NHL Puck-Line Power Poll as of 3/1/14
- Updated: March 1, 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 3/1/14.
1: Tampa Bay Lightning (36-23, +$1,825) – The Lightning have jumped back into the top spot in puck-line standings this week. They took advantage of a small underdog role on the road against the Nashville Predators and lost 3-2 while playing the puck-line’s worst team. It was an off night for the offense as they managed just 16 shots against the Preds, shot frequency will definitely have to go up for the Lightning to continue a successful season. Tampa Bay G Ben Bishop had a bit of an off outing himself giving up three goals on 29 shots. His GAA sits right at 2.0 after the loss, but we do expect him to settle back in as the days pass since the Olympic break. It was a big night for RW Martin St. Louis as he scored two goals in the first period to give his team an early 2-0 lead. St. Louis helped Team Canada win the Gold Medal in Sochi and he should continue to help this team achieve its goals as well. The Lightning are on the road for their next three contests before returning home for match-ups with the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins. It will be interesting to see if this team can stay atop the standings as they try to catch the Bruins in the Atlantic Division.
2: Columbus Blue Jackets (38-21, +1,676) – The Blue Jackets fell a spot in the rankings this week as they suffered a 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils in their only outing since the Olympic break. It was a bad night for G Sergei Bobrovsky who gave up four goals on the 34 shots he faced. Columbus C Artem Anisimov scored a goal and added an assist in the loss. He and the Blue Jackets offense will have to step up their game to keep a high ranking in these standings. Their secret to success before the break was an every night underdog role that they thrived upon taking one-goal losses three times in their L/10 games to help them climb this list. Bobrovsky’s 2.57 GAA has helped keep Columbus in games and its offense has done just enough to keep those games close. Blue Jackets C Ryan Johansen was quiet in New Jersey after scoring at least one point in his L/5 contests. Johansen leads this team with 46 points on the year. The road ahead looks promising for the Blue Jackets to stay here, but only time will tell if they can get the offense going to keep covering puck-lines.
3: Pittsburgh Penguins (27-32, +$1,492) – The Penguins didn’t fall on our list this week, but they did fail to cover the puck-line in their only game since the break in a 6-5 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. It was an awful outing for G Marc-Andre Fleury who gave up five goals on just 29 shots faced. Rough nights for Fleury have been few and far between this season and we expect to see him settle back in here very soon. The offense didn’t flinch for Pittsburgh as C Evgeni Malkin had two assists in this game and C Sidney Crosby added a goal for his 80th point of the season. The Penguins have already run away with the Metropolitan Division as they hold a 16 point lead on the New York Rangers in the standings. However, they have failed to cover four of their L/5 puck-lines as they are constant favorites every night. We expect to see this Pittsburgh squad continue to struggle on the puck-line this week as games against the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks highlight a five-game road trip to begin the month of March. An underdog role in any of those games would definitely help their cause to stay near the top of the puck-line standings, so keep an eye on those odds as they become available.
4: Boston Bruins (29-29, +$1,398) – The Bruins got hot just before going on break as they covered eight of their L/10 puck-lines. However, they failed to cover in their first game following the Olympic break taking a 5-4 loss to the Buffalo Sabres who have the league’s worst SU record by far. The good news for the Bruins was they did score enough goals to get themselves in position to win the game after trailing 3-1 in the second period. They led 4-3 in the final minute before back-up G Chad Johnson gave up the goal that forced overtime. The power play was great for Boston scoring twice with the man-advantage on only four chances. Getting G Tuukka Rask back in net will be a big lift for this Bruins team as he has a 25-13-4 SU record in his starts. His 2.11 GAA is one of the best in the NHL and he figures to be well rested when he should get his next start on Saturday against the Washington Capitals. Seeing the Caps twice in their next five games should help the Bruins cover some puck-lines this week, but they will also travel to face the No. 1 puck-line team the Tampa Bay Lightning in what should be a great showdown on March 8th.
5: Winnipeg Jets (37-24, +$1,332) – The Jets got a shootout win 3-2 over the Phoenix Coyotes in their first game since the Olympic break ended. The win was good, but they failed to cover the puck-line as slight favorites in the game. Their spot on this list is pretty solid considering the Chicago Blackhawks (26-35, +$846) are safely behind to keep them here for a while. Before Thursday’s puck-line loss, the Jets had covered four straight puck-lines as underdogs including two SU wins against the Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadiens. Winnipeg RW Blake Wheeler had a goal on Thursday, it was his 23rd goal of the season as he has 49 points on the year. Wheeler has managed to score at least one point in seven of his L/10 games and has 10 points in that stretch. Jets G Ondrej Pavelec got his 19th win of the season against the Coyotes as he had 34 saves on 36 shots faced. Pavelec has a 2.95 GAA, but he has won three of his L/4 starts between the pipes. This team will need to stay strong defensively to give themselves a chance to win/cover every night. The Jets will see two of the puck-lines worst in their next five games with the Nashville Predators on the road and the Ottawa Canadiens visiting later in the week.
