If you don’t follow the NHL too closely, you could easily miss a week, not check any scores or updates, and come back to see most teams have played twice, if not 3 times since you last looked. It is a sports league that requires a heavy degree of dedication, and fans need to be constantly checking their smartphones for upcoming fixtures, to ensure they don’t miss any of the action.
Across the Eastern and Western Conferences, most teams have played at least 19 times, so the standings are starting to take shape nicely, and reflect reality. A quick glance shows that in the Atlantic Division in the Eastern, it is the Florida Panthers who have started the season the best, having won 14 of their opening 19 matches. Their most recent victory came against the Philadelphia Flyers, in a game that went to overtime. It was the Panthers who scored the vital final goal, handing them a 2-1 victory. Not bad for a team from one of the sunnier parts of the country, who don’t have a lot of natural ice to practice on.
Next up for the Panthers is a game against the Washington Capitals, who have also started this new campaign brightly, currently sitting in 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division. They looked impressive last time out against the Montreal Canadiens, beating them 6-3. The odds are close for this game, with oddsmakers unsure over who has the upper hand going into the game. If we had to make a bold prediction, we would say that bettors should go for the Panthers, as even though the game is being played in Washington, they should have enough in their locker to make it past the Capitals.
Avalanche crushing all who challenge them
The Colorado Avalanche are not one of the traditionally bigger teams in the NHL, having won only 2 Stanley Cups since they joined the league in 1979 (although to give them credit they have secured 10 Division Championships in that time). In fact, they lost 4 of their first 6 games this season, looking all out of sorts against the St Louis Blues, the Capitals and the Panthers. So it is safe to say the betting stats would not have had them making the playoffs given how they began this campaign.
However, since then their form has picked up drastically, and are currently on a 6 game winning streak, the longest successful run in the NHL, making them a favourite with the odds makers and bettors once again.For anyone looking for free NHL picks when placing bets on the upcoming fixtures, then you would be wise to search for odds and select the Avalanche. Next up they face the Dallas Stars, who have had a mixed season so far, with an overall record of 8-7. Therefore, the odds will certainly favour Colorado in this one.
Lightning struggling to recapture their 2020/21 form?
The current Stanley Cup champions are the Tampa Bay Lightning, who beat the Canadiens 4-1 to lift their 3rd championship in their history. It meant that the pressure would be firmly on them this year, with all eyes fixed to see if they could do what so many sides struggle with, and retain the Stanley Cup.
They haven’t started the season badly, far from it. Ater 18 games, they have won 11, which is enough to put them in 3rd place in the Atlantic Division, just behind the Panthers and the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, most observers would consider that they don’t look quite as powerful as they did last year, especially when they were on the march through the playoffs. That isn’t to say that they won’t still be a force to be reckoned with during the postseason, as most bookmakers would consider them to be one of the favourite sides to make it deep into the playoffs. It’s just the losses to the likes of the New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres looked a bit out of character.
Either way, they’ve won their 2 most recent matches, against the Minnesota Wild and the Philadelphia Flyers, and face the Seattle Kraken next. Given the Kraken are rock bottom of the Pacific Division, the odds will firmly be in the Lightning’s favour for this one.
Can the Flames continue to heat up the Pacific Division?
Another side who are in red hot form right now are the Calgary Flames, who are currently on a 4 game winning streak. Recent games have seen them beat the Sabres, the New York Islanders and the Chicago Blackhawks, as they cement their place at the top of the Pacific Division.
The Flames have only one Stanley Cup win to their name, and have only won the Division Championship twice this century, so this current good form wasn’t necessarily expected at the start of the season. Therefore, Flames fans should enjoy it while it lasts, and hope that the good times continue as long as possible. They take on the Winnipeg Jets next, and while the betting odds will be close, we still expect Calgary to come out on top in this one.