One month of the 2019/2020 NHL season is now in the books and the biggest and brightest stars in the league have all came to play.
The Bruins have the best record in the Eastern Conference and goaltender Tuukka Rask is largely to thank for that. The Finn has saved 95% of the shots he has faced, helping the Boston side to a 10-1-2 start.
Colorado are one of the best in the West and Nathan McKinnon has impressed for them. He scored in his team’s opening 13 games before they were held in a shutout loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday night.
Now, to this week’s picks.
Arizona Coyotes vs Edmonton Oilers
Monday 4th November, 9:05PM
The Coyotes head north to Edmonton for this Pacific Division clash on Monday night.
The Oilers have been the surprise package in this early part of the season. Dave Tippett’s team are top of the Pacific Division with the third best record in the league. Their success has largely been down to the performances of goalies Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen. Smith made 51 saves in the Oilers OT win against Pittsburgh and Saturday but it looks like Koskinen will get the start at home on Monday.
The Coyotes will come into this one is high confidence after recording a shutout victory over the high-flying Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. Just like the Oilers, Arizona’s strength has been their defense. The Glendale-based team have the second-best defensive record in the league, conceding only 28 goals. It remains to be seen whether that record can be continued in the long run.
The form of the two sides suggests a low-scoring affair and under 5.5 goals looks a decent bet at -107. If you’re more certain of these teams defensive abilities then under 4.5 goals can be backed at +170 with CanPlay.
The Oilers have exceeded expectations and they look really good value to win in regular time at +130 or you can back them to win at full time at -115.
Ottawa Senators @ New York Islanders
Wednesday 6th November, 7PM
After beginning the season with a 1-3 record, the Islanders have gone on to win 9 straight and currently sit second in the Metropolitan Division. 2018 Stanley Cup winning coach Barry Trotz is once again showing his prowess on the bench, inspiring an injury-hit Islanders team to their best winning run since 1989.
Does this make the Islanders Stanley Cup contenders? Most would say no and their current odds of +3300 with CanPlay suggests likewise but momentum is a great thing in ice hockey. The Islanders are within touching distance of the franchise record 15 straight wins and if they can reach that then anything is possible. That 15-game streak was in the ‘Dynasty’ years when they won four straight Stanley Cups.
For the Senators, this is the last of a three game road trip having faced the Bruins on Saturday and the Rangers on Monday. They have yet to win an away game this season and they have already lost to the Islanders on home ice this season. The Islanders won 4-2 in Canada last Saturday with Nick Leddy proving to be the catalyst for Trotz’s team.
Looking ahead to this one we are expecting more of the same with the Islanders to win by the odd goal and bring their winning streak into double digits.
Vegas Golden Knights @ Toronto Maple Leafs
Thursday 7th November, 7PM
Toronto is the second stop on the Golden Knights’ four-game road trip on Thursday night. Both franchises have made a mediocre start to the season, sitting mid-table in their respective divisions.
The Maple Leafs play the Kings on Tuesday night after a thrilling 11-round shootout victory over the Flyers on Saturday. Wing player Mitch Marner has been a key player for the Maple Leafs, contributing 17 points.
The Golden Knights head to Ohio to face the Blue Jackets on Tuesday before heading across the border for their clash with Toronto. Mark Stone has been their key contributor with 18 points in 15 games. Besides him, Swede William Karlsson has contributed 15 points, mostly from the bench.
This will be a close one but we’re backing Toronto to just shade it on home ice.