NHL free picks: Rangers vs. Avalanche, Senators vs. Kings
A pair of prime wagering opportunities present themselves in the late-night NHL window Wednesday. Here are our previews of the New York Rangers-Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators-Los Angeles Kings contests.
New York Rangers vs. Colorado Avalanche
New York Rangers
The surging Mika Zibanejad and his Rangers roll into the Pepsi Center to take on what could be a depleted Avalanche team. The Blueshirts are an appealing underdog wager here.
Zibanejad, who scored once in Tuesday’s victory over the Stars, became the fastest Ranger to reach 40 goals in a season (56 games). He has 10 goals and two assists in just five games this month. Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin combined for two goals and three assists when these clubs met earlier this season (Jan. 7), a 5-3 New York victory. The Blueshirts are 10-1 in their last 11 road games and 4-1 in their last five games played as the second half of a back-to-back.
Colorado could be forced to play without its two best skaters — forward Nathan MacKinnon and defenseman Cale Makar.
MacKinnon, the overwhelming team leader in goals (35) and assists (58), left Monday’s 3-1 loss to the Kings midway through the second period with a lower-body injury. Makar, who has been considered "day-to-day” for more than a week, hasn’t suited up since Feb. 29.
The losses of Andre Burakovsky, Mikko Rantanen, and Nazem Kadri have already been keenly felt for this club, as the Avs have managed just 2.47 goals per game over their last 17 contests.
Ottawa Senators vs. Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings carry a six-game win streak into their showdown with the Senators, and they look poised to reward their backers once more.
L.A. has outscored its foes 19-7 during the run, with five of those victories at Staples Center. Goaltenders Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen have combined to stop 193 of the last 200 shots they’ve faced (.965 save percentage). Forwards Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Alex Iafallo have produced a total of 19 points in their last six games. They should have success against the Senators’ 30th-ranked road defense (3.79 goals against per game).
Ottawa is a dismal 11-41 in their last 52 road games. Their 30th-ranked road offense (2.27 goals per game) is likely to struggle against the Kings’ seventh-rated home defense (2.61 goals against per game).