You should already be wagering at MyBbookie most nights against the lousy Detroit Red Wings, but if you need more reason now you have it: Top defenseman Mike Green is out the rest of the season due to some strange virus, which also forced Green to miss the start of the year. Green had played well when on the ice with 26 points in 43 games. Here’s a look at two intriguing games early this week. Check back for the latest NHL odds.
Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – March 11th Edition
Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins
- When: Tuesday, 7 PM ET (NBC Sports Network)
Always an event when the Capitals and Penguins face off because it’s the best individual rivalry in hockey: Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, arguably the two best players of their generation. It’s an important game as usual because Washington is battling for another Metropolitan Division title, while Pittsburgh is simply trying to make the playoffs. We assure you that the NHL is praying its biggest star gets in.
This is the last meeting between the teams unless they do face off in the postseason. Pittsburgh leads 2-1 – all three decided by one goal — and won the most recent game, 2-1 in Washington on Dec. 19. Crosby and Bryan Rust scored for the Penguins.
“When you play these rival-type games, there’s an elevated level of emotion associated with it,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “My experience of being around Sid is that he’s at his best in those situations.”
Lars Eller had the Washington goal. Ovechkin carried in a 14-game points streak, a career high, but that ended. Crosby has 35 goals and 63 assists in 73 games against the Ovechkin-led Capitals. Ovechkin has 46 goals and 37 assists in those games. Ovechkin is going to win another goal-scoring title and should reach 50 yet again barring injury – 60, though, is unlikely. Ovi’s 10 career 45-goal seasons are most in NHL history. He’s three points shy of 1,200 career points, and five goals shy of passing Brendan Shanahan (656) for 13th place on the NHL’s all-time goals list.
Ovechkin is aiming to become the third player in NHL history to record 50 goals in a season at least eight times (Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy: nine). Ovechkin is one of five players with at least 200 goals since the end of the 2012-13 campaign. He has scored 43 percent of his career goals over the course of the five seasons since, hitting the 50-goal mark three times, winning four of five Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophies. Ovechkin’s average of 0.60 goals per game since the start of 2013-14 is just shy of his career average prior to that season (0.62 from 2005-06 to 2012-13: 371g in 601 games played).
Chicago Blackhawks at Toronto Maple Leafs
- When: Wednesday, 7 PM ET (NBC Sports Network)
It’s an Original Six matchup. The Blackhawks’ playoff hopes are fading, while Toronto is battling to finish second in the Atlantic Division behind Tampa Bay. Two of the best American players in the NHL are on display here in former Hart Trophy winner Patrick Kane of the Hawks and former No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews of the Maple Leafs.
These are two of the best offenses in the league thanks in large part to those two, and that was on display when Chicago lost to visiting Toronto 7-6 in overtime way back on Oct. 7. Morgan Rielly scored 19 seconds into overtime, and John Tavares had three goals for his first hat trick as a member of the Leafs. Matthews had two goals and two assists for Toronto, while Rielly also had two assists and Kasperi Kapanen finished with a goal and an assist.
For the Hawks, Kane scored twice in the final two minutes of regulation, and defensemen Duncan Keith and rookie Henri Jokiharju each had three assists. Jonathan Toews, Alex DeBrincat, John Hayden and Brandon Manning also scored for the Blackhawks. Cam Ward finished with 27 stops. He won’t be in there for this one as Ward is out injured. He is 14-11-4 with a 3.72 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage in 30 games. Should be Corey Crawford vs. Frederik Andersen, who wasn’t in net for the first meeting, either. Crawford, a two-time All-Star and Stanley Cup champion, recently returned after being sidelined since mid-December because of a concussion.
While Matthews and Tavares get all the hype on the Leafs, they don’t lead the team in points. Mitch Marner does. In fact, he has an excellent shot at becoming just the third Leaf to record 100 points in a season. Darryl Sittler was the first to hit the milestone when he had 100 in 1975-76 and then had 117 points two seasons later. Doug Gilmour holds the team record with 127 points. The next season, Gilmour amassed 111 points.
Marner, playing the majority of the season on Tavares’ right side, would be the first Leafs winger to hit 100 points. Dave Andreychuk holds the team mark for most points by a winger, with 99 from the left side in 1993-94.
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Bet Penguins and Leafs.