NHL Ice Picks: Saturday March 20, 2021by Joel Dorcas March 20, 2021 0 comments
Sports fans rejoice! Spring is in the air! Major League Baseball is only a couple of weeks away, March Madness has launched and the NHL continues to power through a very unique schedule. We swept the board on our three picks last time out to bring the overall record to 20-12-1. Let’s continue picking winners for another full Saturday slate for this edition of Ice Picks.
Season record: 20-12-1
Betting Odds provided by Jazz Sportsbook. Please gamble responsibly.
Philadelphia Flyers at New York Islanders
The margin between these two is very tight, Thursday exemplified that once again. Philadelphia eeked out a tight 4-3 win in yet another one-goal contest between these battle-tested clubs. Philly has now won all three games this year by one score, two of them coming in overtime. It certainly hasn’t been smooth sailing for the fifth-placed Flyers. They are barely treading water over their last 10 winning just four contests. Goaltending continues to be a major problem. In the last five games, they have surrendered an average of 5.20 goals against. Whether it’s Carter Hart or Brian Elliott, it hasn’t been anywhere near good enough. While facing an average of just 24.6 shots per game, the two have combined for a laughable .789 save percentage.
The New York Islanders continue to grind out wins. They are 8-2 over their last 10 and will head into this one with a stellar 12-1-2 home record. It won’t be easy going forward. They will play the remainder of the regular season without team captain and power forward Anders Lee. Lee just recently had surgery to repair a torn ACL. Expect to hear more about young forwards Kieffer Bellows and Oliver Wahlstrom while Lee is out. The two will be counted to fill the void. They both have each found the back of the net three times in their last five games.
It is bound to be another close-knit game as both teams have plenty to play for. The Islanders are fighting for first in the division while the Flyers are fighting for the final playoff spot with the Boston Bruins. You can bet that Barry Trotz’s crew will be ready for this one as they have yet to crack the code versus Philly. We need to continue to fade Philadelphia until the goaltending gets sorted out. Take Long Island in a nice revenge spot.
Ice Pick: New York Islanders -140
Columbus Blue Jackets at Carolina Hurricanes
Speaking of revenge. Carolina will be looking for a bit of redemption after dropping a tight 3-2 O.T. contest to the scrappy Blue Jackets Thursday. The two teams have split their previous four games.
Columbus has been extremely underwhelming this season at 12-12-7 but is still within striking distance of a playoff spot. The underlying numbers show that they are a tad lucky to still be in contention. Seemingly they get outshot almost every game during five-on-five play. They carry a 48.36 shots for percentage and have given up 785 shots all told, fifth-worst in the league.
The far superior Carolina Hurricanes are amongst the league’s best yet again in Corsi percentage at 53.25 percent, third-best league-wide. They also rank in the top 10 in shots for percentage at 51.83 while allowing just 648 shots against. Carolina will look to get back to their winning ways after dropping two straight to lesser opponents in the Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings. Prior to the setbacks, the Canes had reeled off eight straight victories.
Carolina’s top trio of Nino Niederreiter, Sebastian Aho, and Martin Necas has paced the club of late. They each have at least eight points in their last 10 games. Aho has a team-leading seven goals over the span. Defensemen Dougie Hamilton has been a beast with a team-best 12 points(two goals, 10 assists) in the last 10 games. He also leads the Canes in shots on goal with 35 during the block of contests.
Columbus continues to get outplayed on most nights…no reason to expect them to right the ship here against the superior Hurricanes.
Ice Pick: Carolina Hurricanes -205
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