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Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week (November 15th, 2021)

By Hank Blaine

The Pittsburgh Penguins got superstar Sidney Crosby back from the COVID list on Sunday. It was only Crosby’s second game played this season as he also missed time recovering from wrist surgery this summer. Here’s a look at two intriguing NHL matchups this week.

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Detroit Red Wings vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

  • When: Tuesday, November 15th, 2021. 7:00pm ET
  • Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
  • Radio: WXYT 97.1 FM (Red Wings) // 97.1 FM The Fan (Blue Jackets)
  • Live Stream: NHL Live
  • NHL Betting Odds: Columbus Blue Jackets -1.5

One of just two NHL games on Monday with Islanders-Lightning the other. At 8-6-2, the Red Wings are one of the most improved teams in the NHL this year. Dylan Larkin has been terrific with six goals and 11 points in his 12 games played. He had two goals in Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens.

This summer, Detroit traded for Hurricanes netminder Alex Nedeljkovic and that has worked wonders. He was a finalist for the Calder Trophy last season as the NHL’s top rookie, finishing third in the voting. It was pretty shocking that the Hurricanes dealt him. Nedeljkovic stopped 35-of-37 shots in Saturday’s win and is now 4-2-2 with a 2.78 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. He has five games with at least 30 saves.

Columbus is 7-5-0 and enters on a two-game skid, losing at home to the Rangers 5-3 on Saturday. Jakub Voracek, Eric Robinson and Alexandre Texier scored for Columbus. Elvis Merzlikins had 36 saves. Voracek has at least one point in five straight games but it was his first goal.

Merzlikins has played in seven games this year, and he definitely doesn’t like facing the Rangers. Against them, he has allowed nine goals in two games, leaving him with a .884 save percentage vs. the Blueshirts and a 0-2 record. In his other five starts, Merzlikins is 5-0, allowing just eight goals in those contests. That leaves him with a .951 save percentage. The Blue Jackets are 4-3-0 this year when trailing entering the third period.

Detroit is 1-0 vs. Columbus this year, winning 4-1 at home on Oct. 19. Lucas Raymond’s first NHL goal broke a scoreless tie at 6:38 of the third period. Vladislav Namestnikov and Adam Erne added empty-net goals in the final 1:14.

The 19-year-old Raymond, from Gothenburg, Sweden, was picked fourth overall by the Red Wings in the 2020 draft. He’s a top candidate for the Calder Trophy this year. Thomas Greiss was in net for the Wings then and had 22 saves. Joonas Korpisalo was the Columbus goaltender but it’s likely to be Merzlikins vs. Nedeljkovic in this one.

Larkin and Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski were roommates in the South Quad dorms at the University of Michigan in 2014-15, when both were All-Big Ten first-team selections.

NHL Betting Pick: Blue Jackets

Calgary Flames vs. New York Islanders

  • When: Saturday, November 20th, 2021. 7:00pm ET
  • Where: UBS Arena, Elmont, New York
  • TV: SNW, MSG+, MSG+ 2
  • Radio: Sportsnet 960 The Fan (Flames) // WRHU 88.7 FM (Islanders)
  • Live Stream: NHL Live
  • NHL Betting Odds: TBA

Why are we looking way ahead to Saturday for a game? Because it’s the Islanders first home game at their new UBS Arena, which is located next to the historic Belmont Park race track. The Isles wanted to be sure that everything was completed so they have played every game on the road so far – it will have been 13 straight away games before this one. According to TicketIQ, the average price on the secondary market for a ticket to the UBS opener is $625.

UBS Arena is designed to hold up to 19,000 people for concerts and audiences up to 17,000 for NHL games. In an effort to build a greener future, UBS Arena intends on being carbon neutral for operations before 2024, which will make it the first arena to do so on the eastern United States seaboard.

The Isles enter the week at 5-4-2, which is pretty solid considering the road trip and the fact that Kyle Palmieri still has not found the back of the net. Palmieri has no goals in 11 games and is no longer playing on the top line.

“I’ve got too many guys that are just playing and I need them to be better,” coach Barry Trotz said. “I need them to be a little more of a better version of themselves.”

On Monday, New York’s Andy Green was to play in his 1,000th career NHL game. The 39-year-old defenseman has one assist this season, his 16th.

“He’s been huge for us,” Josh Bailey said. “I can’t say enough good things. You can see why he’s been around for as long as he has. He’s just a character person and player.”

It’s the first meeting of the season between the Flames and Islanders and they didn’t play last season.

NHL Betting Pick: Islanders

READ MORE: Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week (November 22nd, 2021)

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