NHL Ice Picks: Saturday March 27, 2021by Joel Dorcas March 27, 2021 0 comments
The stars have aligned nicely for these games tonight to be very competitive. You can easily make the argument that every game on the evening docket is settled by just one goal. This makes for entertaining viewing but for the sakes of selecting a winner on these matches, maybe we should be tackling just totals. Nonetheless, let’s put our hockey brain in gear and breakdown our select favorites.
Season record: 21-13-1
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Florida Panthers at Dallas Stars
Florida is in a bit of a funk. They will look to get back on track Saturday night in Dallas. The Panthers got swept by the Chicago Blackhawks and also lost one to the Tampa Bay Lightning and have now lost three straight. The big story is whether Aleksander Barkov will be healthy enough to suit up. He is currently nursing a lower-body injury. Even without the big man in the lineup, Florida is still out-shooting the opposition. They held the edge in shots on goal in every one of the losses. They are just 5-5 in their last 10 games. The underlying numbers suggest they are a bit unlucky. They have a 93-73 advantage in high danger chances.
Dallas continues to stay somewhat afloat despite the numerous injuries and the games they had to miss because of Covid. They will face a very condensed schedule to fit in 56 games. Moneypuck.com has them at a 30.5 percent chance to make the playoffs. Tyler Seguin will remain out until late April and they will now be without one of their better offensive weapons, Alexander Radulov who is expected to be out an extended period of time with a lower-body injury.
In the previous three games between these teams, Florida holds a two to one advantage. The under has hit every game. This should be one of the many tight contests we have tonight. The slight edge has to be given to the more consistent Panthers despite the recent struggles. Side with the Panthers to snap the mini skid.
Ice Pick: Florida Panthers -105
Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks
The Hawks have shown us some resilience with two big home wins against the highly skilled Panthers. They previously endured a tough four-game losing skid before the pair of victories. They go into this contest still locked into the final playoff spot in the Central Divison. Many have them pegged to take a negative turn down the stretch run. Looking at their previous 10 games, and it’s easy to put them as a team headed for negative regression. They have given up 237 scoring chances and 95 high danger chances both rank 25th over the time period.
The Predators have played better of late, 6-3-1 in their last 10. They are now somehow just four points away from the Hawks after being somewhat of a laughing stock for most of the year. The numbers are not much better than Chicago for giving up scoring chances despite the nice run. They are 20th in scoring chances allowed with 210, and a 17th ranked 84 high danger chances against. Goaltender Juuse Saros has been the backbone and the driving force recently posting a .942 save percentage while securing six wins in 10 starts. Hawks goaltender Kevin Lankinen is also a huge reason in Chicago maintaining its hold on fourth place. He has a season-long .920 save percentage and will be coming off a dominant performance. Lankinen stopped all 41 Panther shots on the 25th.
This will mark just the third contest between the two. Nashville has narrowly edged the Hawks twice in extra time to date. My money will be on the Blackhawks in this spot at home where they have been much better (9-4-2). The competition for the fourth spot is tight but Chicago has an opportunity to maintain its position in this very important game.
Ice Pick: Chicago -130
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