Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:51 AM

NHL Best Bets, Score Predictions for Wednesday Feb. 24

NHL Daily Free Picks & Predictions NHL expert Matt Blunt provides his score predictions and best bets for two NHL games on Wednesday Feb. 24, 2021.

New York Rangers vs Philadelphia

  • Money-Line Odds: New York +106, Philadelphia -122
  • Total (Over-Under): 5.5

Score Prediction: Philadelphia 4 New York 2

Best Bet: Philadelphia ML

Philadelphia should get a nice boost on Wednesday night with their captain Claude Giroux likely returning after being on the COVID list for a few weeks.

Philly's lineup is still without a few other big names due to protocols still, but with the Rangers now missing Panarin thanks to distractions from overseas, and the Flyers looking to avenge their Feb 18th loss to NYR – Philly's first game back from a COVID pause – the only thing not seemingly working in the Flyers favor here is recent form.

Yet, we've seen from other NHL teams that were forced on a pause that it can take a few games to fully catch up to the speed of the NHL game again, especially when opponents have been playing hockey every other day or so the whole time.

It got ugly in a hurry for the Flyers in Lake Tahoe in Game 2 back from the pause, but now that that whole ordeal is out of the way, and the leader of the team in Giroux is likely coming back, a return home to face a team they just faced could be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Flyers.

I was on the Rangers for that OT win over the Flyers, and while that was a rough spot for the Flyers in their first game back, the role of being in an advantageous spot does appear to have flipped here.

I don't really know how to fully account for the Rangers being affected by something that's clearly politically motivated from the other half of the world, but there are a lot of things bigger than sports in this world, and depending on where this situation with Panarin ultimately goes, chances are it's a scenario that counts as one as being bigger than hockey.

I can't see this already inconsistent Rangers team being solely focused on the task at hand in terms of trying to beat the Flyers for the second time in a week, especially since it's the end of a three-game road trip that's spanned nearly a full week.

Los Angeles Kings vs. St. Louis

  • Money-Line Odds: Los Angeles +133, St Louis -157
  • Total (Over-Under): 5.5

Score Prediction: St. Louis 4 LA Kings 3

Best Bet: Over 5.5

The Kings rank as the 5th worst team in the league in xGA/60 in all situations (2.98) coming into this game, and off a shutout win against this same Blues team on Monday night, I can only expect to see some goals in this rematch.

Defensive numbers like that do not lend themselves to strong, consecutive performances on the defensive end for a team like LA, even if there have been some improvement lately.

Furthermore, the Blues have been shut out twice before this season, and in their next game in both instances, St. Louis managed to score at least three goals themselves on both occasions (1-1 O/U).

The Blues have only had consecutive games cash 'under' tickets just once this year as well – oddly enough it came off one of those shutout losses – and with the Kings sharing the ice with them tonight, it just makes expecting plenty of goals that much easier.

That's because despite the Kings sub-par defensive numbers which have been improved of late, this is also an LA team that ranks 11th in xGF/60 at 2.82 and is currently chalk full of confidence right now having won give games in a row, scoring at least three goals in all of them.

Los Angeles has actually scored 3+ goals in seven straight games overall, and just like St. Louis, the Kings have only seen consecutive 'under' tickets cash on one other occasion this year as well – oddly enough off a shutout win too.

The fact that the two outliers in those cases fits this situation perfectly (Blues off shutout loss, Kings off shutout win) is probably nothing more than a coincidence, as these two teams played 4-2 and 6-3 games here in St. Louis the first time they met for a two-game set, and Wednesday's game should resemble those outings more than the 3-0 shutout we saw a few days ago.

LA is still on a 4-1 O/U run on the road, 9-4 O/U in their last 13 as a road underdog, and St. Louis is 10-4 O/U in their last 14 at home and 8-1 O/U after losing by 3+ goals.

I'll side with that evidence here as I expect the video goal judge to have a busy night lighting the goal light often in this game.

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