There is a little over three weeks left in the NHL regular season and while the majority of the eight postseason berths in each conference have been pretty much claimed, it is still anybody’s guess as to who will be playing who once the Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway in early April.
While there are a number of teams that have distinguished themselves through their play on the ice, this handicapping guide is only interested in the ones that have provided a highly profitable return for anyone who enjoys wagering on the games. It also includes a couple of free NHL picks for Friday’s slate of games.
The Top Three Money Makers
The Phoenix Coyotes trail Dallas by two points for the lead in the Pacific Division with a total of 81 points, but they have vaulted to the top of our list with an NHL-best +1791 return on the money line. The Coyotes have also been very profitable against the puck line with an overall record of 43-28. Phoenix is just 4-4-2 in its last 10 games but coming off a huge 5-4 victory over Vancouver on Wednesday as a 170 road underdog.
The team with the next best return on the money line at +1488 is the surging Pittsburgh Penguins. They have won nine straight games to close within six points of the Rangers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. As an added boost for this postseason push, Sidney Crosby is expected to make his return to the lineup on Thursday in a key matchup with New York. He missed the past 41 games with a head and neck injury.
The Nashville Predators currently hold the fifth playoff spot in the Western Conference with 89 points as a result of a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games. They are now 41-21-7 on the year. This recent run has the Predators ranked third in the league on the money line with a healthy return of +1406. They have also been profitable against the puck line at 37-32.
A few other teams that have provided a solid return on the money line include the Ottawa Senators at +1388, the Detroit Red Wings at +1295, the Winnipeg Jets at +1262, and the New York Rangers at +1073. The Carolina Hurricanes are in 13th-place in the East with 67 points, but they have the best record in the NHL against the puck line at 44-26.
Friday Night’s Free Picks
The Washington Capitals face-off against the Winnipeg Jets in a crucial battle for one of the few remaining playoff spots in the East. The Capitals are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and bring a four-game winning streak into this game. Winnipeg is 5-3-1 in its last 10 games and currently four points behind Washington with a total of 74 points.
These two have split the first four meetings this season 2-2 with each winning once on the road and once at home. Three of the meetings were one-goal games so you can expect another close battle this time around. Stick with Winnipeg to use the home ice to get a much needed win. The Free NHL Pick: Winnipeg 3 Washington 2
The second game of interest pits the Chicago Blackhawks against the Dallas Stars. Chicago has pieced together a 5-4-1 record in its last 10 games to hold onto the sixth playoff spot in the West with 84 points. The Blackhawks have struggled on the road at times this season and are14-18-3 overall. Dallas is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games and 4-1 in its last five home games. The Stars have gone 20-12-3 overall on its home ice.
Chicago has lost five of the last seven meetings overall and is 0-3 in its last three trips to Dallas. The Stars need every win they can get to hold onto a very tenuous two-point lead in the division and find a way to grind one out on Friday night against the Blackhawks. The Free NHL Pick: Dallas 2 Chicago 1
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.