The Boston Bruins are a deep club, but it definitely will hinder their chances for potential home-ice advantage in a first-round playoff series without winger and leading scorer David Pastrnak for at least the next two weeks. He’s out following thumb surgery. The 22-year-old is the team’s leading scorer with 66 points (31 goals, 35 assists). Here are two intriguing matchups this week. Check back for NHL odds on game day.
Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – February 18th Edition
Toronto Maple Leafs at St. Louis Blues
- When: Tuesday, 8 PM ET (NBC Sports Network)
These teams met on Oct. 20 in Toronto and the Blues won 4-1 in an upset. Ryan O’Reilly, Robert Bortuzzo, Zach Sanford and Ivan Barbashev scored, and David Perron added two assists for St. Louis. Jake Allen had 22 saves. The game marked the return of center Tyler Bozak, who left for St. Louis in free agency this summer after nine seasons with the Leafs. Morgan Rielly scored for Toronto. Frederik Andersen stopped 21 of 24 shots.
Toronto comes off a 2-0 loss at Arizona in the fifth of a six-game trip. Darcy Keumper stopped 21 shots. The Coyotes were crisp on defense and Kuemper was sharp after allowing four goals his previous start, earning his second shutout of the season and No. 13 for his career.
The Maple Leafs arrived in the desert playing well, winning six of their previous seven games. Toronto couldn’t match Arizona’s energy in its fourth game in six days, managing 16 shots before pulling goalie Frederik Andersen with 3 1/2 minutes left. His record now sits at 27-12-2 with a 2.56 goals-against-average and a .923 save percentage.
No team is hotter than the Blues as they won in Minnesota on Sunday in the second of a back-to-back, the 10th straight win for St. Louis. Alexander Steen missed Saturday’s game and Sunday’s because his wife was giving birth but should play here. Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson is out with an upper-body injury.
Goaltender Jordan Binnington has won his last eight starts. That’s a franchise record for a rookie. The only other Blues rookie goaltender to get seven straight wins was Brent Johnson from Nov. 29, 2000-Jan. 1, 2001.
Chicago Blackhawks at Detroit Red Wings
- When: Wednesday, 7:30 PM ET (NBC Sports Network)
These are Original Six rivals and used to both be in the Central Division but Detroit was shifted to the Eastern Conference a few years ago. The clubs played on Feb. 10 and Chicago won 5-2. Dominik Kahun had two goals and an assist, and Cam Ward made 43 saves. Alex DeBrincat had three assists.
After Detroit pulled within one in the third period, Patrick Kane responded with his 33rd goal for Chicago. Patrick Kane made it 4-2 when he beat Jonathan Bernier low on the stick side with 3:33 left. Kane tacked on an assist when Jonathan Toews added an empty-netter with 2:01 remaining. Jonathan Bernier took the loss, making 31 stops. Gustav Nyquist and Christoffer Ehn scored for Detroit.
The Hawks are playing much better of late but enter the week off a 5-2 home loss to Columbus. Chicago had won eight of nine to get back into the wild-card race in the crowded Western Conference. Kane had a goal and an assist while extending his point streak to 17 games, matching the longest in the NHL this season. Toews also scored for Chicago. It was Kane’s 35th of the season. The dynamic winger has 13 goals and 24 assists during his point streak. It was Toews’ 27th goal. The captain has nine goals and seven assists in his last 10 games. Kane extended his team-record assist streak to 16 games on the play.
Ward allowed five goals on 30 shots in the loss. The 34-year-old goaltender saw his five-game winning streak come to an end. His record falls to 12-9-4 with a 3.66 goals-against-average and a .896 save percentage.
The Hawks remain without No. 1 netminder Corey Crawford. Crawford is nearing a return to action from yet another concussion but the team won’t rush him.
Detroit was without Gustav Nyquist on Sunday vs. the Flyers. Nyquist is dealing with an illness, which appears to be going through the team because Frans Nielsen also sat Sunday. Nyquist scored his 15th goal of the season on Saturday against the Flyers in the front end of a home-and-home set. Nyquist has 48 points in 59 games.
Expert NHL Betting Picks
Back the Wings and scorching-hot Blues.