Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week (December 13th, 2021)

The Dallas Stars haven’t had goaltender Ben Bishop yet this season and now apparently his career is over. Bishop, 35, had surgery for a torn meniscus after the pandemic-altered 2019-20 season and missed all of the shortened 2020-21 season. However, he did play in a “conditioning” game with the AHL Texas Stars last week. Bishop was shelled for eight goals and Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill said over the weekend that Bishop will remain on long-term injured reserve with a degenerative knee injury that marks “the end of his career.” Here’s a look at two early-week NHL games of interest with a pick for each.

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Calgary Flames vs. Chicago Blackhawks

  • When: Monday, December 13th, 2021. 7:00pm ET
  • Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
  • TV: SN, TVAS, NBCSCH, NHL Network
  • Radio: Sportsnet 960 The FAN (Flames) // 720 WGN AM (Blackhawks)
  • Live Stream: NHL Live
  • NHL Betting Odds: Calgary Flames -1.5

This is the only NHL game on Monday. Calgary looked like a legitimate Stanley Cup contender for a while but enters on a four-game slide following a 4-2 home loss to Boston on Saturday. Jacob Markstrom was an early Vezina Trophy candidate but took the loss vs. the Bruins. It was the third straight game in which Markstrom has failed to pick up a win. He’s now 10-6-5 on the season.

Defenseman Rasmus Andersson was a bright spot in the loss with two assists. He started his night off by securing the primary assist on Matthew Tkachuk’s power play goal scored 12:19 into the second. In the third, he picked up the secondary helper on Sean Monahan’s goal. Andersson now has 15 assists on the year.

Chicago comes off a 5-4 loss in Toronto on Saturday. Kevin Lankinen yielded all five goals on 26 shots. Lankinen held a 1-0 lead for about a minute early in the first period, but Toronto would storm back with four consecutive goals (courtesy of John Tavares, William Nylander, Auston Matthews and Pierre Engvall) into the second period. It was the third time in 10 appearances (nine starts) in which Lankinen has allowed at least five goals this season.

It should be Marc-Andre Fleury in net for this one. Fleury turned aside all 30 shots he faced during Thursday’s 2-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens. The win in his home province allowed him to become just the third goalie in NHL history to reach the 500-win mark, joining Martin Brodeur (691) and Patrick Roy (551). The 37-year-old now has an 8-10-0 record with a 2.79 goals-against-average and a .913 save percentage in 2021-22.

This is the first meeting of the season between the Flames and Blackhawks. They didn’t meet last season.

NHL Betting Pick: Flames

Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

  • When: Tuesday, December 14th, 2021. 7:00pm ET
  • Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • TV: ATTSN-PT, TSN2, RDS
  • Radio: TSN 690 (Canadiens) // 105.9 FM (Penguins)
  • Live Stream: NHL Live
  • NHL Betting Odds: TBA

The Canadiens have been obliterated by injuries and COVID this season after surprisingly reaching the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. The news got worse over the weekend when forward Tyler Toffoli was ruled out eight weeks after having hand surgery. The forward was injured during a 4-3 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators on Dec. 4. He had two assists in 13:00 of ice time and led the Canadiens with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) at the time of the injury.

Forward Josh Anderson is out 2-4 weeks because of an upper-body injury, and forward Brendan Gallagher and defenseman Sami Niku are in COVID-19 protocol. Goalie Carey Price, defenseman Joel Edmundson (undisclosed), and forward Paul Byron (undisclosed) have yet to play, and defenseman Shea Weber (undisclosed) is out for the season.

“Obviously, it’s not the ideal situation,” Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said. “It’s not what we planned for, that’s for sure. We had, what, nine guys that were out today, and that doesn’t include a guy like Weber. … Hopefully at one point it’s going to stop, and everyone comes back healthy.”

On the bright side, winger Joel Armia was back in the Montreal lineup Saturday. Armia saw second line action with Ryan Poehling and Jonathan Drouin as well as Drouin and Cole Caufield as the Habs shook up their lines in a 4-1 loss to St. Louis. Armia missed a week of action before his return and has a goal and five points after being shut out on Saturday in 16:37 of action.

Pittsburgh has placed leading scorer Jake Guentzel (upper body) on the injured reserve list retroactive to December 6. Guentzel is week-to-week and has 15 goals and 27 points in 24 games.

The Penguins have gone 13 straight games without allowing a power play goal, a team record. The Penguins are tops in the NHL as they have allowed only five goals on 66 attempts for a 92.4 percentage, with the Hurricanes second at 87.9 percent.

Montreal and Pittsburgh have split two meetings this season. They last played on Nov. 27 in Pittsburgh and the Habs won 6-3. Montreal had five third-period goals. Toffoli had an empty-net goal. Jake Allen stopped a season-high 47 shots.

NHL Betting Pick: Penguins

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READ MORE: Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week (December 20th, 2021)