Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week (February 21st, 2022)

In case you weren’t paying attention because there were no current NHL players there, Finland won its first ever Olympic men’s ice hockey gold medal with a 2-1 victory over the Russian Olympic Committee on Sunday in Beijing. There were a handful of former NHL players on the Finnish roster. Here’s a look at two intriguing matchups in the NHL this week.

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Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens

  • When: Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022. 7:00pm ET
  • Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
  • Radio: TSN 1050 AM (Toronto) // TSN 690 AM (Montreal)
  • Live Stream: NHL Live
  • NHL Betting Odds: TBA

They have only played once so far this season and that was the season opener for both, a 2-1 Toronto win at home. William Nylander broke a tie at 1:06 of the third period. Nylander took a pass from Morgan Rielly off the rush before faking a slap shot and high to goalie Jake Allen’s short side. Jack Campbell made 31 saves for Toronto, allowing only Jonathan Drouin’s first-period goal. Pierre Engvall tied it on a power play midway through the second.

The Leafs didn’t have star Auston Matthews back then as he was recovering from surgery but is healthy now and second in the league with 33 goals. Matthews has scored eight goals in his past eight games to give him 33 in 45 games this season, a 57-goal pace. With 41 goals in 52 games last season, Matthews has scored 74 goals in his past 97 games, a 62-goal pace for an 82-game season.

Steven Stamkos is the last player to score 60 in an NHL season, when the Tampa Bay Lightning forward scored that many in 82 games in 2011-12. There have been 39 60-goal seasons in the NHL, with Wayne Gretzky holding the record of 92 goals in 1981-82. Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin is the only other active NHL player to have one (65, 2007-08).

It will be Petr Mrazek in net for the Leafs. Mrazek has posted a 6-3-0 record with a 2.95 GAA and .899 save percentage over nine appearances this season. The Canadiens have struggled at home, going 6-17-1 while averaging a league-worst 2.17 goals for. Montreal has currently earned a 1-4-0 record through February.

Should be Sam Montembeault for Montreal. He stopped 25 of 27 shots during last Thursday’s 3-2 OT win over the St. Louis Blues. Montembeault now has a 3-10-4 record with a 3.81 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage this season.

Toronto made a trade over the weekend in sending Nick Ritchie to Arizona for Ryan Dzingel and Ilya Lyubushkin. Arizona also received a conditional pick in the NHL Draft. Ritchie scored nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 33 games with the Maple Leafs this season. Dzingel, a forward, scored seven points (four goals, three assists) in 26 games, and Lyubushkin, a defenseman, had nine assists in 46 games with the Coyotes. Neither will play Monday for their new team, though.

NHL Betting Pick: Maple Leafs

READ MORE: Capitals vs. Rangers NHL Odds and Preview – February 24th, 2022

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Nashville Predators

  • When: Saturday, February 26th, 2022. 7:30pm ET
  • Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
  • TV: TNT, SN360, TVAS2
  • Radio: TSN 1050 (Tampa Bay) // 102.5 THE GAME (Nashville)
  • Live Stream: NHL Live
  • NHL Betting Odds: TBA

Could be a Stanley Cup Final preview. Tampa Bay is definitely good enough to get there as the two-time Cup champion. I’m not sure Nashville is but it’s not out of the question. It’s also the 2022 NHL Stadium Series game being played outdoors at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, the usual home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. It’s the first-ever outdoors NHL game in Tennessee.

“This is one of the coolest things you can have as a hockey player,” the Preds’ Mikael Granlund said. “To be able to play outside, and here in Nashville in front of our fans, it’s really exciting and everybody’s really looking forward to that. As a kid when you grow up, you’re skating outdoor rinks, and that’s how we all grew up pretty much. That’s one of the best things in your childhood when you were able to get out there and just hang out with your friends and play some hockey, and this kind of reminds me of that. You get to play outside and have this fresh air – it’s really exciting.”

There will also be plenty of country music acts as part of the festivities. Weather is obviously important but conditions look clear with temperature in the 40s and 30s.

“Right now, 30 to 40 degrees, that’s pretty special,” NHL Chief Content Officer Steve Mayer said. “The weather forecast for the night of the game has us in this range, so I think if everything holds, we’re going to be in really good shape for the night of the game.”

This is the first meeting of the season between the teams. Nashville goes to Tampa on April 23.

NHL Betting Pick: Lightning

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READ MORE: Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week (March 7th, 2022)