Could we have an NHL head coach fired before Halloween? Things are going horribly with the Minnesota Wild – they already have had two players-only meetings — and it’s possible that Coach Bruce Boudreau could get a pinkslip if things don’t start improving soon. Here’s a look at two intriguing early-week NHL Betting matchups. Check back for Mybookie NHL odds.
Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – October 21st Edition
Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins
- When: Tuesday, 7 PM ET
- TV: ESPN+
- Live Stream: NHL.tv
These Original Six rivals played a terrific first-round playoff series last season. Toronto had a 3-2 lead but lost Game 6 at home 4-2 and then Game 7 in Boston 5-1. The teams had alternated wins in this series until the Bruins won the last two games. It was the Bruins’ second straight Game 7 win over the Maple Leafs and third in three playoff matchups between the teams. Boston previously knocked Toronto out of the postseason with Game 7 victories in 2018 and 2013. The Maple Leafs have lost six straight road Game 7s.
This season’s Leafs are short-handed for at least two weeks as captain John Tavares will miss at least two weeks with a broken finger suffered last Wednesday in a loss to the Capitals. Tavares was hit on his right hand by a shot from the point by teammate Morgan Rielly in the third period, but stayed in the game and scored. Tavares, 29, had three goals and four assists in eight games this season, his second with the Maple Leafs. Now in his 11th NHL season, he has been relatively healthy throughout his career. Since the end of the 2013-14 season, Tavares had missed just nine games.
The Bruins scored 257 goals last season, 11th most in the NHL. Of those 257, 156 came five-on-five. The Bruins finished 19th in five-on-five goals in 2018-19. And of those 257 goals, 65 came on the power play, third most in the league. So far this season, the Bruins are showing a similar trend. Boston has converted with the man advantage 38.1 percent of the time, No. 2 in the NHL behind Edmonton. The Bruins are 22nd in the league in five-on-five goals.
Boston might again be without one of its top players in David Krejci. He has missed the past two with an upper-body injury and is being called day-to-day.
These teams met Saturday in Toronto and the Leafs won 4-3 in overtime. Morgan Rielly scored his first two goals of the season including the winner. It was thought the winner was Mitch Marner’s goal but the puck deflected off Rielly and into the net.
Marner has been a thorn in the Bruins’ side since he came into the NHL as he has 20 points in 13 career regular-season games against Boston. Marner was the No. 1 star on Saturday with two assists. Coach Mike Babcock said after Saturday’s win that X-rays came back negative on Andreas Johnsson, who left the match with a leg injury.
David Pastrnak’s torrid goal-scoring streak continued for Boston against the Maple Leafs Saturday night. Pastrnak’s third-period marker, which tied the game and sent the contest into overtime, was his seventh goal in three games. Karson Kuhlman (undisclosed) left Saturday’s game late in the first period.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Tampa Bay Lightning
- When: Wednesday, 8 PM ET
- TV: NBC Sports Network
- Live Stream: NHL.tv
Usually high-scoring hockey when these two terrific offensive teams play – it’s their first meeting of the season. Tampa won two of three last year, including the most recent meeting 5-4 at home. In that one, Sidney Crosby became Pittsburgh’s all-time games played leader.
Pittsburgh is far from healthy, though, with guys like Evgeni Malkin, Nick Bjugstad, Alex Galchenyuk and Bryan Rust all injured. That’s $22 million of salary cap space that’s spending game nights in street clothes.
Malkin and Bjugstad are both expected to be out longer term with lower-body injuries. Both players suffered injuries in the second game of the season against Columbus. Malkin had 21 goals and 72 points in 68 games last year, while Bjugstad had nine goals and 14 points in 32 games with the Penguins after coming to the team from the Florida Panthers.
Due to injuries to the forward group, the Pens currently have three players on their NHL roster that started the season in the AHL. As a result, there are nine defensemen on the roster. Generally, teams run with 12 forwards and six defensemen every game. However, the Penguins have dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen multiple times. It has been reported that general manager Jim Rutherford is looking to move a defenseman.
Pittsburgh will be at a sizable disadvantage here as it had to play Tuesday night in Florida. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay has been off since a 6-2 home loss to Colorado on Saturday. Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy gave up six goals on only 24 shots. The poor performance raised his GAA from 2.58 to 3.17 while lowering his save percentage to .899 from .921.
Kevin Shattenkirk continues to produce from the Lightning blueline. With his two assists Saturday night, Shattenkirk has now registered four goals and seven points in eight games.
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