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

By Hank Blaine

Monday is the NHL’s Trade Deadline so there likely will be some big-name players on the move. So far, the biggest deal likely has been the Flyers trading long-time captain Claude Giroux to the Florida Panthers, who are loaded now and among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. The Flyers may not be done dealing as they are huge disappointments and will miss the playoffs. Here’s a look at two early-week games.

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Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens

  • When: Monday, March 21st, 2022. 7:00pm ET
  • Where: Centre Bell, Montreal, QB
  • TV: NHL Network, SN, RDS, NESN
  • Radio: WBZ-FM 98.5 (Bruins) // CHMP 98.5 FM (Montreal)
  • Live Stream: NHL Live
  • NHL Betting Odds: TBA

This could be the Bruins debut of defenseman Hampus Lindholm. He was acquired over the weekend with Kodie Curran for a 2022 first-round pick, a 2023 second-round pick, a 2024 fourth-round pick and defensemen Urho Vaakanainen and John Moore.

The No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Lindholm has five goals and 17 assists in 61 games this season. The 6-foot-4, 216-pound blueliner has 57 goals and 165 assists in a nine-year NHL career.

Lindholm, 28, was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He was Anaheim’s sixth overall pick in 2012 and has patrolled their blue line since, while collecting 222 points in 582 games. Lindholm will not hit free agency now, however, as he and the team agreed to an eight-year, $52 million extension. He will be a key part of the Bruins’ defensive core that includes Charlie McAvoy, who is signed through 2030, and Brandon Carlo, who is locked up until 2027. Lindholm was a pivotal part of the Ducks’ penalty-killing unit, which ranked eighth in the league.

“Obviously, Boston is showing who they think of me as a player, a lot of trust,” Lindholm said. “That’s most NHL players’ dream.”

Vaakanainen, 23, was the Bruins’ first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft but struggled to get much time on the ice. He played in just 15 games this season and 31 games over his four seasons in Boston. Moore, 31, signed a five-year, $13.75 million deal with the Bruins in 2018. The defenseman played in just 12 games over the past two seasons.

One of Boston’s best players, forward Patrice Bergeron (45 points), will remain out Monday with an infection in his arm.

“He is going to be reevaluated later this week,” coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters on Sunday. “I’d put him as a possibility for the home game Thursday, but it is not for sure.”

Jack Studnicka also is day-to-day after blocking some shots Friday in Winnipeg. The Bruins recalled Marc McLaughlin on an emergency basis and he practiced on the fourth line Sunday.

I fully expect Montreal to make a trade or two by Monday’s deadline as the Canadiens will be missing the playoffs after reaching the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.

Boston is 2-0 vs. Montreal this season and should make it 3-0.

NHL Betting Pick: Bruins

New Jersey Devils vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

  • When: Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022. 7:00pm ET
  • Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
  • TV: SN, TVAS, MSG+
  • Radio: 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio(New Jersey) // Sportsnet 590 The FAN (Toronto)
  • Live Stream: NHL Live
  • NHL Betting Odds: TBA

This should be the debut of new Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano as the former Norris Trophy winner was acquired from Seattle on Sunday. The 38-year-old has scored 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) in 55 games this year. He was held out of the past two games for Seattle. Toronto also received forward Colin Blackwell.

Seattle, which will retain 50 percent of Giordano’s contract, received a second-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

Giordano, a Toronto native, is in the final season of a six-year contract extension he signed with the Flames on Aug. 25, 2015, and can become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Blackwell has contributed eight goals, 17 points, 61 shots and 57 hits in 39 games this season. He should fit in well as a bottom-six forward.

“I think just looking at it the past couple of weeks, I think the Leafs were on my radar as one of the teams I might get traded to and one of the better teams in the league,” Giordano said. “So to be able to be part of this going forward and, yes, it being my hometown team is obviously a huge bonus, but to be able to come to a team that has a really good shot at obviously making some damage or creating some damage in the playoffs is something I’m really excited about.”

The Maple Leafs have a top-five offense in terms of goals per game but have been looking to shore up — and retool — the defense to get past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

New Jersey could be a seller ahead of Monday’s Trade Deadline. The Devils are 0-2 vs. the Leafs this season, losing 6-4 in Toronto on Jan. 31 and 7-1 at home the next night.

NHL Betting Pick: Maple Leafs

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READ MORE: Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week (March 28th, 2022)