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NHL Picks of the Week

What: Chicago Blackhawks (32-17-5) at Minnesota Wild (34-12-5)
When: Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Start: 8:00 PM ET
Where: Minneapolis, MN
Stadium: Xcel Energy Center
Watch: NBCSN

Analysis: Heading into Monday night, the Chicago Blackhawks were riding a two-game winning streak that includes their 5-3 win over Dallas on Saturday while Minnesota has won four of five including its 6-3 smackdown of Vancouver on Saturday.

While Chicago has a ton of the Stanley Cup playoff experience and a true superstar in Patrick Kane, the Minnesota Wild have been just a bit better than their Central Division counterparts at both ends of the ice this season. The Blackhawks rank 10th in scoring and 11th in defense and that’s all very fine and well – except that Minnesota ranks a phenomenal third in both scoring (3.3 gpg) and goals allowed (2.3 gpg).

The Wild got a hard-fought 3-2 home win against Chicago the last time they met in January and I believe they’ll duplicate that victory against the Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

Pick: Minnesota 3 Chicago 2

What: San Jose Sharks (33-17-3) at Philadelphia Flyers (26-20-7)
When: Saturday, February 11 2017
Start: 1:00 PM ET
Where: Philadelphia, PA
Stadium: Wells Fargo Center
Watch: MSG+, RDS

Analysis: Heading into Monday, Philadelphia had dropped two of its last three but put up a great effort in their 1-0 overtime home loss against Los Angeles on Saturday. On the flip side of the coin, San Jose had their modest two-game winning streak snapped in their 3-2 shootout loss to Arizona on Saturday.

While Philly has some impressive young talent, the Flyers clearly aren’t quite ready for primetime after getting off to a red-hot start early on. San Jose, on the other hand, has won eight of their last 10 while playing consistent hockey all season long to sit in first place in the Pacific division.

With four players in the top 47 in scoring, the Sharks have too much firepower for Philly to contend with.

Pick: San Jose 4 Philadelphia 2

What: Anaheim Ducks (28-16-10) at Washington Capitals (36-11-6)
When: Saturday, February 11 2017
Start: 7:30 PM ET
Where: Washington, D.C.
Stadium: Verizon Center
Watch: FSW, CSMA

Analysis: Anaheim was looking to shake off a two-game losing streak when they woke up on Monday including their heartbreaking 3-2 shootout loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Conversely, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals had won three straight including their stunning 5-0 shutout of Los Angeles on Super Bowl Sunday.

The Ducks have struggled in going 4-6 over their last 10 games while Washington has won seven of their last 10. More importantly, Ovechkin and company are ranked fifth in scoring and a league-leading first in defense (2.1 gpg). Anaheim is ranked 21st in scoring (2.6 gpg) and just doesn’t have the offensive firepower o keep up with the Caps.

Pick: Washington 4 Anaheim 2

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