This weekend in the NHL, with all the teams in action after a wild first 10 days in the season, there was a lot to follow. With what seems to be a sustained increase in scoring, bettors who focused on the totals in games came away a winner on Saturday, only to find Sunday’s games to be a bit of a snooze fest. Here are some of the most interesting tidbits from the weekend.
The Maple Leafs lead the way
Well, now we are two weeks into the season, and the Toronto fans have to be pinching themselves. Not only is newly-acquired John Tavares fitting in as though he has been playing for the team for years, but this weekend saw the Buds take on the Stanley Cup champion Washing Capitals. Games like this can be a great measuring stick for a team, even early in the season.
The Maple Leafs withstood everything the Caps could throw at them, and with the help of the league-leading 10th goal of the year coming from Auston Matthews, Toronto hung on for a gutsy 4-2 road win. Gamblers who bet on the over, however, couldn’t have been thrilled with the sportsbooks who set the total in this game at a whopping 7 goals. (Oh, did we mentions this was one of our picks this week?)
West to East? No problem for the Canucks
Vancouver made their way to the Sunshine State this past weekend, with back to back games against Tampa Bay and Florida. These young Canucks seem to have come into form after leaving the shadow that the Sedin Twins had covering the franchise, and the work ethic is paying off in the win column. Vancouver backed up a great third-period performance against the Lightning with a gutsy win against the Panthers.
However, these games did not come without a cost – during the game against the Panthers, talented roller Elias Pettersson was thrown to the ice by Mark Matheson, leaving the young star woozy trying to get off the ice. This concussion will keep the talented center out for 7-10 days, meaning the Canucks will have to work even harder to maintain this level of intensity.
Carolina is a big surprise
As opposed to the actual weather patterns battering the east coast, these Hurricanes are a genuine surprise this year. After letting their star scorer Jeff Skinner go during the offseason, there weren’t many people picking Carolina to be somewhere in the mix for playoff teams coming into this year.
Yes, it is very early, but we love what we are seeing from the Canes. Curtis McElhenny, a waiver pickup after being dropped by the Maple Leafs, has turned back the clock with the team, and that in combination with the hot start of Sebastian Aho puts Carolina in the top spot in the Metropolitan division after the first two weeks.
Can this start continue? Well, only time will tell, but bettors should be watching to see if the Carolina goalie starts to wear down after this much action.
Vegas continues to confuse bettors
If you read our column on Friday, you would have noticed that we picked the over in the Vegas/Philly matchup on Saturday. What we didn’t expect was a goaltending clinic by both teams in a 1-0 Vegas win. However, what this actually exposes is a bigger issue with the Golden Knights.
Through the team’s first 6 games, they have mustered only 10 goals, including a goose egg by 41-goal scorer William Karlsson. This is a big reason why the Golden Knights have been anything but golden to start the season with a 2-4 record so far.
Scoring seems to be up around the league, and the free-wheeling style of the Golden Knights of last year should lend itself well to scoring in bunches, but if we were betting we would stay on the sidelines for a couple of games to see if the team can pull this together after getting back home from a long road trip.