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NHL Picks – Rundown For Thursday, April 22nd

Posted by Don Melrose on 4/21/2010 2:23:49 PM

Philadelphia Flyers @ New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils were a sleeper pick in the Eastern Conference for many online betting cappers but as they return home for Game 5 against the Ray Emery-less and Michael Leighton-less Flyers, the Devils find themselves in a 3-1 hole.

The Devils are on the brink of their third straight first-round loss and the only way to change that is to win three in a row against a team that has won eight of the last 10 meetings. Going by historical statistics, the Devils have less than a 10% chance to pull it off.

The main issue for New Jersey has been goal scoring. Even though the Flyers are without their top two netminders, Brian Boucher has held them to just four goals in the Flyers three wins. The Flyers have used their pressuring offense to keep the Devils on their heels, which has kept New Jersey from getting their offense going.

Back at home in Game 5, the Devils will come up with their best effort to date. But even so, they are just delaying the inevitable.

Pick: Devils

Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins

The Ottawa Senators stunned the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 and paid a pretty penny as an underdog in the sportsbook, but they haven’t done much since.

The Penguins have owned this series since that point and their 7-4 win on Tuesday gives you an idea of where momentum lies right about now.

The bigger issue for the Senators is now goaltending as both Brian Elliott and Pascal Leclaire are shaken. Elliott has an NHL-worst .853 save percentage and was pulled in Game 4. Meanwhile, Leclaire doesn’t have the confidence of his coach, which is a problem in its own right.

Worse yet, the Sens have no answer for Sidney Crosby, who has 11 points in four games this series and they can’t seem to score at even strength (two of their goals last game were on 5-on-3’s).

This series is done like dinner.

Pick: Penguins

Chicago Blackhawks @ Nashville Predators

Has anyone seen or heard from the Chicago Blackhawks? The pesky Nashville Predators, who have never won a playoff series, will try to achieve another first, which is winning three games in a playoff series on Thursday.

The Blackhawks big guns are missing in action as Jonathan Toews has just one point in the series while Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa have contributed sporadically.

For the most part, the Blackhawks are being outworked as the Preds are outhustling them, outskating them and forcing them into penalties. But that will change in Game 4 as the Blackhawks wake up. Sports betting handicappers should expect them to get a good start, take the lead early and not look back.

Pick: Blackhawks

Colorado Avalanche @ San Jose Sharks

For all the flack the San Jose Sharks take, NHL betting fans can say that they do have a way of overcoming adversity. They shouldn’t be in a 2-2 series tie with the significantly-weaker Colorado Avalanche and while some of the doing is their own, other parts of it is the great goaltending of Craig Anderson.

Even after a brutal overtime own-goal in Game 3, the Sharks bounced back with a big overtime win in Game 4.

Now they head back to the Shark Tank where they are going to finally take control.

The young Avalanche have been playing from ahead all series long and the Sharks will finally put them in a hole. This is where experience really matters and the Game 5 winner will take this series.

Pick: Sharks

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