Best NHL Picks
Tips For NHL Bettors
By Bob Duff
Toronto Maple Leafs (+123) at New York Islanders (-152)
As if the Islanders didn't have enough problems, Allan Walsh, the agent for two of the Isles' three goalies - Jaroslav Halak and J.F. Berube - went public via social media to air his clients' concerns about the team's three-goalie rotation that also includes Thomas Greiss. Captain John Tavares leads the Islanders with 4-2-6 totals but he's the only player on the team with more than two goals. Isles coach Jack Capuano removed the pointless Andrew Ladd, their big off-season free-agent addition, from the wing on the Tavares line.
Forward Seth Griffith made his Leafs debut in Thursday's 3-2 win over Florida. Leafs center Auston Matthews, the top player chosen in the 2016 NHL entry draft, has 10 points in his first eight NHL games. The Leafs top three scorers - Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner - are all rookies.
Pick: The Leafs (+123)
Tampa Bay Lightning (+116) at New York Rangers (-128)
While their 5-3 record might not show it, there are signs that the Rangers are a better team than a year ago. They've scored 29 goals so far and own a league-leading 3.63 goals-per-game ratio. The Rangers are playing the game at a higher tempo and believe it's only a matter of time until their process produces more consistently positive results. Rookie Jimmy Vesey has talled four goals in his first month as an NHLer.
Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov missed Saturday's loss to New Jersey and is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury. Cory Conacher was called up from AHL Syracuse to fill his place. As they enter the second night of back-to-back games, the Lightning have lost two straight for the first time this season.
Pick: The Rangers (-128)
Los Angeles Kings (+123) at Chicago Blackhawks (-152)
It's the second game in two nights for the Kings, as coach Darryl Sutter seeks his 600th NHL win. Minus the injured Jonathan Quick, Peter Budaj is carrying the load in goal for Los Angeles, backed up by Jack Campbell, a one-time first-round pick of the Dallas Stars. The Kings are an NHL-best 4-0 in overtime.
The Blackhawks are 30th in the NHL on the penalty kill but on a positive note, have successfully killed off six of their last seven shorthanded situations. Forward Marian Hossa took a maintenance day Saturday but is expected to play. Corey Crawford will get the nod in goal. Artem Anisimov is tied for second in the NHL in scoring with 10 points.
Pick: The Blackhawks (-152)
Ottawa Senators (+125) at Edmonton Oilers (-138)
Ottawa's goaltending situation is suddenly in crisis. The Senators lost back-up Andrew Hammond to injured reserve with a lower-body injury in Friday's 5-2 loss at Calgary. No. 1 netminder Craig Anderson, who'd left the team to be with his wife Nicholle after she was diagnosed with cancer, voluntarily offered to rejoin the team. Minor leaguers Matt O'Connor and Chris Driedger will remain with the Senators because Anderson might have to leave at a moment's notice. Ottawa have won eight of 10 games at Edmonton since 2003.
At the other end, Oilers goalie Cam Talbot has blocked 113 of the last 114 shots he's faced behind a potent attack that's scored 29 times in eight games, led by NHL scoring leader Connor McDavid's 12 points. Last home game for the Oilers prior to the launch of a five-game road trip.
Pick: The Oilers (-138)
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