Friday Night Free Hockey Picks
Free Pro Hockey Picks - October 28

Friday NHL Picks: Detroit to stop San Jose streak, Carolina to bounce back against Chicago

The Central Division rivalry between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks takes centre stage on Friday night as the Red Wings look to bounce back after two defeats when they host the San Jose Sharks, and the Chicago Blackhawks aim to stay ahead of the Red Wings with a win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

San Jose Sharks at Detroit Red Wings 7:30 pm EDT 

Betting Analysis: After a slow start to the season – one win in the first four games – the Sharks seemingly found their mojo with a 4-3 win over New Jersey Devils last Friday and haven’t looked back since. Now riding a three-game winning streak, capped on Tuesday night with a 3-1 away victory over the Nashville Predators, the San Jose Sharks will aim to make if four in a row at the hallowed Joe Louis Arena.

The Sharks can upset the Red Wings at home because...

The San Jose Sharks 4-3-0 (Road: 3-1-0) have been better on the road than they have been at home, where they are a measly 1-2-0 on the season, but bearing in mind that they were an excellent road team last season, this traveling form is just a continuation of where they left off.

Don’t be fooled by their overall record, which puts them 20thoverall in the league and 11th overall in the Western Conference.  Clearly, through the last three games, the Sharks have been playing as a bona fide playoff contender.
In the off-season, the offensive line was revamped and although the Sharks started the season with a 6-3 win over Phoenix, this frontal makeover needed time to really gel – case-and-point: three straight losses following the victory over Phoenix. Since then, they won three in a row and Joe Pavelski leads the team with 8 points (six goals and two assists) while Joe Thornton nips at his heels with six points (1 goal and five assists), four of which were gained in the last four games. Right wing Martin Havlat is yet to score for his new team but has three assists; surely, it’s only a matter of time before the talented Czech finds his scoring arm.

Detroit Red Wings can win because...

Jimmy Howard is reportedly back and assumed to be starting the game on Friday – a fact that has to inject confidence into their odds to win over the Sharks. Howard has been flawless so far, with a 4-0-0 start for the Red Wings and a solid 1.72 GAA and .933 save percentage.

True, the Red Wings are on a two-game losing streak going into Friday’s game but that’s entirely down to journeyman goalie Ty Conklin, who was called to duty when Howard had to rush to his wife’s bedside for the birth of their son James on Sunday.

Now that Howard appears to be back, why bring up ancient history. No need to talk about those disgusting defeats. I mean, why talk about the 7-1 debacle against the Washington Capitals or the subsequent inexplicable 4-1 defeat to a winless Columbus Blue Jackets when it’s down to Conklin being in net. Wipe the slate clean and start over with the Red Wings as deserved home favourites.

Pick: Expect the Red Wings to play better than they did in front of Conklin with Howard back in the posts and to take the win. The San Jose Sharks are not a team to go down without a fight, so I expect it to be a close game, one or two-goal margin. Finally, when two offensive-minded and big-hitting teams battle for the win the game could easily go ‘Over’ on the totals.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Betting Analysis: The Carolina Hurricanes take an unimpressive 3-3-3 mark on the season into their next game, a clash against the former Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, who boast a solid 5-1-2 mark, which includes a (shootout) win over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night that saw them move ahead of the Red Wings in the Central Division.

The Canes might win because...

The Carolina Hurricanes have see-sawed their way through the first nine games of the season, losing the first three, winning the next three and losing the last three. If this trend were any indication they are due to start another three-game winning streak. Of course, such an unequivocal approach can’t be taken to hockey betting or, for that matter, to a team’s form.  
Then there is home form, which is typically a plus for any side. In the Canes case, it amounts to a 1-1-1 mark on the season. Let’s face it, that is rather mediocre and hardly revealing of what is to come down the stretch.

The Chicago Blackhawks must win because...

The Blackhawks are enjoying top spot in the Central Division right now and while it is early in the season it is the best spot to be in and don’t they know it. Last year, they barely squeaked into the playoffs and we all know how that run ended. Speaking of which, is it any surprise that the Blackhawks welcomed back on to the roster 2010 Stanley Cup winning teammates Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd?

You can bet the Blackhawks will be looking to maintain the edge in their division by going for the win in Carolina. The way the Canes have been playing is not going to inspire any fear in the audacious Blackhawks. Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Dave Bolland and Jonathan Toews have been racking up the points at will, combining for 33 in total and I don’t even think this will be a tight game. Look for the Blackhawks to blow out the Canes; take the Over.