The first head coach firing in the NHL has occurred and it was someone very unexpected – at least entering the season. The underachieving Toronto Maple Leafs let Mike Babcock go, the same Mike Babcock the Leafs signed to a record $50 million contract when they hired him in 2015. It seemed to spur the team at least right off the bat, though, as the Leafs ended a six-game losing streak in their first game under new coach Sheldon Keefe.
Here’s a look at two intriguing early-week matchups around the NHL. Check back for Mybookie NHL odds before placing your ticket.
Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – November 25th Edition
Boston Bruins vs Montreal Canadiens
- When: Tuesday, 7 PM ET
- Live Stream: ESPN+
The Bruins enter the week on a three-game winning streak after a 5-4 home OT victory over Minnesota on Saturday. Defenseman Torey Krug starred in his return to the lineup on Saturday. Krug potted the game-winning goal in overtime against Minnesota and he added two assists after missing five contests due to an upper-body injury. Krug has 16 points in 18 games this season.
David Backes was on the ice for the first time since he sustained a head injury on Nov. 2. Backes was involved in a scary collision with Ottawa’s Scott Sabourin three weeks ago, and until Saturday had not been on the ice since. Patrice Bergeron had four assists in the win. Tuukka Rask blocked 32 shots. Rask was initially supposed to be on the bench for this contest, but he was forced to make an unscheduled start because Jaroslav Halak was dealing with an illness. Rask has won his past four outings.
Why the Canadiens should be one of your NHL Betting picks?Montreal comes in on a four-game skid following a 6-5 home loss to the Rangers on Saturday. Montreal blew a 4-0 second-period lead. New York defenseman Jacob Trouba scored the winner with a shot from the point that went off Jeff Petry and in with 7:50 left in the game. Carey Price surrendered six goals on 34 shots. Price has gone winless in his last three outings (0-2-1) to drop his record to 10-6-3 on the year.
Original Six matchup between bitter rivals. This will already be Boston’s last trip of the season to Montreal as the Bruins lost there 5-4 on Nov. 5. It appeared as if Boston up 5-4 in the third when Charlie Coyle beat Carey Price. But the officials held a lengthy video review on Claude Julien’s challenge and determined Coyle was offside on the zone entry during the play. Ben Chariot scored and gave Montreal the win with a wrist shot from the face-off circle just a few minutes later. Boston was playing the second game of a back-to-back and it showed, going down 3-1 in the first period. The Bruins had won five games in a row in against the Canadiens.
New York Islanders vs Los Angeles Kings
- When: Wednesday, 10:30 PM ET
- Live Stream: ESPN+
The Islanders are playing shockingly well, while the Kings are languishing in the Pacific Division standings. This concludes a three-game swing through California for the Isles.
New York entered the week off a 2-1 OT loss at the Sharks, the fourth straight Islanders game that went to OT – they won the previous three. New York’s streak of 16 straight games with at least one point ended. The all-time record belongs to the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks, who had a 21-0-3 stretch.
Semyon Varlamov turned aside 24 of 26 shots. It was a good bounce-back performance from Varlamov, who had given up exactly four goals in all of his last three starts. Varlamov has been outplayed by Thomas Greiss thus far, tough.
Winger Anders Lee is struggling with no points in his past nine games. Lee has only five goals and 10 points in 21 games this season with a plus-eight rating but has not scored on the power play this season (or gathered an assist).
Why the Kings should be one of your NHL Betting picks?L.A. enters the week off a 3-2 home loss to Arizona on Saturday. Star blueliner Drew Doughty had an assist Saturday and has seven points in his last five games. Doughty has five goals and 17 points in 23 games this season. Los Angeles had won five straight home games.
Last year, the Kings were lousy but won both in this series. It was 4-3 in Los Angeles. Alec Martinez scored with 55 seconds remaining. Martinez brought the puck from behind his net into the offensive zone and fired a wrist shot through the legs of Brendan Smith and past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists, Trevor Lewis scored and Drew Doughty had two assists for the Kings. Vladislav Namestnikov and Tony DeAngelo each had a goal and an assist and Ryan Spooner also scored for the Rangers.