NHL picks: 4 best bets for Tuesday night
Andrew Berkshire provides his best NHL picks and predictions for Tuesday night's action.
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As we inch closer to the trade deadline, contending teams are starting to make moves to push things forward and solidify their rosters for the last stretch of the season and into the playoffs. The Calgary Flames made the first big splash by adding Tyler Toffoli, and now the Toronto Maple Leafs have entered the fray by moving on from the struggling Nick Ritchie, and acquiring Ilya Lyubushkin to add some snarl on defence. Who will be the next contender to make a move, and will it change their outlook?
Speaking of the Maple Leafs, they’re in tough a little bit here. On the second half of a back-to-back set with travel, they’re running into the somewhat streaking Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Leafs are a vastly better team than Columbus is, but with the Blue Jackets going 7-3-0 in their last 10 games, and the back-to-back situation, I think there’s a very good chance they upset the odds here.
Petr Mrazek has been getting his flowers from Leafs fans recently as Jack Campbell has struggled, but he remains a shockingly inconsistent goaltender, and has just a .899 save percentage through nine games played this season.
Elvis Merzlikins hasn’t been playing all that well lately either, posting sub-90 per cent save percentages in five of his last six starts, but I think the Leafs are going to have issues winning this one.
For the first time in a long time, Laine has been scoring like he did his first two seasons in the league. With 12 goals in 13 games since the calendar changed to 2022, he’s arguably the hottest goal scorer in the league. Auston Matthews has one more goal, but he’s also played four more games.
Throughout the careers of the two players who went No. 1 and No. 2 in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Matthews has typically dominated when the two faced off head-to-head. It’ll be interesting to see if Laine can flip that script on its head while he’s red-hot, and the Blue Jackets are too.
After a slow start to the season where Kaprizov didn’t light the lamp for eight straight games, and there were calls of familiar tropes of lazy Russians not performing after signing big deals, young Kirill has put those godawful narratives to bed.
With 23 goals in 38 games since then, he’s been one of the most consistently dangerous players in the NHL, and against a team like Ottawa that can get caught up playing run-and-gun, expect Kaprizov to be a difference maker on the scoresheet.
It’s been a full-on career renaissance for Sam Bennett since the Calgary Flames traded him to the Florida Panthers. He’s been a dynamite addition for the Cats, who are one of the best teams in the league and a bona fide cup contender for the first time in their history.
Despite having 12 goals in the new year, Bennett has actually gone a little cold as of late, scoreless in his last five games and tallying just a single assist. His shot rate has dropped a little as well, and this is the longest skid he’s had this season after two stretches of four games without a goal.
It’s unlikely it lasts for long, and he’ll be looking to make a big impact against a physical team like the Nashville Predators.