Expert Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – March 19th

Written by on March 19, 2018

A very scary-looking injury suffered by Boston Bruins star David Backes on Saturday night as he and Tampa Bay’s Yanni Gourde came together in the Lightning crease, with Gourde’s skate appearing to cut Backes on the outside of his right leg. Backes was able to make his way to the Bruins bench on his own, but he was clutching the back of his leg before getting some help down the tunnel. He needed several stitches to close the laceration but thankfully avoided any serious damage. Here are two intriguing NHL betting matchups for this week. Check back for the latest sportsbook odds at MyBookie.

Expert Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – March 19th

Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Islanders

  • When: Tuesday, 7 PM ET (TSN, NHL Center Ice)
  • Live Stream: NHL.tv
It’s a matchup of two of the top offensive teams in the NHL with the Penguins ranking sixth in the league in scoring and first on the power play, while the Islanders are eighth in scoring. The reason they will miss the playoffs is that their goaltending stinks, ranking dead last in goals against. The Isles are also last in killing penalties. Could the Penguins get back goaltender Matt Murray for this one? Murray has been sidelined since Feb. 24 against the Panthers due to a concussion, but his return to practice Saturday suggests he’s nearly ready to retake the crease. Coach Mike Sullivan says the team is “encouraged” by Murray’s progress. “We’ll take it one day at a time, see how I feel each day and go from there,” Murray said.

Top Players

Sidney Crosby gets all the publicity on the Penguins, but Evgeni Malkin has been the better player this season. Malkin is second in the NHL with 89 points and third with 40 goals as he pushes for a Hart Trophy. Malkin is second among active players (to Crosby) and 13th all-time in points per game (1.189). Evgeni also is tied for third with Crosby among active players in goals per game, at 0.475, behind only Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos. Malkin was a Hart finalist twice before winning the award in 2011-12; since then, Malkin hasn’t even gotten a single vote for MVP. “He’s been dominant. He’s found another level. Especially in the second half, we’ve needed points, and he found a way to elevate his game,” Crosby said of Malkin, who has scored 53 points in 32 games since the start of 2018. The Islanders have their own star in John Tavares, who is set for free agency this summer and could become the highest-paid player in league history. To shake things up a bit with his team nearly eliminated from playoff contention, coach Doug Weight put Tavares, usually, a center, played left wing Sunday. “It doesn’t mean he’s going to play wing and it doesn’t mean he’s not a centerman,” Weight said of Tavares. “It’s an experiment. Moving forward, it gives them some experience together. I’m excited to see it.”

Season Head to Head

Pittsburgh is 3-0 vs. the Islanders this season. They last played March 3 in Pittsburgh and the Pens won 3-2 in overtime. Crosby finished off a 2-on-1 by sneaking a wrist shot past Chris Gibson 3:48 into overtime.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Nashville Predators

  • When: Thursday, 8 PM ET (NHL Center Ice)
  • Live Stream: NHL.tv
Potential Stanley Cup Finals preview? Nashville now has the most points in the league and is the NHL Betting favorite to come out of the Western Conference for the second year in a row. The Maple Leafs have it tougher as they are going to finish only third in the Atlantic Division. When will the Leafs get star Auston Matthews back? He has been out a couple of weeks with a shoulder injury but does appear to be getting closer. He needs to get a full practice first. Auston Matthews absence is one of the reasons why Toronto should not be your NHL Betting Pick against Nashville. It could be backup Curtis McElhinney in goal for the Leafs because No. 1 Frederik Andersen suffered an upper-body injury last Wednesday against Dallas. McElhinney made 33 saves in a 4-0 win over Montreal on Saturday. McElhinney has now won seven out of his last nine appearances for the Leafs. His record is 10-4-1, with a 2.49 GAA and a .935 save percentage – better numbers really than Andersen has. The Predators will be without a key player the rest of the regular season in forwarding Calle Jarnkrok due to an upper-body injury. Jarnkrok was hurt last Tuesday in a 3-1 win over Winnipeg when he was checked by Jets forward Andrew Copp during the third period. Jarnkrok went to the locker room and was seen wearing a sling on his right arm leaving the arena. The forward had tied his career high with 16 goals and already has a career-high 35 points, ranking eighth on the Predators in points.

Last Matchup

On Feb. 7, Nashville visited Toronto and lost 3-2 in a shootout. James van Riemsdyk scored in regulation and again in the seventh round of a shootout, and Andersen made 44 saves. Andersen improved to 7-1-0 against Nashville in his career. Kasperi Kapanen also scored in regulation for Toronto. Colton Sissons and Viktor Arvidsson scored for the Predators, and Pekka Rinne stopped 30 shots.

Expert NHL Betting Predictions

Take the Pens to finish the season sweep of the Islanders and Nashville to beat Toronto. Good luck with your NHL Betting picks!