NHL Puck-Line Power Poll as of 4/23/14
- Updated: April 23, 2014
Anyone can easily look up who the best teams are in terms of wins and losses in the NHL, but the really successful NHL betting fans are the ones who analyze every aspect of the game. Today, we’re going to look at the puck-lines for the hottest and the coldest teams in the NHL through games completed on 4/23/14.
1: San Jose Sharks (3-0, +$567) – The Sharks have shown the Los Angeles Kings just who is boss in the state of California hockey as they have jumped out to a 3-0 series lead. After throttling the Kings 6-3 in Game 1 San Jose came out in Game 2 and dominated even more in a 7-2 win. The Kings did manage to force overtime in Game 3 before San Jose’s Patrick Marleau beat LA G Jonathan Quick for the game-winning goal. This team has saved its best hockey for last as it is beating up on the NHL’s No. 1 defense during the regular season. It’s scary to think what the Sharks could do if they weren’t facing a tough defense led by a premier goalie. They are scoring a ridiculous 5.66 goals per game right now and the competition on the other side doesn’t get harder it actually gets easier if you’re looking at regular season statistics. If San Jose G Anntti Niemi can continue to keep the Kings in check in Game 4 this series will be over in a clean sweep. Niemi isn’t doing anything crazy special as he has a .912 save percentage to go with a 2.66 GAA, but with the offensive support he is getting he doesn’t need to be perfect.
2: Dallas Stars (3-0, +466) – The Stars actually trail their series with the Anaheim Ducks 2-1, but they are doing a great job at keeping these games close as they are a clear ‘underdog’ in the opening round of the playoffs. On Monday night they defended their home ice shutting out the Ducks 3-0 behind a solid outing from G Kari Lehtonen who stopped all 37 shots he saw in the win. Lehtonen is doing nothing wrong in this series as he has a 2.33 GAA and a .923 save percentage through the first three games. It’s actually the offense that isn’t quite doing enough against Anaheim as it will need to get going if Dallas has any shot to win the series. On Wednesday the Stars are ‘favorites’ on the puck-line so they will need to keep building on their performance in Game 3. Dallas must take advantage of its home ice advantage as the series heads back to Anaheim for Game 5 and it will have to take care of business on Wednesday to get tied up before that trip. The home team is 5-1 in the L/6 meetings between these two and that bodes well for the Stars chances at getting the job done in Game 4.
3: Columbus Blue Jackets (3-0, +$300) – It’s no surprise to see the Columbus Blue Jackets here as they have been on the ‘who’s hot’ list for many weeks now. The Blue Jackets were masterful against the puck-line in the regular season at 53-29 ATS and that has continued as they have yet to drop a puck-line in the postseason. They do trail the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in their series, but they will have a chance to tie things up with a win on Wednesday night at Nationwide Arena where they were 22-15-4 SU during the regular season. Each of the first three games with the Penguins has ended in a 4-3 final score and with the Jackets as decided ‘underdogs’ every night that bodes well for their puck-line numbers. Columbus is due to get something done against Pittsburgh at home as it is 0-6 SU in the L/6 meetings in the Buckeye State. There’s no secret that the success of this Blue Jackets team lies in the hands of their G Sergei Bobrovsky who needs to have a big game on Wednesday night. The offense is doing its part scoring plenty of goals it’s just the defense that isn’t quite getting the job done. To have a chance in this series Columbus will have to contain Pittsburgh’s offense to two goals and under or else its going fishing next week.
4: Boston Bruins (2-1, +$279) – Here’s an example of a team that had a horrible outing in Game 1, but the Boston Bruins have since rallied their offense and gotten a 2-1 lead in their series with the Detroit Red Wings. Their success has been based on the play of G Tuukka Rask who has limited the Red Wings to just two goals in 180 minutes of action through the first three games. Rask has put up a ridiculous 0.66 GAA and a .975 save percentage that includes a shutout of Detroit on Tuesday night. Thanks to Rask things are looking pretty good for Boston as it boasts one of the league’s top offensive units to support its net minder. After being shut out in Game 1 the Bruins responded with a 4-1 win in Game 2 and followed it up by shutting out the Red Wings 3-0 in Game 3. If the offense can continue to even score three goals per game there’s no way that Boston will not continue to cover its puck-lines with Rask stopping everything in sight. On Thursday night the Bruins have a great chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead if they can beat the Red Wings in Hockeytown U.S.A. behind another solid team effort.
5: Colorado Avalanche (2-1, +$223) – The Colorado Avalanche are in one heck of a fight with the Minnesota Wild in their series as they carry a 2-1 lead into a huge game on Thursday night. Colorado grabbed a 2-0 series lead after nabbing both of its games on home ice, but failed to even score in a 1-0 overtime loss to Minnesota on Tuesday. That had to be disappointing for this team as the offense produced well in the first two games with a 5-4 overtime win followed up by a 4-2 win. The good news is the defense played great in Game 3 and didn’t allow a goal until the overtime period. If the Avs can get their offense going again in Game 4 and get a similar effort out of the defense they could be looking at a 3-1 lead heading home. Colorado has one of the best net minders in hockey in G Seymon Varlamov who won a league leading 41 games this regular season. Varlamov made 45 saves in Game 3 before the game-winner was scored against him and he will need to play that well to keep his team motoring through the playoffs. As an ‘underdog’ in Game 4 we definitely like the Avs chances to cover another puck-line.
