Hockey teams go like the stock market. Sometimes they’re hot and you have to buy them, and sometimes they’re cold and you have to sell. Our NHL betting tips show the teams that you should hold and the teams you should ditch as we head into the second season here at Bang the Book!
Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings enter the postseason on the longest winning streak in hockey at four games. They are the only team to have won more than three in a row coming into the playoffs, and they have to be playing with loads and loads of confidence at the moment. They’re headed to Anaheim to take on the Ducks in the first round, and they already have two wins at the Honda Center this year to show for their work. On top of all of that, G Jimmy Howard might legitimately be the Vezina Trophy winner this year in spite of the fact that he only ultimately went 21-20 in terms of wins and losses this year.
Pittsburgh Penguins: There’s just no way that we can avoid talking about the Pens here. They went 8-2 in their final 10 games of the season, but more importantly, they are 23-4 in their last 27. In that run, the averaged 3.48 goals per game, and they conceded just 2.26 goals per game, and they were clearly the best team in hockey. C Sidney Crosby is close to coming back. C Evgeni Malkin is healthy. All of the vital defenders are healthy. LW Brenden Morrow is playing like a captain, as is RW Jarome Iginla. D Douglas Murray has been a great addition, too. It’s tough to make the argument how any other team could win the Stanley Cup.
Washington Capitals: Honorable mention should go out to the Columbus Blue Jackets here, as they really put up a great fight in spite of the fact that they came up just short of the playoffs. Back in the Eastern Conference though, the Capitals clearly pulled away from the Southeast Division in the closing weeks. This was the weakest division in hockey by a country mile, but Washington looks the part of a playoff team right now, unlike the Florida Panthers last season. The Capitals went 15-2-2 in their last 19 games, and we knew that if there was a team that was able to go on just a little bit of a tear in that division that they would ultimately get into the postseason with flying colors. The Caps could be dangerous.
Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks aren’t playing all that terribly right now, as they did go 3-1 in their final four games of the season. However, when you really look back at the last two months of games, you see a team that is 8-9-2 in its last 19. Granted, we know that Anaheim hasn’t really played a meaningful game in a month and a half, as the No. 2 seed has pretty much been a foregone conclusion for quite some time. That being said, this isn’t a team that has a lot of great playoff experience, and it is a club that is known for getting beaten by some of the best teams in the league when it matters most. Parlay Detroit being hot and Anaheim being not, and the makings are definitely there for the No. 7 seed to get past the No. 2 in the first round of the playoffs.
Minnesota Wild: The Wild did win the game that they had to win to get into the playoffs on the road against the Colorado Avalanche, but that game came against the worst team in the league. Minnesota only won four of its previous 13 games prior to that point. G Niklas Backstrom, who started all but six games this year, has been beaten up terribly over the course of the end of the season, though he did play well against the Avs. Now, RW Jason Pominville has a concussion that might cost him some time in the playoffs, and LW Dany Heatley is already out for the season with a shoulder injury… Things just aren’t looking good in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Boston Bruins: Shame on the Bruins for the way that this regular season finished up. They had every chance in the world to win the Northeast Division, and they really should have finished the job when they had the chance against the Ottawa Senators. Instead, they have just two wins in their final nine games of the season, and those wins came against the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning, two of the worst three teams in the league this year. In fact, the last time that the B’s beat a playoff team was back on April 2nd when they beat the aforementioned Sens at the TD Garden, and the last time they won a road game at all was on March 31st against the Buffalo Sabres. The last road win against a playoff team came against Ottawa on March 21st. We have to remember that the Toronto Maple Leafs, the first round foe of the Bruins, did well against them this year, and you know that the whole province of Ontario is hungry for some playoff hockey, knowing that their Leafers haven’t been in the second season in two lockouts.
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.