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Friday NHL Picks: March 29


Photo – Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

With only a month left in this lockout-shortened NHL season, the magnitude of each game continues to ramp up, especially for teams on the postseason fringe. The NHL is offering up a modest, but solid four-game slate today, featuring some big-time games, one of which will see two of the league’s top squads square off. Check out our breakdowns of the match-ups and our point-spread picks!

New Jersey Devils +1.5 at Tampa Bay Lightning -1.5

After a rough stretch and a coaching change, the Lightning picked up a much-needed win on Tuesday night against Buffalo and they’ll have another tough test tonight against New Jersey in a game they would also love to have. The Devils currently possess one of the remaining playoff spots in the East and the Lightning are one of the teams on the outside looking in.

The Lightning and Devils have split the two previous meetings this season, but with Tampa Bay at home and with a stronger offensive squad, look for the Lightning to will themselves to a win, covering -1.5 today.

Minnesota Wild -1.5 at Dallas Stars +1.5

After a slow start, the Wild are finally living up to the extremely lofty expectations analysts saddled them with before the season began. Minnesota has won nine of its last 10 games and its last seven straight, including one against the Dallas Stars.

Considering the Wild are one of the league’s hottest teams and considering that they are already 2-0 against Dallas this season, they should be able to pull out a win here, even on the road. Take Minnesota to cover -1.5 in the victory.

Anaheim Ducks +1.5 at Chicago Blackhawks -1.5

The Ducks will visit the Blackhawks in one of the highest profile match-ups of the year today.

The Pacific Division leaders come into today’s battle with the fifth best scoring team in the league, but the Ducks have dropped their last four games – two to Detroit and two to San Jose – and going against the team with the league’s best overall record won’t make things easier in snapping the skid.

Chicago has cooled off considerably since their record-setting points streak ended, but the Blackhawks still boast the second best scoring team and the second best defensive team in the league.

Look for the Blackhawks to add another big regular season win to their resume as they cover -1.5 at home.

Columbus Blue Jackets +1.5 at Calgary Flames -1.5

Both teams in this match-up are coming off tough losses and each of them has struggled mightily on the offensive end. Calgary has the home ice, which will give them a distinct advantage, but it may not be enough of one for the Flames to easily cover -1.5 goals.

This game will likely be close and it could go either way, so play this one safe and take the Blue Jackets to cover +1.5, even in defeat.







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