6: Chicago Blackhawks (2-1, +$201) – The Blackhawks are playing in arguably the highest contested series in the playoffs right now. A match-up with the St. Louis Blues has seen the Hawks play well, but dug themselves into a 2-1 hole heading into Game 4. After dropping both games in St. Louis, Chicago got a big 2-0 shutout win at the United Center on Monday night. Blackhawks G Corey Crawford stopped all 34 shots he saw in the game to record his first clean sheet of the playoffs. Crawford must continue to play well against a high powered Blues offense that scored 2.9 goals per game during the regular season. Chicago must get more production out of its offense to tie up this series on Wednesday night. Its all-star offensive lineup of Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews to name a few must start giving more to their team. The Blackhawks won it all last season by finding ways to outscore their opponents which is exactly what they must do to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals. We expect this team to score some goals on Blues G Ryan Miller in Game 4 and get this series even as they are heavy ‘favorites’ to get the job done on Wednesday.
7: New York Rangers (2-1, +$191) – The New York Rangers untied their series with the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night as they got a 4-1 win and emphatic puck-line cover in Philly. They are finally getting what they paid for with Martin St. Louis contributing a goal and an assist in Game 3. If he can stay hot this offense could become completely unstoppable in these playoffs. New York won’t play again until Friday as it is very slight ‘favorites’ in Game 4. Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist has been outstanding in his team’s two wins as he stopped 31 shots giving up just one goal on Tuesday. In Game 1 he only had to stop 14 shots to get a matching 4-1 win and his play will continue to be important as his team tries to stop a powerful Flyers offense. The Rangers were one of the best defense’s in the league during the regular season giving up just 2.3 goals per game. If they can figure out a way to hold down the Flyers their chances of closing out this series will go up immensely as the offense hasn’t had a problem scoring goals thus far. A Rangers win on Friday would mean a 3-1 advantage and a chance to close out Philadelphia at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
15: Anaheim Ducks (0-3, -$494) – The Anaheim Ducks have yet to cover a puck-line, but they are 2-1 SU in their series with the Dallas Stars. They were shutout Monday night in a 3-0 loss to the Stars as the series shifted over to Dallas. Anaheim will need its offense to rev back up in a big game Wednesday night that could give it a 3-1 series lead heading back home. The Ducks are a slight ‘underdog’ in Game 4 so all they have to do is lose by a goal to get their first puck-line cover of the postseason. If they get the offense going early the Ducks can try to hold onto a lead with a strong defense that gave up just 2.5 goals per game during the regular season. Anaheim had the league’s top offense during the regular season scoring 3.2 goals per game. Its chances at winning Game 4 will rely heavily on the play of G Frederik Andersen who is probable to get the start over G Jonas Hiller who has yet to see any action in this series. A big night from Andersen as well as from Ryan Getzlaf and the offense is just what the doctor orders for this team as they try to get their first puck-line cover.
13: Pittsburgh Penguins (0-3, -$300) – The Pittsburgh Penguins are getting all the competition they want from the Columbus Blue Jackets as three straight games have been decided by just one goal. They are also looking for their first puck-line cover on Wednesday night as they will once again be ‘favorites’ on the boards of Las Vegas. So far the only “safe bet” has been the ‘over’ in this series with each game seeing a total of seven goals scored. Penguins G Marc-Andre Fleury has yet to really find his regular season form in this series. He is giving up 3.3 goals per game in the first three games and will need to tighten up a bit as this series progresses. Pittsburgh has had no problems scoring the puck as C Sidney Crosby has dished out four assists and everyone else is putting his passes to the back of the net. If the Pens can keep scoring at this rate they may not even need Fleury to do anything spectacular in goal. The league’s top power play unit scored on 23.1 percent of their chances with the man advantage during the regular season, but it was at even strength when Pittsburgh scored three unanswered goals to cap off a 4-3 comeback win in Game 3.
11: St. Louis Blues (1-2, -$220) – The St. Louis Blues are in a war against their nearby rival Chicago Blackhawks in a series that we expect to go the distance with an exciting Game 7 next week. Neither team has given an inch in the first three games, and the Blues have a 2-1 advantage. As the series shifted to the Windy City St. Louis was blanked 2-0 in Game 3 and it sets up their chance to go up 3-1 with a win in Game 4. It got G Ryan Miller at the trade deadline for games just like this one that the ownership may have felt back-up G Brian Elliott wasn’t ready to play in just yet. Until the low scoring Game 3 this series had been putting 7.0 goals per game in the first two. The Blues hold one of the league’s best offensive units that scored 2.9 goals per game during the regular season. They will need to crank it up as they were shut out on Monday for the first time in a long time. If St. Louis can get its offense going and get a big game out of its goalie it could easily cover the puck-line and grab a win that could go a long way in sending it to the conference semifinals.