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

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

By Hank Blaine

The NHL has just locked in arguably the most important NHL date for the coming offseason May 8. That’s when the Draft lottery will be held with the winner of that a lock to take once-in-a-generation prospect Connor Bedard. Many teams are tanking for the chance to take the Canadian forward. Here’s a look at two intriguing matchups early this week around the league. The draft lottery will be a 30-minute stand-alone show from 7-7:30 p.m. ET that will be broadcast live on ESPN in the United States. Check back for NHL odds.

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

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Colorado Avalanche

It’s a 9 PM ET puck drop from Denver. The Blackhawks are in tank mode for Bedard as they have traded away several of their best players like Patrick Kane and have shut down captain Jonathan Toews for the season due to some long-term COVID issues.

The Hawks come off a 4-2 loss in Arizona on Saturday. Chicago defenseman Wyatt Kaiser made his NHL debut Saturday night. Alex Stalock allowed three goals on 20 shots and the fourth was an empty-netter. Stalock let a couple of one-goal leads slip away, and then Juuso Valimaki scored with 3:12 left in the third period to give the Coyotes the lead. It was Stalock’s first loss in three games since he returned from an illness. The 35-year-old netminder is at 9-9-1 with a 2.72 GAA and a .919 save percentage in 20 appearances this season. He should continue to start while Petr Mrazek (groin) is sidelined.

Caleb Jones and Jujhar Khaira had the goals in the loss. The defenseman Jones has two goals and an assist over his last five contests, and he’s up to 14 points, 70 shots on net, 101 hits, 95 blocked shots and a minus-14 rating through 60 appearances this season. Khaira hadn’t scored since Nov. 27, though he missed two months with a back injury in that span. He’s been much better lately with a goal and five assists over his last six games.

Hawks defenseman Wyatt Kaiser made his NHL debut Saturday. The 20-year-old signed a three-year entry-level contract earlier last week. A third-round pick in 2020, Kaiser played as a junior this season at Minnesota-Duluth. Kaiser played 15:40 and blocked one shot.

Colorado won its fifth in a row Saturday, 5-1 in Detroit. Mikko Rantanen had a goal for a fourth straight game and seventh straight with points for Rantanen, who leads the Avs and ranks third in the NHL with 46 goals. At 83 points through 68 games, Rantanen is nine points shy of the career high set last season. Nathan MacKinnon scored the game-winning goal and added two assists. MacKinnon extended his point streak to eight games with the performance, a stretch in which he’s piled up six goals and 15 points. He’s failed to find the scoresheet only twice in 20 games since the All-Star break, and on the season he’s up to 30 goals — the sixth time in his career he’s reached that mark — and 88 points in only 57 contests.

This is the last meeting of the season between the teams. They have split two games.

NHL Betting Pick: Avalanche

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Washington Capitals

  • When: Tuesday, March 21, 2023, 7:00 PM ET
  • Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
  • Radio: 97.1 The Fan (Blue Jackets) // 106.7 The Fan (Capitals)
  • Live Stream: NHL Live
  • NHL Betting Odds: TBA

While Columbus is in tank mode, Washington hasn’t missed the playoffs since 2014 but will unless the team starts playing a lot better immediately. The Caps could get some help in that regard as star defenseman John Carlson expects to be back in the lineup perhaps this week, although probably not for this game, after recovering from a skull fracture and laceration of the temporal artery he sustained when he was hit in the head with a slap shot Dec. 23.

Carlson practiced with the Capitals wearing a no-contact jersey again Saturday before they traveled for their game at the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. The 33-year-old defenseman has been skating with the Capitals for the past 10 days and could be cleared for full contact in the coming days.

The Capitals’ home game against the Blackhawks on Thursday would mark three months since he was injured. Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said March 3 that Carlson has “a set timeframe” for his recovery before he’d be cleared to play. Carlson would not confirm that timeframe is three months, saying, “It’s a rolling target.”

Entering this season, Carlson had missed a total of just 46 games dating back to the outset of the 2010-11 season, his first full season in the NHL. Only four NHL blueliners – Keith Yandle, Gary Suter, Alex Goligoski and Brent Burns. In 30 games with Carlson this season, the Caps are 18-10-2 and they’ve outscored the opposition by a combined 98-81 (plus-17).

No. 1 goaltender Darcy Kuemper suffered an upper-body injury in practice Saturday and it’s not clear how long he might miss. The 32-year-old netminder is 20-22-5 this season with a .910 save percentage this season. Charlie Lindgren would take over between the pipes if Kuemper is forced to miss time.

Kuemper’s ailment sparked a weekend recall from AHL Hershey, as the Caps summoned netminder Zach Fucale from the Bears right around the time they touched down in Minnesota on Saturday afternoon.

Washington is 3-0 vs. Columbus this season. They last played Jan. 31 in Columbus and the Caps won 4-3 in OT. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the game winner 26 seconds into overtime.

NHL Betting Pick: Capitals

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

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