Kent Tukeli | Wed 24/01/2018 - 03:19 EST

NHL Week 17 Predictions

NHL Week 17 Predictions

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Toronto Maple Leafs at Chicago Blackhawks

Pick: Chicago Blackhawks SU (-110)

United Center – Wednesday, January 24th 8:00 PM EST

Injuries

Blackhawks – Corey Crawford

Maple Leafs – Nikita Zaitsev, Morgan Rielly

Projected Starting Goaltenders

Maple Leafs – Frederik Andersen

Blackhawks – Jeff Glass


Maple Leafs vs Blackhawks Preview

The Toronto Maple Leafs already quit their new year resolutions, developing a distressing habit of allowing opponents to earn comeback victories.

Toronto’s lost five of their last six games, including a trio of overtime losses. Even worse, the Leafs lost these home games before they hit the road against intense competition. Toronto’s playing two road games on two consecutive days, making this match against the Blackhawks vital. The Leafs don’t want to go into Dallas with another loss, forced to win on short rest against a dangerous squad.

Chicago’s 4-5-1 over their last ten, losing three in a row before hosting the Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. The Blackhawks were shutout by the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Detroit Red Wings, also losing a 7-3 blowout to the New York Islanders.

Chicago’s hovering on the edge of oblivion, seven points out of a Wild Card spot and 19 points out of third place in the Central Division. Home advantage will be key – the last time Toronto beat the Blackhawks in Chicago was February 12, 2003.

Starting Goaltender Update And Prediction

The Toronto Maple Leafs will return to Frederik Andersen (23-13-3, 2.69 GAA, .920 SV%) for yet another start, while Jeff Glass (3-3-1, 3.17 GAA, .909 SV%) will protect the goal for Chicago. Clearly, the goaltending advantage will favor the Leafs.

Toronto missing two of their top defenseman in Rielly and Zaitsev will require a perfect Andersen and the rest of the Maple Leafs to step up in their absence. If Corey Crawford were healthy, the straight up line would be much more expensive than -110, given Toronto’s thin defense.

Since Toronto hasn’t won in Chicago for nearly 15 years, the straight up line for the Blackhawks will be recommended.

Maple Leafs vs Blackhawks Results

Toronto defeated Chicago in overtime with a 3-2 victory, winning in the Windy City for the first time since 2003, before the iPhone was invented.


Buffalo Sabres at Vancouver Canucks

Pick: Vancouver Canucks Puckline (-1.5, +185)

Rogers Arena - Thursday, January 25th, 10:00 PM EST

Injuries

Sabres – Justin Bailey, Zach Bogosian, Nathan Beaulieu

Canucks – None.

Projected Starting Goaltenders

Sabres – Robin Lehner

Canucks – Jacob Markstrom


Sabres vs Canucks Preview

The Buffalo Sabres have lost four in a row to the Canucks, and Vancouver has beaten Buffalo in seven of their last nine meetings. Bo Horvat recently returned to the Canucks lineup, which will be a big boost to the squad before the all-star break. Vancouver did their best to survive without Horvat, but sunk out of playoff contention while Bo was mending a broken ankle. Losers in six of their last ten games, the Canucks want to finish on an upswing entering the all-star break.

Buffalo will finish their western Canada road trip in Vancouver before enjoying some time off. The Sabres look forward to another lottery pick in 2018, preferably number one overall. This team has given up four or more goals in six of seven January defeats, including four puckline losses.

After playing a pair of games on Monday and Tuesday, Buffalo will likely feel weary entering their third game in four nights. Vancouver might enjoy a breakout offensive night on Thursday.

Starting Goaltender Update And Prediction

The Sabres will go to Robin Lehner (10-18-6, 2.96 GAA, .910 SV%), who is fresh off a 33-save shutout against the Edmonton Oilers. Vancouver’s confirmed that Jacob Markstrom (13-15-5, 2.74 GAA, .909 SV%) will start, with his latest game a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

Buffalo might look good after dissecting the Oilers, but the shame’s more on Edmonton for letting the worst team in the eastern conference run wild. Vancouver’s returned to firing on all cylinders with Bo Horvat back in the lineup, looking to extend their winning streak against the Sabres to five games. Buffalo’s dropped seven of their last nine against the Canucks, including five puckline defeats. Expect the trend to repeat.

Sabres vs Canucks Results

Available after game day.


Calgary Flames at Edmonton Oilers

Pick: Calgary Flames SU (+115)

Rogers Place - Thursday, January 25th, 9:00 PM EST

Injuries

Flames – Michael Frolik, Kris Versteeg, Jaromir Jagr

Oilers – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Projected Starting Goaltenders

Flames – David Rittich

Oilers – Cam Talbot


Flames vs Oilers Preview

The Battle of Alberta continues in Edmonton on Thursday night, as the Oilers host the Calgary Flames for a game with playoff implications. More so for the Oilers, who must play catchup to return within striking range of the postseason. Edmonton’s 12 points behind the Avalanche for the Wild Card, but 11 points away from the Flames for third place in the Atlantic Division. A win to reduce the gap to nine points would be huge for Edmonton heading into the all-star weekend.

Fortunately for the Oilers, Calgary can’t seem to buy a win against Edmonton lately. The Flames have lost six in a row to Edmonton, including a 3-0 defeat in October and a 7-5 barnburner in December. However, these losses were before Calgary ignited in 2018.

After a seven-game win streak, the Flames lifted themselves alongside Winnipeg in the discussion for the best Canadian team in the NHL. Edmonton will enjoy home and historical advantage, but the Flames haven’t sustained this level of quality play in years.

Starting Goaltender Update And Prediction

On the second night of a back-to-back, the Calgary Flames will give Mike Smith a break before his all-star appearance, starting backup David Rittich (4-1-1, 2.03 GAA, .932 SV%), who recently won the gig over Eddie Lack. The Oilers workhorse Cam Talbot (17-17-2, 3.15 GAA, .901 SV%) will start, looking to return to form after getting pulled against the Sabres in his last outing.

Edmonton’s loss was shocking because the team appeared to simply give up, ending a three-game win streak which included Vegas, Vancouver and Arizona. Calgary’s lost a trio of 2-1 overtime results after winning seven games in a row, suggesting that they’re loss streak isn’t necessarily because of terrible hockey. A positive moneyline for a team on the rise is a good opportunity, so pick the Flames straight up.

Flames vs Oilers Results

Available after game day.

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