Home | News | Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – December 26th, 2022

Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – December 26th, 2022

By Hank Blaine

The NHL was dark from Christmas Eve through Dec. 26 for the holidays so now is a good time to check on the latest odds to win the Stanley Cup: The Boston Bruins have the most points in the NHL with 56 and they are the +550 title favorites followed by Colorado (+650), Toronto (+750) and Carolina (+800). Here’s a look at two intriguing early-week matchups. Check back for NHL odds.

Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week (December 26th, 2022)

Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers

  • When: Tuesday, December 27, 2022, 7:00 PM ET
  • Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
  • Radio: WXYT-FM 97.1 (Capitals) // 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio (Rangers)
  • Live Stream: NHL Live
  • NHL Betting Odds: Capitals +1.5 // Rangers -1.5

Puck drops at 7 p.m. ET from Madison Square Garden and all eyes will be on Capitals star Alex Ovechkin as he tries for career goal No. 803. In Washington’s 4-1 win over Winnipeg last Friday, Ovechkin scored two goals and added an assist. After beating David Rittich with 1:38 remaining in the first period for No. 801, Ovechkin netted No. 802 into an empty net with 60 seconds remaining in regulation.

That broke a tie for second all-time with Gordie Howe. It marked the 90th time in 192 opportunities Ovi scored against a goaltender he is facing for the first time (regular season and playoffs) and fifth in 2022-23 following Spencer Martin (Nov. 29), Felix Sandstrom (Nov. 23), Spencer Martin (Nov. 7) and Vitek Vanecek (Oct. 24).

Ovechkin became the first person other than Wayne Gretzky or Howe to occupy a top-two spot on that list since Dec. 21, 1991 – the day Gretzky scored his 732nd career goal to overtake Marcel Dionne (731) for second place in League history. Gretzky sits at 894 goals so Ovechkin isn’t catching him this season or likely next. Using his 2022-23 goals-per-game rate (0.57), it would take Ovechkin approximately 164 regular-season games to pass The Great One.

The Caps will be without stellar defenseman John Carlson for a while. He was struck by the puck on the right side of the head/face by a shot from Winnipeg’s Brenden Dillon on Friday. Carlson came up bloody and left the game holding a towel to the side of his head. He would be hospitalized but should be OK long term. Carlson has registered eight goals, 21 points, 101 shots on net, 70 blocks and 34 hits in 30 contests this campaign. Despite having missed six games with a lower-body injury earlier this season, Carlson leads all Capitals defensemen in goals and assists (13).

The Rangers come off a 5-3 win over the Islanders last Thursday. Igor Shesterkin allowed all three goals on 18 shots. The 26-year-old netminder has allowed three or fewer goals in his last seven starts while improving to 6-1-0 in that span. Shesterkin will carry a 17-5-4 record with a .916 save percentage into this matchup.

NHL Betting Pick: New York Rangers

Boston Bruins vs. New Jersey Devils

  • When: Wednesday, December 28, 2022, 7:30 PM ET
  • Where: Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
  • Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub (Bruins) // WFAN Sports Radio 660 AM (Devils)
  • Live Stream: NHL Live
  • NHL Betting Odds: TBA

TNT has this telecast as part of a doubleheader at 7:30 ET on Wednesday. It could be an Eastern Conference playoff preview as Boston leads the Atlantic Division with 56 points and New Jersey is second in the Metropolitan with 46 points. The Bruins hit the break ranked No. 1 in goal scoring (128) and holding the league’s best goal differential (+56). If their scoring pace holds, the Bruins will finish 68 goals ahead of last season.

Big things were expected of David Pastrnak, and he’s delivered even beyond expectations in a contract year. He leads the club in scoring (24-23–47) and is on pace for career bests in goals (60) and points (117). Pastrnak also is on pace for a contract extension for $11 million a year or better, but talks have been slow.

Linus Ullmark has emerged as the league’s top goaltender and the Vezina Trophy candidate. He had a very choppy first half in 2021-22 after arriving as an unrestricted free agent but this year is an amazing 19-1-1 with a shot to be the only Bruins goalie other than Pete Peeters (1982-83) to record 40 wins.

New Jersey’s Ondrej Palat, who hasn’t played since the sixth game of the season with a groin injury, is close to a return. Palat underwent groin surgery on Nov. 1 and has since been recovering. This is his first season with the Devils after a 10-year career with the Lightning.

“Ondrej Palat is getting closer, skating, full workouts now. He’s close. I can say he’s close to joining the team for practice, I don’t have that date in mind, but it is close,” Coach Lindy Ruff said.

New Jersey hosted Boston in its last game on Dec. 23 and lost 4-3. Pastrnak scored two of Boston’s four second-period goals, and linemates David Krejci and Pavel Zacha each had two assists. Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk also scored for the Bruins, and Linus Ullmark made 36 saves.

Jack Hughes, Tomas Tatar and Yegor Sharangovich scored for New Jersey. Mackenzie Blackwood made 14 saves before getting pulled after two periods. The Devils lost for the seventh time in eight games (1-6-1) and dropped to 3-6-2 in December.

NHL Betting Pick: Boston Bruins

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*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

READ MORE: Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – January 2nd, 2023