If you like a lot of hockey, you’re going to like this week in the NHL. Fifteen teams play four games from Monday to Sunday and 29 teams play at least three games this week. It is going to be a busy one as the NHL playoff push continues. Every point matters at this time of the year, including the points that the tanking teams don’t get and don’t want.
We have a pretty spread out schedule this week, too. Usually Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday are the big days in the NHL, but we’ve got quite a few Wednesday and Sunday games coming your way this week as well.
Let’s go ahead and dive in with some situational spots to consider for the week ending March 15:
Monday March 9
Vegas Golden Knights at Edmonton Oilers – The last time the Oilers played the Golden Knights, they were still trying to sort things out with some of their new acquisitions. They also ran into a brick wall in Marc-Andre Fleury, who made four or five excellent saves in the first period to give his team a chance. The Oilers would lose 3-0 in that one. They are out for revenge at home now and seem to be flowing a little bit better since that game. This is the Alberta back-to-back for Vegas and I think this is a good spot to take Edmonton at a reasonable price at home.
Tuesday March 10
Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs – With a small card and limited options on Monday, we flip to Tuesday, where the Tampa Bay Lightning are taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs continue to have issues. The Lightning have leveled off a little bit as well, but this is a much better team in its own zone that is even better on offense. These big Atlantic Division matchups are important, even if the Bolts look to be locked into the #2 seed in the division. They’re just a better team and will give this game a big push.
New York Islanders at Vancouver Canucks – The Islanders fire up a week’s worth of road games with this one against Vancouver. Teams really do try to put together a complete effort in that first road game whenever possible and that is what the Islanders will be striving for in this one. I typically like to look at road dogs here and the Isles will be on my radar for Tuesday.
Wednesday March 11
St. Louis Blues at Anaheim Ducks – What a brutal spot this is for the Blues. This is a standalone road game all the way out in Anaheim. After a quick stop home on Monday after a three-game road trip, the Blues find themselves right back on a plane for California. This is a back-to-back for Anaheim after playing Ottawa on Tuesday night. It is a really strange spot both ways, as teams rarely play home back-to-backs and teams rarely go as far as St. Louis is for a standalone road game. The Blues are far and away the better team, but the spot is probably enough to keep me off of them.
New York Rangers at Colorado Avalanche – Obvious spot here for the Rangers. They are in a back-to-back with travel for a rare stop in Denver. The altitude could certainly play a big role here, as the Rangers are scratching and clawing for points in the crowded Metropolitan Division. A spot this obvious will be priced into the number, so take a look at the line and decide if there is still value on Colorado or if there just isn’t enough to like about the price.
Ottawa Senators at Los Angeles Kings – The Senators finish up the California swing here with the Anaheim/Los Angeles back-to-back. The Kings are playing a bit better lately and are a team that has played substantially better at home than on the road. This looks like a pretty good spot for them, as Ottawa has nothing to play for the rest of the way and may just enjoy being in California instead of Ontario at this time of the year.
Thursday March 12
Vegas Golden Knights at Minnesota Wild – This is a weird road trip for Vegas. It started last Friday in Winnipeg. Then the Knights went to Calgary and then Edmonton for a Sunday/Monday back-to-back. Then they have the two days off before this one and then two more days off before playing Denver. Minnesota is playing pretty well and making another late playoff push, so this game is hardly a gimme. Given the spot, I think it could be a tad tough for Vegas to get going. I’d at least look Minnesota first period, especially with how slow VGK has started on a regular basis this season. Minnesota has three days off before this game as well.
Philadelphia Flyers at Tampa Bay Lightning – The surging Flyers make a quick trip to the Sunshine State to take on Tampa Bay and then head right back home. This is the first game back for Tampa Bay from a quick 3-in-4 trip. This should be an excellent game. This will be a barometer type of game for the Flyers with their most recent run and will be a high-octane spot for a Lightning team trying to make up ground in the division. Tampa Bay also plays doormats Detroit and New Jersey this weekend, so they’ll be up for this one in the spirit of competition. I think we get an under type of game here with a lot of importance played both ways.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Blue Jackets – Expect a huge push from the Jackets on Thursday. Whether or not it will be enough, I’m not sure, but they are in the playoff chase and have not been playing particularly well of late. This is the first game back off of a road trip for Columbus, but they have three days off before the game. This looks like a max effort type of game for Columbus. If you feel like the price is good enough, you’re going to get them emptying the tank in all likelihood.
