NHL Ice Picks: Tuesday, January 26by Joel Dorcas January 26, 2021 0 comments
We head into another week of gambling coming off a sweep Thursday to bring our record to 5-3. Tuesday’s card is absolutely jam-packed with 13 games. For this edition, the focus is on the ultra-competitive East Division. Join me again as we break down a couple of games that are likely to be very close.
Lace ’em up, it’s time for Ice Picks.
Season record: 5-3
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
New York Rangers at Buffalo Sabres – o6
The Buffalo Sabres finally got rewarded with a rebound victory against the Washington Capitals Sunday. They have been snake-bitten somewhat in the early going as more times than not they have out-chanced their opponents on any given night. Buffalo put up 48 shots in the victory, just an example of how they have been pushing the envelope offensively this year. All the advanced statistics suggest that the Sabres should be one of the league’s most elite offensive teams. They rank sixth in both expected goals and high-danger chances for. The over has hit in three of their last four contests. They will look to pounce on some subpar Ranger goaltending. Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev have combined for the 22nd-ranked 89.39 save percentage.
For the most part, the Blueshirts have been a disappointment in the early going. Most predicted that this talented squad would pick up where they left off last year. During the 2019-2020 campaign, they averaged a robust 3.33 goals per game, fifth-best in the NHL. As of Monday, they have averaged just 2.60 goals per contest. If shots on goal are any indicator the Rangers are due for some positive regression. They are averaging a fourth-best 33.2 shots per game. If they continue the trend of directing pucks on goal in this matchup they could be in for a big night. Buffalo’s goaltending has been shaky, they own a 23rd best save percentage of 89.02.
We could have a fun one here with these teams boasting plenty of offensive firepower. The Rangers are due for some breakthrough performances and the Sabres have excelled in creating offensive opportunities consistently since the get-go. To me, this game has a back-and-forth 4-3 feeling to it. Take the over.
Philadelphia Flyers -135 at New Jersey Devils
The Flyers got trounced in the second of back-to-backs against the Boston Bruins. Game one was a 5-4 overtime defeat. The most recent setback was an embarrassing 6-1 loss in which they mustered just 17 shots on net. Carter Hart got shelled for six goals against on 26 shots. He is now 2-2-1 with a nasty 4.18 GAA in the early going. Conversely, Brian Elliott looks great with a 1.31 and a .964 save %. The Flyers will be ready for this one, they are too good of a club to get pushed around the way they did just a few nights ago. The numbers suggest this as well; they are 6-0 in their last six following a loss of three or more goals. Dating back to last year, Philly has taken two of the last three games from Jersey.
The Devils continue to surprise us and defy the odds in the very early going. All the advanced stat metrics point to some regression in the near future. They rank 19th in CORSI at 49.06 percent, 24th in scoring chance for percentage (46.39), and 2nd-last in high danger for percentage (39.76). The key to New Jersey squeezing out victories has been the high-caliber play of number one netminder Mackenzie Blackwood. He has put up a fantastic .948 save percentage along with a 1.90 GAA. New Jersey will have to turn to backup Scott Wedgewood as Blackwood has landed on the COVID-19 protocol list. Wedgewood has been very good in the two games he has played.
At some point, the Devils will come back to earth. They have played well above expectations and the numbers suggest they can’t continue to win while getting outplayed on most nights. The Flyers will be the hungrier team here as they need to get back on track sooner than later. Take Philly on the money line.