Vancouver Canucks @ Nashville Predators Free NHL Pick 2/21/12
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Vancouver’s 5-2 win on the road at the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday was a great start to a long six-game road trip. The team has now netted 11 goals in its last two games, and it has four straight wins and at least one point in 13 games in a row. As a result, the Canucks are running away with the Northwest Division, where they are 17 points up with 23 games to play, but more importantly, they are just two points behind the aforementioned Red Wings for the top record in the Western Conference. Vancouver ranks third in the league in total offense at 3.2 goals per game, though with a six-goal outburst on Tuesday, it would become the first team in the league to net 200 goals for the year. Henrik Sedin has assisted on 51 of those goals, and he is the team’s leader with 64 points. His twin, Daniel Sedin has 26 goals and 35 assists though, and it right on his heels. A total of eight players have at least 11 goals on this team, something that hardly anyone else in the league can say.
The Predators are more or less that team that everyone is forgetting about in the Western Conference, and more specifically the Central Division. The Detroit Red Wings are winning all of these games at home, while the St. Louis Blues are the upstarts that are right on their heels. The Chicago Blackhawks are the team struggling at the moment that everyone expects to turn the corner at some point. And then there are the Preds, stuck in the middle of it all with 74 points. They have the fourth best record in the West, though they would be in the No. 5 hole if the playoffs were to start today, and they have one of the most unheralded net minders in the game in Pekka Rinne. Rinne hasn’t been all that great in close games of late, but he does have 32 of the team’s 34 wins this year. Nashville has played in six straight one goal games, and it only has two wins and two OT losses in that bunch, but these next four games are at home, where it is a stellar 18-7-4 this season.
Vancouver Canucks @ Nashville Predators Pick: Vancouver probably isn’t going to keep winning all of these games on the road, and this is a prime spot for it to fall in a very excusable game. The Predators are legit, and we look for Rinne to come up with a great effort on Tuesday night to lead his team to victory.
Free Hockey Pick: Nashville Predators
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