Home | News | Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – April 8th, 2024

Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – April 8th, 2024

By Hank Blaine

The last full week of the NHL’s regular season is upon us and the race for the Presidents’ Trophy is a great one between Boston, the New York Rangers and Dallas. Might be wise not to win the Presidents’ Trophy, though, as the team with the most regular-season points hasn’t won the Stanley Cup in more than a decade. Here’s a look at two intriguing early-week matchups.

Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week (April 8th, 2024)

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

  • When: Monday, April 8th, 2024, 7:00 PM ET
  • Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Canada
  • Radio: 105.9 The X FM (Penguins) // TSN Radio 1050 (Maple Leafs)
  • Live Stream: ESPN+
  • NHL Betting Odds: Penguins (+127) // Maple Leafs (-156)

Huge in the Eastern Conference playoff race as the Maple Leafs currently sit third in the Atlantic Division but aren’t far from a wild card spot, while the Penguins are battling for a WC spot. They need this one a lot more than Toronto does because the Leafs are in the postseason regardless.

Another big storyline involving the Leafs is whether star Auston Matthews will reach the hallowed 70-goal mark. He scored his NHL-leading (by far) 64th goal in Saturday’s 4-2 win at Montreal. It was also his 100th points of the season as Matthews became one of three players in NHL history with at least 60 goals on the night of their 100th point, alongside Brett Hull (68 in 1990-91, 66 in 1991-92 & 64 in 1989-90), Alexander Mogilny (63 in 1992-93) and Mike Bossy (61 in 1980-81).

Matthews’ 64th goal has tied Connor McDavid’s Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard total from 2022-23. The only other players with as many tallies in a single season in the past 30 years are Mario Lemieux (69 in 1995-96) and Alex Ovechkin (65 in 2007-08). Matthews also joined Jeremy Roenick (3x), Matthew Tkachuk (2x), Patrick Kane (2x), Pat LaFontaine (2x), Kevin Stevens (2x) and Jimmy Carson (2x) as the seventh U.S.-born player in NHL history with multiple 100-point seasons.

Fellow Leafs All-Star winger Mitchell Marner had an assist Saturday. It was his first game back since March 7 after suffering an ankle injury. Marner recorded two shots in 17:20 of ice time. Ilya Samsonov made 24 saves in the victory. Samsonov has rung up four straight wins, including one shutout. He’s improved to 17-4-1 since the net minder was banished to the AHL for a reset.

Pittsburgh won its fourth in a row Saturday, 5-4 over Tampa Bay as Michael Bunting snapped a tie with 5:28 left in the third period. Sidney Crosby opened the scoring with his 40th goal of 2023-24. He became the seventh different player in NHL history to reach that mark at 36 years or older, joining Alex Ovechkin (50 in 2021-22 & 42 in 2022-23), Teemu Selanne (48 in 2006-07), Gordie Howe (44 in 1968-69), Phil Esposito (42 in 1978-79), Brendan Shanahan (40 in 2005-06) and Johnny Bucyk (40 in 1972-73).

Evgeni Malkin (2-0—2) recorded his 34th career multi-goal period and passed Crosby (33) as well as Matthews (33) for the second-most instances among active players, trailing only Ovechkin (81). Defenseman Erik Karlsson had three assists and is up to 42 points on the year. Karlsson became the fifth Penguins defenseman to record 40 assists in their first season with the club.

These teams have split two meetings, last a 7-0 Leafs home win on Dec. 16 behind 38 saves from Martin Jones. He doesn’t play much these days, however. Matthews was out with the flu. Tristan Jarry started in goal for Pittsburgh and was pulled early in the second period after giving up four goals on 14 shots.

NHL Betting Pick: Maple Leafs

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Boston Bruins

  • When: Tuesday, April 9th, 2024, 7:00 PM ET
  • Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
  • Radio: 99.9 The Fan FM (Hurricanes) // FM 98.5 The Sports Hub (Bruins)
  • Live Stream: ESPN+
  • NHL Betting Odds: TBA

Would not be surprising if this were a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. Boston is going to win the Atlantic Division, while Carolina likely will finish second in the Metro to the New York Rangers. This is the Hurricanes’ regular-season home finale.

The Bruins carry a four-game winning streak into this one after a 3-2 OT win over Florida on Saturday, which all but clinched the Atlantic title. Jesper Boqvist scored 2:05 into overtime and Linus Ullmark stopped 28 shots in the victory. Charlie Coyle and Charlie McAvoy also scored for the Bruins, who improved to 5-1 since coach Jim Montgomery blasted the team during practice on March 25 for their lack of attention to details and not being prepared for the playoffs.

“I just think that was a wake-up call that our group needed that day,” Montgomery said. “I think why we’re 5-1 is because our team is growing and maturing, and we have great leaders.”

The Bruins have won seven games decided in overtime this season, which is tied with the Blues and Maple Leafs for the sixth most among all teams. The only teams with more victories are the Red Wings (9), Stars (8), Oilers (8), Rangers (8) and Islanders (8).

Since Frederik Andersen returned on March 7, the Canes have gone with a rotation of him and Pyotr Kochetkov between the pipes. With Andersen having played Sunday vs. Columbus, it should be Kochetkov here. Kochetkov made 14 saves in Friday’s 4-2 win over the Capitals. The 24-year-old was beaten twice by Alex Ovechkin in the first period. Carolina carried the play throughout the game and outshot Washington by a 45-16 margin, giving Kochetkov a fairly easy night in the end. Kochetkov has gone 5-2-1 over his last eight starts with a 2.24 GAA and .913 save percentage.

A crucial part of the team’s special teams, Carolina’s power play ranks second (27.2%) and first on the penalty kill (86.2%).

These teams have split two meetings and this concludes the season series. They just played last Thursday in Raleigh and the Bruins were 4-1 upset winners. David Pastrnak and Danton Heinen each had a goal and an assist in the first period. Brad Marchand had the game’s first goal for the 400th of his career, Hampus Lindholm added an empty-netter and Jeremy Swayman made 27 saves for Boston. Andersen was in net for Carolina.

NHL Betting Pick: Bruins

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