NHL Puck-Line Power Poll as of 1/15/14

Bet at 5dimesAnyone 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 1/15/14.

Who’s Hot

1: Tampa Bay Lightning (29-18, +$1,576) – The Lightning sit at the top of the ATS standings after a 6-2 mark on the puck-line the last eight games. Led by veteran RW Martin St. Louis 44 points on the season, Tampa Bay has the NHL’s 12th ranked goal scoring team at 2.8 goals per game. Lightning G Ben Bishop had been banged up over the course of the last five games, and backup G Anders Lindback went 2-3 SU in that stretch. Getting Bishop back between the pipes on Tuesday night helped the Lightning to a 2-1 victory in New York against the Rangers. Special teams have hurt this team as they have given up eight power play goals while scoring with a man-up just four times in the last six games. The Lightning are hoping for C Steven Stamkos to return in early February that will also help their scoring. In the meantime, St. Louis must continue to carry the load by the bay.

2: Pittsburgh Penguins (22-25, +1,313) – The Penguins are getting hot — really hot — and if they stay healthy we expect to see them move up in puck-line numbers. Pens C Sidney Crosby has been torching teams this season to the tune of 67 points with 25 goals to go with an astounding 42 assists. Since a 5-3 win over the New York Rangers on January 3rd, Crosby has notched eight points over the last couple weeks. Pittsburgh is 7-3 SU in its last 10 contests, but posted just 2-8 against the puck-line in that stretch. Penguins G Marc-Andre Fleury has won his last four starts and is benefitting from an attack that has reached at least five goals in three of its last five contests. Since returning from injury on January 5th, C Evgeni Malkin has tallied five points including two goals in his new year debut a 6-5 win over the Winnipeg Jets. This team should stay hot and cover puck-lines against a next five that doesn’t include any teams currently in the top five puck-line standings.

3: St. Louis Blues (23-22, +$1,287) – Two weeks ago, the Blues sat just outside the top five puck-line numbers, but their hot streak has continued as they’ve won seven of the last eight games SU. The boys under the arch have split their last 10 games on the puck-line and have lit up the scoreboard since the turn of the new year. After having scored at least five goals in four straight contests, St. Louis finally dropped a game 2-1 to the Vancouver Canucks last Friday. The Blues lead the league scoring 3.5 goals per game and have the league’s third best power play scoring 24.7 percent of the time. Blues LW Alexander Steen led the squad with 38 points including 24 goals on the season, but he sustained a concussion on December 21st and is questionable going forward. C TJ Oshie has since finally caught him for the team lead in points after Steen’s long absence. St. Louis G Brian Elliott has been tough this season allowing just 1.87 goals per game and he got the shutout in last Thursday’s 5-0 win over the Calgary Flames. If the Blues stay this hot, they will give the Lightning a run for their money atop the Power Poll.

4: Winnipeg Jets (30-18, +$1,231) – The Jets have slipped up in a major way over the last two weeks having covered just three of the last six puck-lines. Whether it has been G Ondrej Pavelec or G Al Montoya between the pipes, Winnipeg just has not figured a way to stop giving up goals in bunches. A five game losing streak saw the team give up at least four goals in each of those contests. The losing streak that included losses to top five puck-line teams Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh was finally stopped with an angry 5-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday. Winnipeg bettors will hope to see some improvement in the next five contests against some lesser puck-line opponents, including a game with the 30th ranked Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. This team will need to get a hot goaltender going if it wants to get back on track in puck-line standings.

5: Colorado Avalanche (26-20, +$1,939) – Colorado’s current hot streak has gotten it over .500 on the puck-line and they have hopped over +$1,500 for the first time in a while. The Avs attack has jumped to sixth in the league averaging 2.9 goals per game and will need continued improvement to keep this team near the top in puck-line standings. Colorado C Matt Duchene is having a strong season he has racked up 40 points including 16 goals and 24 assists. They got some help at the point when D Tyson Barrie returned from a shoulder injury Tuesday night and scored two goals in a 3-2 OT win against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Avalanche have been missing backup G Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who is dealing with a back injury, which has put the pressure on G Semyon Varlamov to play without much in the way of off nights. The Avalanche defeated a tough puck-line team in the Blackhawks, but their next five does include a game against the Nashville Predators who are the 29th ranked puck-line team.

