The Friday before Christmas witnesses five games in the NHL. This week for Nardone’s Picks, I will go through each matchup and determine a winner. Last week I was 2 for 3, so hopefully I can get 100% this week. Let’s get this started.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2013:
ANAHEIM DUCKS at NEW JERSEY DEVILS-7:00 PM (PRIME, MSG PLUS)
The New Jersey Devils (14-15-6) try to defeat the Anaheim Ducks (24-7-5) for the second time this season in their final meeting. Their last game was November 20th where the Devils handed the Ducks one of their two home losses this season in overtime. The Ducks are 13-0-2 at home. Big matchups between elder stars Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne highlight tonight’s match. The Devils will play hard, but I think the Ducks will be able to win and get their third straight victory. PREDICTION: Anaheim 4 – New Jersey 2.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS at NEW YORK RANGERS-7:00 PM (MSG PLUS 2, MSG)
Sparks fly tonight between the two rivals of New York. The Rangers (16-17-2) look to keep the Islanders (9-19-7) down in the dumps, who have recorded 1-5-4 in their last 10 games. This is their second meeting out of five. The first meeting ended in a 3-2 victory for the Rangers as Benoit Pouliot scored with 6:14 left in the game. This will be a nice chance for the Islanders to put the Rangers in their place. I think the Islanders will win this big matchup on the road. PREDICTION: Islanders 6 – Rangers 3.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS at CAROLINA HURRICANES-7:00 PM (CSN-DC, FS-CR)
The Capitals (18-13-3) look to defeat the Hurricanes (14-13-7) for the first time this year in their third meeting. The big story of this game tonight is Alex Ovechkin. He is one goal away from reaching 400 career goals. Can he do it? I think so. Not only do I think he will score his 400th career goal, I think he is going to lead the team past the Hurricanes. PREDICTION: Washington 5 – Hurricanes 2.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS at CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS-8:00 PM (TSN, NHLN-US, CSN-CH, RDS2)
A strong matchup between the Canucks (20-11-6) and the Blackhawks (25-7-5) as the Canucks look to get revenge after a 2-1 loss to Chicago in late November. This is Vancouver’s first trip to the United Center this season. The Blackhawks haven’t played since their victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, while Vancouver lost last night 4-1 to the Dallas Stars. The Canucks will be too tired to get a win tonight. PREDICTION: Chicago 3 – Vancouver 1.
FLORIDA PANTHERS at WINNIPEG JETS-8:00 PM (TSN-JETS, FS-F)
The Panthers (14-17-5) and the Jets (15-16-5) are both struggling this season, but Florida is on a bit of a hot streak right now. They are 7-3-0 in their last 10, while Winnipeg is just 4-5-1. A big boost for Winnipeg is Zach Bogosian. The defenseman has been out since November 15th with a groin injury. The Jets have lost ten of the 15 games that Bogosian missed. Even though Bogosian will be back, I don’t think he will be on top of his game. PREDICTION: Florida 4 – Winnipeg 2.
Thanks for checking out my picks for tonight’s games. Check back daily for the best news around the league and check back next Friday for the next installment of Nardone’s Picks.