It has been a wild first two months or so around the NHL with five head coaches fired already. And two of those weren’t even fired for on-ice results but off-ice behavior in Calgary’s Bill Peters and, last week, Dallas’ Jim Montgomery. We still don’t know what Montgomery did. The Sharks, Devils and Maple Leafs fired their guys because the teams were struggling. Here’s a look at two intriguing early-week NHL Betting games. Check back for Mybookie NHL odds.
Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – December 16th Edition
Buffalo Sabres vs Toronto Maple Leafs
- When: Tuesday, 7 PM ET
- TV: NBC
- Live Stream: NHL.tv
Only about 100 miles separate these cities. If this game were in Buffalo, there would be plenty of Maple Leafs fans there because it’s so hard to get a ticket to a Toronto home game. Might be the toughest ticket in team sports.
It’s the third of four regular-season meetings between the clubs. On Nov. 29 in Buffalo, the Sabres won 6-4 – a game Toronto led 2-0 early in the second period. Jack Eichel led the way for Buffalo with two goals and an assist. Jimmy Vesey, Jeff Skinner, Casey Mittelstadt and Victor Olofsson also scored. Linus Ullmark made 25 saves. At the time, it was Toronto’s first loss under Sheldon Keefe since he replaced the fired Mike Babcock.
The next night in Toronto, the Leafs won 2-1 in overtime. John Tavares scored at 1:45 of overtime and picked up his 400th NHL assist, and Frederik Anderson made 29 saves. William Nylander also scored for the Maple Leafs. Rasmus Ristolainen scored for Buffalo and Carter Hutton made 41 saves in defeat. The game marked the home-coaching debut for Keefe.
Why Buffalo should be one of your NHL Betting picks?Buffalo enters the week off a 3-2 OT loss at the Islanders on Saturday. Jack Eichel had a goal and assist. Eichel’s point streak extended to 16 games. He has 23 goals and 48 points in 34 contests. Linus Ullmark stopped 23 of 26 shots in the loss to see his three-game winning streak come to an end. For the season, Ullmark sports a 10-6-3 record with a 2.84 GAA and a .915 save percentage.
Toronto was a 4-1 winner in Edmonton on Saturday to conclude a four-game trip at 3-1. Frederik Andersen allowed just one goal on 37 shots vs. the Oilers. Andersen picked up his 200th victory in the NHL, becoming the fastest European-born goaltender to accomplish the feat. He is also the fourth-fastest in NHL history to reach the milestone. Defenseman Tyson Barrie hurt his ankle but X-rays are negative. Probably misses at least this game, though.
Edmonton Oilers vs St. Louis Blues
- When: Wednesday, 8:30 PM ET
- TV: RSN
- Live Stream: NHL.tv
Just three games on Wednesday and this is the latest-starting one. Could be a preview of the Western Conference Finals with both the Oilers and Blues contending for the Pacific and Central Division titles, respectively. Edmonton has the highest-scoring duo in the league in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl as they are No. 1 & 2 in scoring and could well finish that way with a good cushion over No. 3.
It’s the second of three regular-season meetings between the clubs. On Nov. 6, the Blues were 5-2 winners in Edmonton – St. Louis was red-hot then and in the midst of a six-game winning streak. Alex Pietrangelo had a goal and two assists, and Jaden Schwartz, Robert Thomas, Tyler Bozak and Ivan Barbashev also scored for the Blues. Jake Allen had 32 saves. McDavid and Zack Kassian scored for the Oilers.
Numbers & InjuriesEdmonton enters the week (played Monday in Dallas) on a four-game skid. St. Louis enters the week off a historic win against Chicago, 4-3. Justin Faulk broke a 3-3 tie with 2:36 left in the third period to cap off St. Louis’ come-from-behind victory. It was the first time in franchise history that the Blues rallied from a deficit of at least three goals in the third period to win a regular-season game in regulation.
Monitor the status of Barbashev here. He did not play in the third period on Saturday night because of an upper-body injury. Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson is on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. Gunnarsson is on the injured reserve list, retroactive to Dec. 12th. He has a goal and four points in 17 games this season.
Hockey players are tough dudes. Want proof? Blues center Brayden Schenn is missing a piece of his left ear lobe and has a two-inch long triangle-shaped gash on his neck after getting caught by a skate last Tuesday in Buffalo. Schenn got knocked down in the second period of that game and looked up to see Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen’s skate heading straight for him. Schenn didn’t even miss a shift.