The race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs is in full gear and while a good majority of the teams are still jockeying for position in the middle of the pack there are a few that suddenly find themselves needing to string together some victories just to stay in the hunt.
The following is our three ‘best bets’ for this Friday night for NHL free picks with hockey odds provided by BetOnline.
Dallas Stars (105) vs. Buffalo Sabres (-125)
Total Line: 5.5
Dallas is 4-2 in its last six games, including a 4-2 victory over Columbus on Thursday night as a -113 road favorite, but this will be its third game in four nights. Overall the Stars are 28-23-2 and six points behind San Jose in the Pacific Division with a total of 58 points. They are 13-13 on the road and 25-28 against the puck line.
Buffalo is 4-1 in its last five games after losing its previous five. It is coming off a huge 6-0 shutout of Boston as a +146 home underdog on Wednesday night. The Sabres are 23-24-6 overall and a respectable 12-9-6 at home. They are a dismal 18-35 against the puck line and have been very costly on the money line at -2477.
These two have not met since October of last season, but the Sabres are 4-1 in the last five meetings. Stick with Buffalo to ride the momentum of Wednesday’s win over the Bruins against a Stars team that might be a bit road weary coming into this game.
Prediction: Buffalo 3, Dallas 1
Carolina Hurricanes (105) vs. Colorado Avalanche (-125)
Total Line: 5.5
Carolina is mired in last place in the Eastern Conference with 50 points and has an overall record of 20-25-10. It is 5-2-3 in its last 10 games overall, but just 2-10 in its last 12 games on the road. The Hurricanes are -322 on the money line, but a profitable 33-22 against the puck line.
Colorado is currently 12th in the Western Conference but just three points out of the eighth and final playoff spot. Tuesday night it snapped a five-game winless streak with a convincing 5-2 victory over Chicago as a +122 home underdog. It is now 27-25-3 on the year and 15-13-1 at home. The Avalanche are -808 on the money line and 30-25 against the puck line.
These two teams rarely play one another, but the Hurricanes have won two of the last three meetings with the total staying ‘under’ in the last two. Stick with Colorado to grind-out a much-needed win at home in what will be the fourth straight one-goal game between these two teams.
Prediction: Colorado 3, Carolina 2
Chicago Blackhawks (110) vs. San Jose Sharks (-130)
Total Line: 5.5
Chicago led the Western Conference in points earlier this season but continues to slide down the standings with three straight losses and a 3-5-2 record in its last 10 games. It is now in sixth place in the West with 65 points and has an overall record of 29-18-7. The Blackhawks have also fallen on the wrong side of the money line at -189 and are 23-31 against the puck line.
San Jose leads the Pacific Division with 64 points and has an overall record of 29-16-6 but is coming off back-to-back losses to Phoenix and Calgary. The Sharks are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games overall, but a solid 17-9-2 at home this year. They are 21-30 against the puck line and +297 on the money line.
The Blackhawks beat the Sharks twice at home this season, but lost to San Jose, 1-0, on Nov. 23 as +119 road underdogs. Both teams are in desperate need of a win, but Chicago has not beaten the Sharks on the road since the two met in the 2009-10 playoffs. Look for San Jose to extend this home winning streak to four.
Prediction: San Jose 4 , Chicago 2
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