2022 NHL Picks: Pittsburgh Penguins Have Made Leap to Stanley Cup Contender

Eric Uribe
By , Updated on: Sep 4, 2022 08:00 PM
2022 NHL Picks: Pittsburgh Penguins Have Made Leap to Stanley Cup Contender

The 2021-22 NHL regular season is officially back in business on the heels of an eventful All-Star break. Likewise, betting odds on the 2022 Stanley Cup are also reaching their natural crescendo. We are so deep into the season that the championship landscape is essentially set in stone.

Or maybe not.

As we have covered ad nauseam in this space, there's an influx of parity throughout the NHL this year. It has made for wonky game-to-game wagering, and it's been harder to discern clear title options. Even the best betting sites for 2022 NHL hockey are struggling to make sense of the pecking order. Championship odds are shifting almost daily as new contenders emerge. And for our next edition of 2022 NHL picks, we'll be spotlighting yet another team that has made the leap to Stanley Cup hopeful: The Pittsburgh Penguins.

First thing's first, though. Let's review the latest betting odds on the NHL for all the action taking place on Thursday, February 17, including the Penguins' matchup vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs:

Toronto Maple Leafs-146+132Pittsburgh Penguins
New York Rangers-190+171Detroit Red Wings
Washington Capitals-175+158Philadelhia Flyers
Buffalo Sabres-114+103Ottawa Senators
St. Louis Blues-265+235Montreal Canadiens
Boston Bruins-110+100New York Islanders
Winnipeg Jets-170+153Seattle Kraken
Chicago Blackhawks-141+128Columbus Blue Jackets
Edmonton Oilers-230+205Anaheim Ducks
Vancouver Canucks-115+104San Jose Sharks

Though single-game lines won't move much before the opening faceoff, we still endorse double-checking all NHL betting odds for accuracy, since they can technically shift right up until the action is underway.

We also believe it's a great idea to peruse our reviews of the top online sportsbooks prior to making any NHL betting picks. These evaluations are super detailed and will enable you to find the best hockey betting sites in 2022.

Can Penguins Make Stanley Cup-Sized Statement vs. Maple Leafs?

Going up against the Maple Leafs' offense spells death for most teams that aren't also firecrackers on that end of the ice. But not the Penguins.

Pittsburgh sports perhaps the most hellacious defense in the league. Only two teams are allowing fewer goals per game, and only two teams are posting higher save percentages.

Toronto will still find ways to break through, particularly in transition. It's what they do. But Kris Letang has kept the Penguins' offense afloat in recent weeks, so when combined with their collective defensive performance, it's time to treat them as one of the NHL's foremost heavyweights.

OSB Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins (+132)

Pittsburgh Penguins To beat the Toronto Maple Leafs

The Rangers Have Officially Arrived, As Well

Speaking of strong defense: Holy New York Rangers.

The Rangers are currently second in goals allowed per game and save percentage, no small feat given how tight things are in their division at the moment. More recently, they have also done a bang-up job killing penalties and capitalizing on power plays. 

At this rate, it won't be long before we're talking about New York as the newest Stanley Cup contender.

OSB Prediction: New York Rangers (-190)

New York Rangers To beat the Detroit Red Wings

Oilers Rebound vs. Ducks

Look, we're not going to sit here and pretend the Oilers are the safest bet in hockey. They have been all over the place this season and bordered on maddening.

Edmonton's chaotic year most recently culminated in the firing of head coach Dave Tippet following back-to-back losses to the Chicago Blackhawks and Vegas Golden Knights. Making changes to the sideline this late into the season is never a good sign.

Then again, the Oilers have since turned in more creative and inspired performances on offense, led by their two MVPs, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. We are fairly confident they can stay on track against Anaheim.

OSB Prediction: Edmonton Oilers (-230)

Edmonton Oilers To beat the Anaheim Ducks

St. Louis is Vulnerable Against Montreal...But May Still Win

Overall, the St. Louis Blues loom as a desperately flawed team. Their offense isn't particularly consistent, they register a lot of thoughtless penalties, and they've incurred some defensive slippage between the posts.

For this matchup specifically, we're unconcerned.

The Montreal Canadiens are not a real threat to anyone at the moment. More than that, St. Louis knows how to mask their largest weaknesses by capitalizing on power plays. Only one team scores on a higher percentage of their plus-one-player minutes than St. Louis.

OSB Prediction: St. Louis Blues (-265)

St. Louis Blues To beat the Montreal Canadiens

Canucks Have Slight Advantage Over San Jose

Kudos to the San Jose Sharks for continuing to top the league in penalty killing percentage. That's great. Truly. But scoring is also imperative to winning hockey games, and the Sharks, frankly, don't do much of it.

To be fair, the Vancouver Canucks aren't chock full of superstar scorers themselves. They do, however, tally goals on a much higher percentage of their power plays and have even been known to scrap together shorthanded scores, as well. 

OSB Prediction: Vancouver Canucks (-115)

Vancouver Canucks To beat the San Jose Sharks

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your NHL betting:

Meet the author

Eric Uribe

Eric has been passionate about sports since he was 10 years old. He brings over 10 years of sports journalism experience to his expert coverage of sports betting. Hailing from the US, Eric leverages his diverse expertise covering sports at all levels – from high schoo...

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