My first NHL Best Bet of the Week takes place this Friday when Pittsburgh travels to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning. Then on Saturday, Minnesota heads to Nashville to take on the Predators. The Predators are a much different team at home than they are on the road. The Rangers travel to Washington to take on the Capitals this Sunday in what should be one of the best games of the week.
A Closer Look At Hockey’s Best Bets Jan 11-17
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay
When: Friday, Jan. 15
Pittsburgh and Tampa almost have the same record going into this week. Both the Penguins and the Lightning are borderline playoff teams in the Eastern Conference. Every game from here on out is important for both teams.
In this battle on Friday, Pitt has the edge. The last time that these 2 teams faced off, the Penguins beat the Lightning 6 to 3. The Lightning should be better at home, but Pittsburgh takes on Carolina on Tuesday, Jan. 12. The Penguins should be able to use the lowly Hurricanes as a warm-up for this key battle on Friday. I like the Penguins at what should be better than fair odds.
Minnesota at Nashville
When: Saturday, Jan. 16
Minnesota is sort of like their football team. They always hang around and make the playoffs, but they never really win anything. Will that change this season? If it’s too change, the Wild will have to beat teams like Nashville on the road.
Nashville is an interesting squad. It has a terrible road record at 7-10-4 but an excellent home record at 12-6-2-1. The Predators aren’t better than Minnesota but they did beat the Wild 3 to 2 in a home game on Dec. 19. That was the last time that these 2 teams played against each other. I’m expecting the same kind of result on Saturday.
NY Rangers at Washington
When: Sunday, Jan. 17
This week’s marquee game in the NHL pits the 23-14-3-2 to start the week Rangers against the best team in the NHL by record to start the week Washington Capitals. The Caps are a blistering 32-7-2-1. At home, the Caps are 16-3-1-0. Washington isn’t just an offensive team either. While they are ranked second in the NHL with 3.3 goals per match, they are also ranked second in the NHL in goals allowed at 2.1 per match.
Washington is terrific. But the Caps needed overtime to beat the Rangers the last time that they faced them. That game was on Jan. 9. Since Washington is going to be a big favorite, it makes sense for me to put a few bucks on the dog. New York is good enough to beat the Caps while Washington might be due for a letdown game.
Pick: NY Rangers