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NHL All-Star Game Primer Prediction, Odds and Picks

3x3 Format Returns, Skills Competitions Added

The NHL All-Star Game festivities have arrived. The Metropolitan and Pacific divisions have combined to win the last six contests. Claude Giroux, then a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, was named the MVP as the Metropolitan team topped the Central Division 5-3 a year ago.

A couple of situations emerged in the Pacific Division. Rookie Matty Beniers was supposed to be the representative for the Seattle Kraken. However, he is unable to take part and that leaves the Pacific Division leaders from Seattle without a representative. Bo Horvat was named to the team as he scored 31 goals for the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver traded Horvat to the New York Islanders earlier this week.

Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers - Ezra Shaw/AFP
Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers - Ezra Shaw/AFP

Injuries will keep Auston Mattews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tage Thompson of the Buffalo Sabres out of the festivities. They are being replaced by Aleksandar Barkov of the Florida Panthers and Rasmus Dahlin of the Buffalo Sabres. Chandler Stephenson of the Vegas Golden Knights is the injury replacement on the Pacific Division squad.

This will be the eighth All-Star appearance for Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals while Johnny Gaudreau of the Columbus Blue Jackets is in his seventh game overall and first with Columbus. Defenseman Erik Karlsson is also playing in his seventh game.

The NHL-leading Boston Bruins have the best NHL odds to win the Stanley Cup title at +500 followed by Colorado (+700) and Carolina (+900) according to the NHL playoff odds.

There are new events in the skills competition that will take advantage of the game being played in sun-drenched southern Florida. The Splash Shot challenge will take part on the beach, there will be a Tendy Tandem goaltending competition and a Pitch ‘n Puck event that will combine hockey and golf skills. The fastest skater, hardest shot, breakaway challenge and accuracy shooting event will continue.

Saturday’s three games will once again follow the 3×3 format utilized in overtime during the regular season as the headliner events during the weekend in Sunrise, Fla.

The Central Division All-Stars meet the Pacific Division squad at 3 p.m. ET, followed by the Metropolitan Division-Atlantic Division matchup at 4. The winners of the two games will play at 5. The games will be televised on ABC and streamed on ESPN+. There won’t be much rest for the participants as regular-play resumes with six games two days later.

Here is the look at the two All-Star semifinal games for those who bet online.

Let’s check the latest NHL news, stats, injury reports, and NHL lines. We’ve got plenty of NHL picks for you to consider.

  • Central Division vs Pacific Division

The Central Division squad features three defensemen and that matches the total of the other three games. Three players from the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche have been selected with linemates Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon joined by defenseman Cale Makar.

Dallas Stars winger Jason Robertson and Winnipeg defenseman Josh Morrissey are first-time All-Stars.

The Pacific Division is led by Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, the NHL’s leader with 41 goals and 92 points. Both goalies – Edmonton’s Stuart Skinner and Logan Thompson of the Vegas Golden Knights – are first-team participants as are Kevin Fiala of the Los Angeles Kings and Stephenson.

Expect to see plenty of McDavid and Leon Draisaitl playing together as the Oilers teammates are first and second in the NHL in scoring. This is McDavid’s sixth All-Star game appearance and the fourth for Draisaitl. Nazem Kadri of the Calgary Flames and Kevin Fiala of the Los Angeles Kings made the game in their first seasons with their new teams.

The total for the game is set at 12½ by the sportsbook. The Central Division is priced at -120 to win with the Pacific Division at even money.

  • Metropolitan Division vs Atlantic Division

There are seven first-time All-Stars for the Metropolitan Division. Goalies Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers and Ilya Sorokin of the New York Islanders are joined by All-Star newcomers Kevin Hayes of the Philadelphia Flyers, Brock Nelson of the Islanders, Andrei Svechnikov of the division-leading Carolina Hurricanes and the Rangers’ duo of Artemi Panarin and defenseman Adam Fox.

Nelson, Hayes, and Fox are joined by Gaudreau and Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils to give the Metropolitan Division five U.S.-born players. Don’t forget about Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, a former All-Star MVP.

For the Atlantic Division, former All-Star MVP David Pastrnak is joined by his Boston Bruins’ teammate Linus Ullmark, who leads the NHL in wins, goals-against average and save percentage. Ullmark is the only first-time All-Star on the roster. He will be joined in goal by Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy.

The Atlantic Division would have had three of the top scorers in the NHL if not for Thompson’s absence.

With brothers Jason and Travis Kelce playing for opposite teams in the Super Bowl, the NHL has its own sibling rivalry with Matthew Tkachuk and his brother Brady both set to play for the Atlantic Division squad.

The total for the game is set at 12. The Metropolitan Division is at -105 to advance to the championship game with the Atlantic Division at -125.

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