30: Nashville Predators (29-31, -$2,022,) – The Predators found their way to the cellar after getting a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday as they were cast in a favorites role. Seems like a rather harsh penalty for beating the puck-line’s best, but that’s exactly what happens when you can’t beat good teams by two goals. The Preds are not a bad team, in fact they are above .500 at 26-24-10 SU on the year. Despite facing a two goal deficit, Nashville got it going with three power play goals that lifted it to victory over Tampa Bay. Preds D Shea Weber had an assist on two of those goals, he now has 40 points on the season. Getting on the power play has made Nashville very competitive as it scores 21.7 percent of the time with the man-advantage this season. We don’t expect the Predators to stay down for very long as they have four upcoming home games where they will be underdogs against Winnipeg, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Columbus. The key in those games will be their ability to draw penalties to boost their offensive output. Look for the Preds to cover at least two of those four games and find a way out of our cellar.
29: Edmonton Oilers (30-31, -$1,985) – It’s amazing, but the Oilers didn’t even have to cover a single puck-line to get out of the cellar this week. In their first game since the Olympic Break they were beaten and shut out 3-0 by the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. Edmonton G Ben Scrivens had one of his worst games of the year giving up three goals on only 21 shots. He is really the only defense the Oilers have against anyone as he will continue to be seen in our best goalies list this week. The loss for Edmonton actually took Minnesota up to the middle of the pack. Unlike the Predators, the Oilers are actually one of the worst teams in the NHL at 20-34-7 SU as they sit in the bottom of the Pacific Division standings. To have any chance at not falling back into the cellar this week, Edmonton will need its offense to come to life against a schedule where they will continue to be underdogs on a nightly basis. Don’t hold your breath for that to happen, the Oilers are one of the league’s worst offensive teams scoring just 2.5 goals per game and depend on an even worse defense that gives up 3.3 goals per game.
28: <ahref=”http://www.bangthebook.com/picks/wagertools/teamdetails/league/NHL/TeamId/27/”> Vancouver Canucks (24-37, -$1,838) – The Canucks had a strong showing on Wednesday as they shut out the St. Louis Blues in their only game since the Olympic break. One of our top goalies Eddie Lack saved all 20 shots he saw for his third shutout of the season. Not bad for a guy who’s supposedly the back-up net minder in Vancouver. Canucks RW Jannik Hansen’s third period goal provided all the help needed to get a nice puck-line cover for his team. The win stopped a skid of four puck-line and seven SU losses. The Canucks must continue to get solid goaltending as they got on Wednesday. Perhaps throwing Lack a few more starts will help this team’s chances as they are just five points out of a playoff spot right now behind the Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division. An offense that scores just 2.4 goals per game has to give these goalies some support. They do see some of the lesser teams in the league over their next five games as they host Minnesota and Ottawa back-to-back and then will play some more even opponents in trips to Phoenix and Dallas. This week could really make or break their chances for the playoff spot, but if they are favorites on the puck-line we don’t recommend betting the Canucks.
27: Ottawa Senators (27-33, -$1,621) – It was an ugly return to the ice for the Senators on Thursday as they were dismantled 6-1 by the Detroit Red Wings on their home ice. Ottawa G Robin Lehner gave up six goals on just 15 shots from Detroit. Four of those came in the first period including one power play goal. The Senators will have to figure out a way to stop the bleeding for a defense that gives up 3.2 goals per game. The defense played horribly in their last game back on February 8th when the Boston Bruins managed a 7-2 blowout win. That’s 13 goals in two games, so something will have to give for the Senators or they can forget about any chance at the playoffs. The next four games for Ottawa is a tour of Canada as it will face the Canucks, Oilers, Flames, and Jets. We expect to see some better play from an offense that scores 2.8 goals per game especially against the Canucks and Oilers who struggle defensively. If they do get the nod as favorites in those games we suggest bettors give them a chance to score some goals and soundly defeat those below them on this list.
26: <ahref=”http://www.bangthebook.com/picks/wagertools/teamdetails/league/NHL/TeamId/28/”> Washington Capitals (26-34, -$1,541) – The Capitals opened up their post Olympic break play with a 5-4 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday, but they failed to cover the puck-line as favorites. Washington RW Alexander Ovechkin had a goal and two assists in the win as his hot play continued. Ovechkin has 41 goals and 22 assists on the year and has scored seven goals in his L/10 games adding eight assists in that stretch. Offense is not the problem for this team as they score 2.8 goals per game and have scored 12 goals in their L/3 outings. Where they have run into problems this season is on the defensive end where they give up 2.9 goals per game. This is one of those teams where the ‘over’ is always a great bet as it has cashed in seven of their L/10 games. We like the Caps to cover a couple trips to Boston in their next five games as they will also face the Philadelphia Flyers in back-to-back games. If Ovechkin can stay as hot as he has been, this will be a team with a chance come playoff time as they currently sit fourth in the Metropolitan Division tied with the Blue Jackets.