Who’s Not

30: Edmonton Oilers (22-27, -$2,186) – The Oilers may be just the worst team in the NHL this season with their 15 wins, but lately they are trying to improve their puck-line numbers. Over the last couple weeks Edmonton did bring home SU wins over puck-line top five’s Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. The good news for Oilers bettors is the team did beat each of its next three opponents in their last meetings. What has killed this team is an inability to stop the puck, as they are giving up a league-worst 3.5 goals per game, including at least three goals in nine straight games and at least five goals in five out of seven contests. Oilers LW Taylor Hall is trying his best this season with 45 points on 18 goals and 27 assists including goals in three of the last five games. Edmonton will need its penalty kill to step up in order to improve its puck-line numbers as it has been torched for power play goals five times in its last four contests. The Oilers have failed to cover four straight on the road, but they are a much better 4-1 against the puck-line in their last five at Rexall Place.

29: Nashville Predators (23-25, -$2,000) – The Predators have finally climbed out of the puck-line cellar after a 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. They have covered two of the last four puck-lines and the schedule only gets harder from here. On the up side, Nashville has covered six of its last eight puck-lines since the start of January with consistently taking one-goal losses since the new year. The team is 8-2 ATS in its last 10. This team has shown ineptitude at killing penalties as they’ve only been able to get their shorthanded group off the ice without giving up a goal just 81.9 percent of the time. If the Preds can continue to stay even strength as they have recently they should see improvement in their ATS rankings and inch under that -$2,000 mark.

28: Minnesota Wild (21-28, -$1,699) – The Wild took a 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators Tuesday night that sent the Senators off the “who’s not” list and put Minnesota deeper into the abyss of puck-line standings. Other than that, Minnesota is 5-2 ATS in its last seven contests including a win over the Predators just below them. The team placed G Josh Harding on IR with an illness back in December, and started G Darcy Kuemper, the new backup goalie, in the loss to the Senators. With star C Mikko Koivu still on IR after ankle surgery that is expected to sideline him for a month, the Wild’s attack has been left on the tape of LW Dany Heatley who has four points in the last three games. It appears the biggest question for the Wild is if they can get healthy in time to avoid the bottom of the puck-line standings?

27: Detroit Red Wings (16-30, -$1,597) – The historically good Red Wings are checking in at 27th on our list this week. The Wings have by far and away the most puck-line losses, but the team has covered three of its last four ATS and is trying to climb out of here. Detroit got a big win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday and covered the puck-line in the 3-1 win as +177 underdogs. The Red Wings do have an injury list a mile-long with many notable names due to come back that should help them, C Pavel Datsyuk is due back anytime with a groin injury and RW Daniel Alfredsson has an undisclosed injury holding him out. Detroit will face a tough schedule over this stretch and figures to be +1.5 just about every night over its next five games. The key to covering these games will be scoring the puck as Detroit has just four goals in its last three contests.

26: Toronto Maple Leafs (21-27, -$1,230) – Toronto found its way to the “who’s not” list after a last 10 that has seen them go exactly .500 on the puck-line. This team has been snake-bitten by the flu bug over the last few days. Maple Leafs G James Reimer, D Mark Fraser, and RW Colton Orr have all been diagnosed with the illness and missed Tuesday’s win over the Boston Bruins. The schedule ahead is favorable to get them back to the middle of the pack again, but they will need their top players taking every vitamin in sight to get rid of this illness that has plagued the locker room. The Leafs got the power play going on Tuesday with two goals with the man-advantage. That success will need to continue if they want to get over the hump.

Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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