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Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – March 4th, 2024

By Hank Blaine

Bettors will want to be careful betting on hockey this week because the NHL Trade Deadline is Friday so it’s vital to wait for lineups to be posted in case a key guy is dealt or held out because of an imminent trade. Here’s a look at two intriguing early-week matchups.

Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week (March 4th, 2024)

Florida Panthers vs. New York Rangers

  • When: Monday, March 4th, 2024, 7:00 PM ET
  • Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
  • Radio: 560 Sports WQAM (Panthers) // 98.7 FM ESPN New York (Rangers)
  • Live Stream: ESPN+
  • NHL Betting Odds: Panthers (-1.5) // Rangers (+1.5)

Could be an Eastern Conference playoff preview. Both clubs are definitely buyers ahead of the trade deadline. The Rangers reportedly are dangling former No. 2 overall pick Kaapo Kakko to other teams for a win-now veteran. There have been reports the Blueshirts are talking to the Ducks about forwards Adam Henrique and Frank Vatrano. The Ducks have spent a long time scouting the Rangers and Kakko would fit well on that rebuilding club.

One area New York is set is goaltender with former Vezina winner Igor Shesterkin and former Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick. Over the weekend, the Rangers signed Quick to a one-year extension worth $1.275 million for next season, a solid raise over his currently $825K salary. In addition to a $500,000 signing bonus, Quick’s contract has a 20-team no-trade clause and a $25,000 performance bonus if he makes 20 starts and posts a .915 save percentage, according to a source.

Serving in the backup role behind Shesterkin, Quick has arguably been the Rangers’ best goaltender this season. In 21 games played, Quick has accrued a 13-5-2 record, maintaining a .916 SV% and 2.45 GAA in the process. That GAA is tied with Seattle’s Joey Daccord for the sixth-lowest in the league.

New York and Florida are both battling for the Presidents’ Trophy that goes to the team with the most regular-season points in the NHL. Boston, Dallas, Vancouver and Winnipeg are also in the mix. The Rangers enter off a 4-3 shootout loss in Toronto on Saturday.

Alexis Lafrenière scored to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead – New York had been 15-0-0 record when he scored this season. Adam Fox collected his 238th career assist and tied Jim Neilson for the sixth most by a defenseman in Rangers history. Vincent Trocheck had two goals and became the ninth player from the 2011 NHL Draft to reach the 500-point milestone (193-306—499 in 698 GP). He has 11 points, including seven goals on 27 shots, in his last eight games. Shesterkin made 31 saves but had a seven-game winning streak snapped. It was the first time in five starts that Shesterkin allowed more than one goal. Two of the goals were deflections.

Florida won its fourth game in a row Saturday, 4-0 in Detroit. Sam Reinhart scored his 24th power-play goal of the season in the win. Only four other active players have had as many in a single campaign: Leon Draisaitl (32 in 2022-23 & 24 in 2021-22), Chris Kreider (26 in 2021-22), Alex Ovechkin (25 in 2014-15 & 24 in 2013-14) and Steven Stamkos (24 in 2009-10). Sergei Bobrovsky collected his seventh career 30-win season, which is tied for the ninth most in NHL history. The only other active goaltender with as many is Marc Andre Fleury (9).

Monday is the second of three regular-season meetings between the team. They met Dec. 29 in Florida and the Panthers won 4-3. Carter Verhaeghe got the winning goal for Florida with 6:23 remaining in the third period. Reinhart had two goals and Aleksander Barkov three assists. Bobrovsky made 31 saves. Artemi Panarin, Will Culleye and Mika Zibanejad scored for the Rangers, who tied the game twice after facing deficits of 2-0 and 3-2. Quick stopped 28 shots.

NHL Betting Pick: Rangers

Edmonton Oilers vs. Boston Bruins

  • When: Tuesday, March 5th, 2024, 7:00 PM ET
  • Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
  • TV: TNT
  • Radio: 630 CHED AM (Oilers) // WBZ-FM 98.5 (Bruins)
  • Live Stream: ESPN+
  • NHL Betting Odds: TBA

Potential Stanley Cup Finals preview. The Oilers have not made a single trade yet this season, but that is expected to change prior to Friday’s Trade Deadline with general manager Ken Holland looking to improve for a run at the Stanley Cup. Edmonton is 33-11-1 since Kris Knoblauch replaced Jay Woodcroft as coach Nov. 12 and wants a top-six forward and a depth defenseman. Star Connor McDavid said he does not know what to expect prior to the deadline.

“Obviously we believe in our group in there as is, but with that being said, I think we’ve put ourselves in a position to look to see what’s out there,” he said. “I’m sure Kenny and the whole staff is doing that, and anything we can do to make our team better is a good thing.”

McDavid is on pace for 104 assists this season and would become the fourth player in NHL history to hit the century mark for helpers, as Wayne Gretzky did it 11 times while Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr did it once. McDavid also now has the highest points-per-game at 1.71.

Stuart Skinner should be in net for Edmonton. He turned aside 24 shots in Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Kraken. Eeli Tolvanen spoiled his shutout bid with a power-play tally midway through the third period, but otherwise Skinner was brilliant. The 25-year-old netminder has won three straight starts, allowing only five goals on 99 shots over that stretch, and in 19 outings since the calendar flipped to 2024, Skinner has gone 14-4-1 with a 2.36 GAA and .920 save percentage.

Boston is an Eastern Conference contender without a doubt but enters the week with just three wins in its past 11 games. Top-six forward Pavel Zacha suffered a lower-body injury during the first period of the Bruins loss to the Islanders and likely misses time. After skating eight shifts for 4:40 minutes of ice time, the 26-year-old did not return for the start of the second period and was ruled out for the rest of the game by the Bruins. It’s unclear when the injury occurred in the contest. Zacha has 12 goals and 24 assists for 36 points in 57 games for the Bruins this season while averaging 18:20 minutes of ice time.

Star David Pastrnak enters the week three points shy of recording consecutive 90-point seasons, a feat achieved by two other Bruins players over the last 40 years – Adam Oates (2; 1992-93 to 1993-94) and Cam Neely (2; 1989-90 to 1990-91).

The Bruins try for the season sweep as they were 6–5 winners in overtime in Edmonton on Feb. 21. Charlie McAvoy sent a backhand past Skinner 3:10 into the extra period that started with Edmonton on the power play. Boston gave up leads of 4-1 and 5-4 in the game. Jeremy Swayman made 37 saves. Skinner stopped 30 shots. Edmonton entered with an eight-game home winning streak.

NHL Betting Pick: Bruins

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