Another week of this 2019/2020 NHL season has passed and there has been plenty more positive stories from another great week of hockey.
None more so than David Ayres, the 42-year-old Zamboni driver who made his Carolina Hurricanes in dramatic fashion on Saturday evening.
Ayres, Toronto’s on-call emergency goalkeeper, was sitting in the stands as the Maple Leafs hosted the Hurricanes when Hurricanes goalie James Reimer left the ice with an injury. Ayres suited up in the off chance that he would be called into action in case anything happened to Carolina back-up Petr Mrazek. Shortly after his introduction, Mrazek was involved in a scary collision with Leafs forward Kyle Clifford and he could not continue.
It was at this point that Ayres’ entered the action as Hurricanes goalkeeper. The Toronto native conceded the first two shots he faced on his NHL debut but would go on to save his next eight as the Hurricanes won out 6-3.
Now, let’s see what this week of hockey action has in store for us.
Ottawa Senators @ Columbus Blue Jackets
24th February 2020 @ 7:08PM
Monday night’s only game sees two teams who have a struggle on to make the playoffs. The Senators are second from bottom in the Atlantic Division with a 21-30-11 record. The Blue Jackets are slightly better placed in the Metropolitan Division although eight losses in a row sees them facing an uphill battle to make the playoffs.
The Blue Jackets’ record probably doesn’t reflect their true form this season. Their 14 overtime losses is the highest in the league and they have remained competitive despite their eight game losing streak. They went eight rounds into a shootout in their last defeat to Nashville.
Looking ahead to this one and we fancy the Blue Jackets to snap out of their losing streak with a win. You can back them to win with CanPlay at -120. It could go all the way to a shootout again though. If you like that option, you can bet on a draw at +330.
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Tampa Bay Lightning
25th February 2020 @ 7PM
The Maple Leafs make the long trip south to Florida to face Tampa Bay in an important Atlantic Division match-up. Toronto are only one place behind the Lightning in the Atlantic standings although the Lightning do have a 13-point cushion over their Canadian opponents.
Tampa Bay have been on a good run of late although defeats in their last two games away to Arizona and Las Vegas have taken the shine off their recent 10 game winning streak. Toronto would love to find a similar level of consistency as we head towards the final 20 games of the regular season. Sheldon Keefe’s team have only won four of their last ten and it’s clear to see that they are missing injured defenceman Cody Ceci.
The Lightning are the Stanley Cup favourites at +550 for a reason. Back them to win on Tuesday night with CanPlay.
Edmonton Oilers @ Vegas Golden Knights
26th February 2020 @ 10:30PM
The top two in the Pacific Division face off on Wednesday night. The Golden Knights have put a strong string of performances together in the last few weeks winning six in a row. The Oilers are in a strong position too with five wins in their last ten.
Recent acquisition Mike Green has strengthened the Oilers hand as they look to make a deep run into the playoffs. Key players Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid have maintained their great form with both players notching a goal in their last outing against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Golden Knights have had no problems finding the net lately either. Gerard Gallant’s side have scored 26 goals in their last six games. Their recent winning run has seen their Stanley Cup odds fall to just +1500 with CanPlay and they are a real contender to reach the Finals.
We think the Golden Knights will stretch their win to seven with a win here on Wednesday. Back Vegas to win with CanPlay.