Home | News | Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – February 20th, 2023

Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – February 20th, 2023

By Hank Blaine

There is a lot of talk that this will be a very busy week ahead of the Trade Deadline and one guy likely on the move is San Jose’s Timo Meier as the Sharks won’t be contenders anytime soon. The 26-year-old Meier is a pending UFA who has scored at least 30 goals in three of the past five seasons, including 2022-23. He is a power-play threat who has a knack for scoring timely goals and would bolster any team’s top-six forward group. Here are two intriguing early-week matchups around the NHL.

Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week (February 20th, 2023)

Winnipeg Jets vs. New York Rangers

  • When: Monday, February 20, 2023, 7:00 PM ET
  • Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
  • Radio: 680 CJOB (Jets) // ESPN New York 98.7FM (Rangers)
  • Live Stream: NHL Live
  • NHL Betting Odds: Jets (+1.5) // Rangers (-1.5)

This could be a Stanley Cup Final preview. The Rangers are truly going all-in for the Cup. Not long ago, they acquired forward Vladimir Tarasenko from St. Louis and on Sunday they added center Tyler Motte from Ottawa.

Motte, 27, was a key bottom-six presence for the Rangers during their playoff run last season after they acquired him from the Canucks before the trade deadline. He has nine points in 38 games with the Senators this season. Motte was the Senators’ leading penalty-killing forward and should be able to help a Rangers penalty kill that at the moment ranks just 15th in the league.

Motte scored his first two goals with the Blueshirts in the 2022 second-round playoff series win against the Carolina Hurricanes and became the seventh player in franchise history to score each of his first two goals in a Rangers uniform during the postseason. Among Rangers in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Motte ranked second in hits per-60 (min. 5 GP) with a 14.26 clip.

The Rangers were interested in bringing Motte back but they weren’t able to fit him in with their cap space dwindling. He ended up signing with Ottawa on a one-year, $1.35 million contract. New York concluded a four-game road trip at 3-1 following Saturday’s 3-2 OT loss in Calgary – the Blueshirts had won seven games in a row. They are still 14-2-4 in their last 20.

Chris Kreider had his seven-game point streak in Saturday’s snapped while Mika Zibanejad had his six-game point spree halted. Jaroslav Halak also had his seven-game winning streak snapped. His last loss was on Dec. 3, 2022. It’s the second of a back-to-back for the Jets as they visited New Jersey on Sunday.

New York lost at Winnipeg 4-1 on Oct. 14. Mark Scheifele scored twice, Sam Gagner also scored and Kyle Connor added an empty-netter for the Jets. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 40 shots. Dryden Hunt had the lone Rangers goal. Halak was in net for New York but probably will be Igor Shesterkin here.

NHL Betting Pick: New York Rangers

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Buffalo Sabres

  • When: Tuesday, February 21, 2023, 7:30 PM ET
  • Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY
  • TV: ESPN+, Hulu, TSN4
  • Radio: TSN 1050 (Maple Leafs) // WGR 550 AM (Sabres)
  • Live Stream: NHL Live
  • NHL Betting Odds: TBA

The team with the longest Stanley Cup drought is Toronto, but the Leafs made a huge move over the weekend to add that thanks to a big trade with St. Louis. The Maple Leafs acquired St. Louis captain Ryan O’Reilly and forward Noel Acciari in a deal also involving the Minnesota Wild.

It was a significant swap that brings O’Reilly’s Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe-winning background — from the Blues’ 2019 championship run — to Toronto’s dressing room. Toronto GM Kyle Dubas hopes the Leafs, who are second in the Atlantic Division, can be inspired toward similar success. The Maple Leafs have been eliminated in the opening round of the postseason for six consecutive seasons and haven’t won a playoff series since 2004. Both new Leafs debuted Saturday.

“The team has been in the top five in the standings [before]; we’re there again this year,” Dubas said. “When you’re there, your goal I think has to be that you’re trying to win. And if you’re trying to win, you’re trying to win the Stanley Cup. We’re trying to win, and that’s the message. Anything short of that, we’ll all be disappointed.”

O’Reilly is an accomplished defensive center, winning the Selke Trophy in 2018-19. The Leafs are 18th in defensive zone faceoffs (49.2%); O’Reilly wins them 52.5% of the time.

Buffalo is battling for a Wild Card Spot and enters on a two-game winning streak following a 4-2 win at San Jose on Saturday. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen allowed two goals on 35 shots in the win. The 23-year-old had lost his last three outings (0-2-1) with a total of 13 goals allowed in those games. Luukkonen is up to 14-7-2 with a 3.41 GAA and an .898 save percentage through 23 starts this season.

Dylan Cozens had his 20th of the season to join Tage Thompson, Alex Tuch, Victor Olofsson, and Jeff Skinner as the fifth Sabre to hit the 20-goal mark. The Sabres last had five 20-goal scorers in a single season in 2007-08: Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, Jason Pominville, Ales Kotalik, and Jochen Hecht. Buffalo is currently the only NHL team with at least five 20-goal scorers. Cozens has registered a point in four straight games, including a goal in each of the last three.

These teams have played once this season, a 5-2 Leafs home win Nov. 19. William Nylander scored twice, and John Tavares had a goal and two assists.

NHL Betting Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs

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READ MORE: Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – February 27th, 2023