Who wins in a rematch between San Jose and Pittsburgh this Thursday? Can Auston Matthews and Toronto take down preseason Stanley Cup favorites Chicago on Saturday? Will Pittsburgh be able to stand up to Nashville on the road in Tennessee on Oct. 22? Keep reading for my NHL Picks of the Week!
NHL Picks Oct 17-23
San Jose at Pittsburgh
When: Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7:00 pm ET
Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
Analysis: So far in this young season, the San Jose Sharks have looked very good. The Sharks won their first 2 games of the season. They beat L.A. 2 to 1in their first game. In their second game, they beat Columbus 3 to 2.
But San Jose faces the defending champs after taking on the Rangers and the Islanders on the road this week. Will San Jose be able to do enough on offense and defense in order to beat Pittsburgh?
Pitt’s record is also 2 and 0 after beating Washington and Anaheim. Although the Pens will be tough, without Sidney Crosby, he has a concussion, San Jose’s excellent defense could hold Pitt to 1, maybe, 2 goals at the most. I’m calling the upset.
Pick: San Jose
Toronto at Chicago
When: Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7:00 pm ET
Where: United Center, Chicago IL
Analysis: After scoring 4 goals in his first ever NHL game the Boston Bruins blanked rookie Auston Matthews in Toronto’s second game. Maybe, that was a good thing, right? When Matthews scored the 4 goals, the Maple Leafs lost 4 to 5 in overtime to Ottawa. After scoring 0 goals, the Leafs beat Boston 4 to 1.
Facing Chicago is tough task for Matthews and the Maple Leafs this Saturday. The preseason Stanly Cup favorites are 1 and 2 after opening the season at 0 and 2. That’s okay because Chicago’s win, a 5 to 3 smack down of Nashville on Oct. 15, gave every indication that they’ll be a force this season.
Matthews and Toronto face Winnipeg and Minnesota on the road before battling Chicago. I have to side with the Blackhawks.
Pittsburgh at Nashville
When: Saturday, Oct. 22 at 8:00 pm ET
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
Analysis: Speaking of Nashville, the Predators host the Penguins this Saturday at the Birdgestone Arena after taking on Colombus, Montreal on the road, and San Jose on Thursday. At least Pitt gets that extra day of rest before taking on the Preds.
In 2 games, the Predators’ defense hasn’t looked that great. Nashville allows 3.5 goals per match. That’s not a great average. It especially isn’t great when facing the defending Stanley Cup Champions. But the Penguins’ star player, Sidney Crosby, is listed as out indefinitely due to a concussion.
Even if Crosby plays, I think that the raucous fans at Bridgestone Arena pick up the Predators. I’m going with Nashville to win this match on Oct. 22.