After a very busy Monday around the NHL, the league goes dark for three days for the holiday, resuming on Friday. So, here’s a look at two intriguing NHL Betting matchups on the ice this coming weekend. Check back for NHL odds.
Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – December 23rd Edition
Boston Bruins vs Buffalo Sabres
- When: Friday, 7 PM ET
- TV: SNO
- Live Stream: NHL.tv
Second meeting of the season between the teams. On Nov. 21, the Bruins were 3-2 home winners.
Brad Marchand scored twice and David Pastrnak had the other. At time, they became the first teammates with 15 goals apiece in their team’s first 22 games since Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone in 2009-10. Tuukka Rask stopped 36 shots. Rasmus Ristolainen and Brandon Montour each scored and Linus Ullmark had 24 saves for the Sabres. Buffalo finished the first with a 17-4 advantage on shots, but was outshot 20-19 after that.
Boston is one the NHL’s best teams and was 20-3-5 at one point but is in a major funk right now, entering the week off a 4-3 home overtime loss to Nashville on Saturday. It was the Bruins’ third straight defeat and their eighth in the past nine. They continue to struggle when they are involved in a game that goes beyond regulation. Boston is a combined 2-9 in games that end in overtime and shootouts.
One bright spot from Saturday’s loss was two goals from Patrice Bergeron while he won 16 of his 27 faceoff attempts (59.3 percent). Saturday’s performance marked his first time with two or more points since he chipped in with four assists Nov. 23 against the Minnesota Wild.
Some NumbersBoston’s Pastrnak will be the captain for the Atlantic Division at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. He leads the NHL in goals with 28 entering the week and is among the points leaders with 51.
Buffalo enters the week off a 3-2 win over the Kings on Saturday to snap a three-game skid. Rasmus Ristolainen scored a goal and has registered nine points (two goals, seven assists) in the last 12 games and he has a plus-11 rating during that span. Superstar Jack Eichel earned an assist in his return to the lineup. Eichel picked up a helper on a late goal by Victor Olofsson. His 17-game point streak came to an end last Thursday because of an upper-body issue, but Eichel has registered at least one point in each of his last 18 appearances.
Washington Capitals vs Carolina Hurricanes
- When: Saturday, 7 PM ET
- TV: ESPN+
- Live Stream: NHL.tv
Second meeting of year between these two. Way back on Oct. 5, the Caps were upset at home 3-2 in overtime by the Hurricanes.
Jake Gardiner scored his first goal for his new team in the last minute of overtime, and James Reimer debuted with Carolina by making 33 stops and the Hurricanes rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period. Gardiner and Reimer signed free agent deals with Carolina during the offseason. Erick Haul and Jaccob Slavin also scored, with Slavin getting Carolina’s game-tying with just over 10 minutes left. T.J. Oshie and Garnet Hathaway scored for Washington. Braden Holtby made 25 stops. The Capitals went 0 for 6 on the power play, including a 4-on-3 advantage in overtime after Jordan Staal was called for hooking.
Washington enters the week with just two losses in its past 12 games. It beat Tampa Bay 3-1 on Saturday. Holtby allowed one goal on 27 shots to push his record to 17-4-4 with a 2.75 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 26 starts.
All-StarsCaps star Alex Ovechkin will be the captain of the Metropolitan Division at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. He has 22 goals, which ranks fourth in the league. Ovechkin, though, will not commit to playing in the All-Star Game even though he was named the captain of the Metropolitan Division.
“We’ll see,” Ovechkin said when asked if he would go. “It’s lots of games to play. I’m going to do the best for my health and for the playoffs and I have to be healthy for the most important games moving forward.”
Ovechkin did not play last season after being named to the team and was hit with a one-game suspension for not going. Carolina has been a pleasant surprise and got some good news on Saturday as center Erik Haula returned to action after missing 15 games with a knee injury. Haula played 15:15 but was unable to pick up a point. “He adds a lot more depth to our whole group and then that filters down,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. Haula has eight goals and 11 points in 17 games.