Now that we have less than a quarter of the 2022-23 NHL regular season ahead of us, it’s time to take a look at the race for the Calder Trophy, given each year to the league’s top rookie. Matty Beniers has led the conversation for most of the way, given the impact he has had and the consistency he has shown. The Kraken center has helped guide the team to an almost-certain playoff berth. He uses his speed to pressure opposing puck carriers in the neutral zone and into the defensive zone and also can stickhandle well enough with speed to cause stress for opposing defenses. The top goalie in the Calder conversation is Edmonton’s Stuart Skinner, who has become the team’s No. 1 netminder. The defense in front of him is porous at best, but he has been able to keep the team as close to a postseason conversation as possible given the circumstances. Heading into the new week, check out our top two NHL betting picks.
NHL News: Top Bets for Week 22
Dallas Stars at Seattle Kraken
Monday, March 13 – 10:00 pm ET | The Stars had lost six out of seven and were in danger of losing their Central Division lead to Colorado, but then they reeled off three impressive wins over Arizona, Chicago and Colorado, beating the Avs in a 7-3 laugher. They followed that up with a ridiculously poor display of defense in the first two periods against Calgary in a 5-4 loss that saw them fall behind, 4-2, claw back to tie the game, and then permit an unsightly breakaway with 6.2 seconds left. Dallas did see Jason Robertson score for the 38th time this season and Roope Hintz light his 30th lamp. Max Domi scored his first Dallas goal since he came from Chicago via trade. This is the same Calgary team that ousted Dallas in Game 7 of last year’s Western Conference playoffs in the first round, and the same Calgary team that beat Dallas, 6-5, in Dallas on January 14.
The Kraken went 3-0 on a recent Midwest road swing, taking down St. Louis, Columbus and Colorado before coming home to beat Anaheim, 5-2, on Tuesday. Jared McCann made it five goals in five games and now has 31 on the season, and Daniel Sprong broke a goalless streak that extended back to January 17. The Kraken have now posted four winning streaks of at least five games on the season. Matty Beniers had a pair of assists and is still the top-scoring rookie in the NHL. Philipp Grubauer had 20 saves and posted his fourth win in four games. Can the Kraken solve a porous Dallas defense and continue to gain on Vegas in the Pacific? Kraken to win.
Washington Capitals at N.Y. Rangers
Tuesday, March 14 – 7:00 pm ET, ESPN / Disney+ | The Capitals have recovered a bit from a six-game losing streak, winning three of five since. Their most recent game was a 4-2 loss in Los Angeles to the Kings on Monday. Alex Ovechkin scored on the power play, and Rasmus Sandin notched a goal and a helper. Darcy Kuemper stoped 37 shots, but it was not enough to fend off the barrage from the hosts. The game was close until Mikey Anderson scored for the Kings at 7:52 of the third period to make it a 3-2 game, and an empty-netter with 1.8 seconds left yielded the final result. Washington was outshot 19-3 in the first period and weathered that storm, but they could not find enough offense to make the Kings pay.
The Rangers are sliding dangerously at this point, having lost two in a row and six of eight. Their two recent setbacks came at home against Ottawa and in Boston, where they lost, 4-2, to the Bruins on Sunday. That game saw Alex Lafreniere score both goals, as Igor Shesterkin made 20 saves. Patrick Kane, who came over from Chicago in a blockbuster deal on Tuesday, has not scored in either of his two games with the Blueshirts. After getting Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko at the trade deadline, the Rangers expected improvement, but so far, the team is still looking to build chemistry with the new additions. Rangers to win.
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