Friday March 13
Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres – The Bruins and the Sabres square off on Friday night in a bad spot for both teams. This is a standalone road game for Boston before making a Hockey Night in Canada appearance in an Original Six battle against Toronto on Saturday. This is a back-to-back with travel for Buffalo. Boston is undoubtedly the better team, but I do think Buffalo could be more invested. Boston looks to have the division and probably the top seed pretty well in hand. The Sabres have no laurels to rest on.
Vancouver Canucks at Colorado Avalanche – We’ve got an obvious spot here between Vancouver and Colorado. This is a back-to-back with travel for Vancouver and we all know how that second night in altitude can be. Oddly enough, opposing teams are 16-13 in a back-to-back going to Colorado dating back to 2016. That is a whole lot better than I would have thought. It is a situational spot twice this week. Let’s see if Colorado can take advantage. If anything, it seems like it could be overpriced in the market based on recent history.
New York Islanders at Edmonton Oilers – This is not a good spot for the Islanders. Not only is this a back-to-back with travel to face the faster of the two Alberta teams in the second game, but the Islanders also play Pittsburgh on Sunday in a big division game. Edmonton hits the road to go east after this one, so I think we get a full home effort from them. The Oilers may be a little bit chalky, but they are my favorite play of the week.
Saturday March 14
Pittsburgh Penguins at Carolina Hurricanes – The Rapid Revenge Theory is active here. Carolina rolled 6-2 over Pittsburgh last Sunday. Now the Penguins have a shot to return the favor against a Carolina team in a rare standalone home game spot. Really, there isn’t much more to it than that, but these types of spots are always really interesting to consider.
Minnesota Wild at Philadelphia Flyers – This is a 1 p.m. ET puck drop for a standalone road game for Minnesota. They’ll be right back home to host Nashville in a division game on Sunday. Minnesota needs all the points possible at this point in the season. We’ll see if they can get these two, but it looks like a tall task to say the least. The early start time really makes it difficult.
San Jose Sharks at Dallas Stars – This is a good spot for Dallas to pick up two fairly easy points. This is a 3-in-4 road stretch for San Jose when they don’t have much to play for except pride. Dallas is at home all week and has no back-to-backs or any other compromising spots. This is one where you would want to consider a -1.5 or a -1 regulation bet or something like that to cut into the vig a little bit.
Sunday March 15
Edmonton Oilers at Philadelphia Flyers – It sure seems like the Oilers get screwed on these more than any other Western Conference team. Edmonton draws a 1 p.m. ET puck drop to kick off this road trip that starts in Philadelphia. The Flyers are in a back-to-back, but will have just played a day game on Saturday. They’ve also played a lot of them throughout the years. We obviously can’t say the same about Edmonton, though it sure does feel like they wind up with the short straw in a lot of these.
Carolina Hurricanes at Buffalo Sabres – Speaking of drawing a short straw, the Hurricanes have that this Sunday. They are playing a ton of games with a lot of back-to-backs throughout the month of March anyway. This one is particularly bad. After playing Pittsburgh on Saturday and finishing up a little bit before 10, the Hurricanes have to fly to Buffalo to play at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday. It is also a standalone road game just to turn around and play Buffalo in Raleigh next Tuesday. The Sabres are in a great spot here. We’ll see if they can take advantage of it.
New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins – The Penguins wrap up this brutal 4-in-6 stretch with an odd 6 p.m. ET puck drop in the Steel City. This is not a great spot for Pittsburgh coming off of the Carolina game either, but it still has to be better than the spot for an Islanders team that just went to Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. Of course, the Islanders are also off on Saturday, so maybe that levels the playing field some. We’ll have to see how the week plays out for both teams.
Keep an eye out for these NHL situational betting spots every week at BangTheBook.com!