While several contenders were busy ahead of last week’s NHL trade deadline, the Tampa Bay Lightning were quiet. Why? They don’t need a thing! The Bolts could break the NHL single-season record for points, which is 132 by the 1976-77 Canadiens, and remain huge odds favorites to win the 2019 Stanley Cup. Here’s a look at two interesting matchups this week. Check back for the latest NHL odds.
Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – March 4th Edition
Ottawa Senators at NY Islanders
- When: Tuesday, 7 PM ET (NHL Center Ice)
The NHL-worst Senators sold off all their key pieces ahead of the deadline and then fired coach Guy Boucher. He has been replaced with assistant Marc Crawford for the remainder of the season. Boucher was 94-108-26 in 288 regular season games. The Ottawa Senators made the playoffs only once during his tenure when reached the 2017 Eastern Conference Final and came within an overtime goal in Game 7 of playing in the Stanley Cup Finals. Crawford previously coached 18 years in the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, and Dallas Stars.
Likely to be Craig Anderson in net here for Ottawa. He allowed five goals on 34 shots in Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The veteran goaltender hasn’t won a game since Dec. 17. He is 14-22-3 with a 3.54 goals-against-average and a .903 save percentage.
Probably Thomas Greiss for the Isles. Greiss allowed two goals on 28 shots in Friday’s 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. The NY Islanders had a 1-0 lead heading into the third period, but they allowed the Caps to score three unanswered goals (including an empty-netter) in the final frame. The 33-year-old has a 17-10-2 record with a 2.25 goals-against-average and a .928 save percentage this season.
These teams have met just once so far – they do again Thursday – and the Islanders won 6-3 at home on Dec. 28. Mathew Barzal had two goals and an assist to lead New York. Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist, and Anders Lee, Johnny Boychuk and Casey Cizikas also scored for New York, which came back from a pair of two-goal deficits. Greiss gave up three goals on 17 shots before he was pulled 6:11 into the second period. Robin Lehner, who began his career with Ottawa, came on and stopped all 10 shots he faced to improve to 7-0-3 against his former team. So maybe it will be Lehner with all that success vs. the Sens.
Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers
- When: Wednesday, 7:30 PM ET (NBC Sports Network)
The Washington Capitals star and future Hall of Famer Alex Ovechkin continues to amaze. Last Friday, he scored in a win over the Islanders. That gave him 45 goals, his 10th 45-goal season in his career. No player has had more 45 goal-seasons in NHL history. Ovechkin became just the fourth player in NHL history to record at least 650 goals with the same team (Detroit’s Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman, Pittsburgh’s Mario Lemieux).
As of this writing, Ovechkin is three points shy of becoming the 48th player in NHL history to record 1,200 points (652g, 545a). Additionally, Ovechkin is now five goals shy of passing Brendan Shanahan (656) for 13th place on the NHL’s all-time goals list. With 17 Capitals games remaining in 2018-19, 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’s average of 0.60 goals per game since the start of 2013-14 (280g in 463 games played) is just shy of his career average prior to that season (0.62 from 2005-06 to 2012-13: 371g in 601 games played).
Will the Philadelphia Flyers have winger Jakob Voracek for this one? He missed Sunday’s game of a lower-body injury. Consider him day-to-day for the time being. Voracek has been rolling offensively of late with three goals and six assists during a four-game point streak.
It’s just the second meeting between these clubs. On Jan. 8, the Caps were 5-3 home winners – Philly’s eighth straight loss at the time. Jakob Vrana scored twice and had an assist for his first career three-point game. T.J. Oshie also scored twice — including an empty-netter with 2.1 seconds left — for the Capitals. Backup goaltender Pheonix Copley made a season-high 37 saves.
In starting journeyman Mike McKenna, the Flyers tied an NHL record by using their seventh goaltender this season. They became the fourth team in league history to play seven goalies, joining the 1989-90 Quebec Nordiques, 2002-03 St. Louis Blues and 2007-08 Los Angeles Kings. McKenna allowed four goals on 25 shots and was hung out to dry on Flyers defensive miscues.
Expert NHL Betting Picks
Back Capitals and Islanders.