favorites against Nashville in another top Saturday game?
NY Islanders at NY Rangers
When: Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7:00 pm ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Analysis: The great Henrik Lundqvist is back in goal for the NY Rangers this season. High point scorer Mats Zuccharello is back as well. The talented wing will try desperately to get the Rangers back to the playoffs where they hope they’ll do much better in 2016 in the playoffs against the Penguins than they did last April when losing 4 out of 5 games.
In this battle on Thursday at Madison Square Garden, all eyes will be on the Islanders’ Andrew Ladd who will be counted on to develop playing next to the great John Tavares. Ladd is supposed to take the place of RW Kyle Okposo who was the Islanders’ second leading point scorer last season.
The odds are going to favor the Rangers. But I’ll take a shot with the Islanders in this game. Lundqvist didn’t look great during the World Cup of Hockey about a month ago. He’s a year older while the Islanders appear on the cusp of having a contending team.
Pick: NY Islanders
Anaheim at Pittsburgh
When: Saturday, Oct. 15 at 7:00 pm ET
Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
Analysis: The 2015 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins host top West Coast team Anaheim in what could end up being the most exciting NHL matchups on Saturday. The Pens are under double-digits to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Sidney Crosby was just voted as the top player in NHL in a TSN poll.
None of that may matter against Anaheim. The Mighty Ducks were good last season. They should be good this season with Ryan Getzlaf, their top-scorer, back at center and Jonathan Bernier in goal.
But it’s hard to back Anaheim against Pittsburgh in this Saturday battle. It should take the Ducks a few weeks to gel. The Penguins should have no trouble winning this match.
Nashville at Chicago
When: Saturday, Oct. 15 at 8:30 pm ET
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
Analysis: Nashville figures to take a step back after their surprising playoff run in 2015. The Predators have gotten long in the tooth. If I’m wrong, they’ll stick with Chicago in this Saturday battle at the United Center.
If I’m right, this could be a -1.5 goalie line wager on the Blackhawks. Chicago is the favorite at 6 to 1 to win the Stanley Cup in 2016. The issues that they dealt with in 2015 are in the rearview mirror. I think the Blackhawks make a statement in this Saturday battle versus Nashville.
I like the Blackhawks to win this by at least 2 goals.
Pick: Chicago -1.5 goal line