Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:45 AM EST.
7:05 PM EST. OT included. The collective bargaining agreement states that teams must be off for the FULL three-days during the holiday break. That means no practices and also means no flying to their destination the day before. In other words, all visitors flew to their respective destinations early Thursday morning but that does not appear to give an edge to other side, as the visitors won seven out of 10 games last season in the day after the break but the host won six of nine the year before.
Perhaps what is more notable is that the Jackets will host the Maple Leafs tomorrow night and could certainly be looking more forward to that one than this one. The Jackets stock is soaring also. Columbus is coming off a 3-0 victory over the Devils just before the break but pretty it was not, as the Jackets were badly outplayed, badly outshot, 37-19, and they were out-chanced too. It wasn’t just that game either, as the Jackets beat Philadelphia, 4-3 the game prior and were badly outplayed in that one too, losing every statistical battle by a wide margin. Over their last two games, both wins, the Jackets have been outshot by a combined, 76-39. Columbus has now won four in a row and five of six. However, the Jackets have scored two goals or less in five of their past eight games and we might catch them a little complacent and flat here after the break and after a couple of undeserving wins.
By contrast, the Rangers have dropped two in a row and five of six but they have scored three goals or more in seven of their past eight. In other words, the Jackets are scoring two goals and winning some games while the Rags are scoring three and losing. There is a correction coming to both sides. Of course, we always have to hope that the Rangers erratic goaltending comes up with something good but regardless, the Rangers come to play every night, they’re healthier now than they’ve been all year and we absolutely love the direction and overall chemistry that this team has shown. We’re calling them undervalued and a team to keep an eye on as a live dog the rest of the way.
PLEASE NOTE: We'll have more NHL games posted later today after goaltender updates.
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N.Y. RANGERS +125 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.50)