As is so often the case, all eyes were on Connor McDavid again this week, as he reached the highest points tally in a single season since Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr back in 1995-96. Such is McDavid's dominance, he is likely to surpass Jagr's 149-point total from that season, and Lemieux's total of 161 is not safe either. With 134 points in just 70 games, McDavid is racking up points at a rate that has not been seen in almost three decades. The odds on next season's Art Ross trophy on NHL betting sites will make for some interesting viewing.
There was something fun and new in the NHL this week, as the Big City Greens Classic took place, between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals. An animated simulcast of the regular-season matchup was broadcast, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, as the league continues to try new things and break new ground, when it comes to the usage of technology in the sport.
Thursday night saw a wild period of hockey between the Florida Panthers and the Montreal Canadiens, as 10 goals were scored inside the first 14 minutes of the game, an NHL record. A 9-5 win for Florida put them right into playoff contention once again.
Over the past 15 games, the San Jose Sharks have the fewest points, fewest goals scored and are tied for the most goals allowed in the NHL. At 2-10-3 over that time, San Jose seem to have given up, as they look to maximise their chances of the first overall pick, and consensus top pick Connor Bedard. It remains to be seen how that will play out for them.
Columbus Blue Jackets recorded their first win in two weeks on Tuesday, defeating the hapless Sharks 6-5 in overtime. It was a case of the bottom team in the East overcoming the bottom team in the West, but in reality, someone had to win. Columbus couldn't follow it up with another victory, as they lost on Thursday and Friday, on the road in LA and Anaheim.
Taylor Raddysh scored a hat-trick on Tuesday night as the Chicago Blackhawks surprised the Bruins with a 6-3 victory at the United Center. Raddysh has now scored six goals in his last six games, as Chicago struggles its way towards the offseason. NHL betting apps continue to fade the Hawks, but Tuesday night showed that any team can win in the NHL, on any given night.
The Anaheim Ducks managed seven goals in a game for the first time in over a year on Friday night, defeating the Blue Jackets 7-4. Scoring goals has not been the issue in Anaheim lately - they average three goals per game since the All-Star break. Only Buffalo has allowed more goals per game (4.33) than Anaheim (3.95) in that timeframe, however.
Anyone betting the overs on Canada sports betting sites this week will be thankful for the Montreal Canadiens, who saw no fewer than 44 goals scored in their four contests. Thursday night's first period, against the Florida Panthers, saw an NHL record-tying 10 goals in the first period alone. A fun team to watch, unless you're a Habs fan.
A win on Friday and an overtime loss on Saturday have at least lifted the Philadelphia Flyers off the bottom of the form table. Owen Tippett had the first hat-trick of his young career on Friday against Buffalo, on seven shots. The 2017 first-round pick followed that up with two assists in Saturday's heart-breaking overtime loss against the Hurricanes.
If the Arizona Coyotes were intending on tanking this year, nobody seems to have told their players. In their last 20 games, the Yotes are 11-4-5, which is good for fifth in the Eastern Conference in that time, and just three points off the league's best. In fact, Arizona has just two points fewer than the Boston Bruins over their last 20 contests.
Not much has changed for the St. Louis Blues since dismantling their cup-winning core over the month of February. Since Vladimir Tarasenko's move to New York, the Blues have averaged just under a point per game, perfectly in line with their season as a whole. USA sports betting sites adjust their total goals lines when the Blues play, as their games have averaged 7.4 goals in that time.
Nobody seems to have told the Vancouver Canucks that they are supposed to be laying down for the remainder of the season. With six wins in their last seven games, Canucks fans will have every right to wonder where this team was earlier in the season. Elias Pettersson remains on-track to record the first 100-point season of his career.
The Detroit Red Wings exacted some revenge, of sorts, on the Boston Bruins last Sunday, as they defeated the league leaders in the second half of their back-to-back, winning 5-3 on home ice. With their playoff dreams over, and the chances of the first overall pick looking slim, Detroit is playing out its season with no pressure or expectation.
If there were any optimistic Sens fans out there, hopeful of one final push for the playoffs, they will have been silenced by the team's form over the past fortnight. Just one win in six, with at least four goals allowed in each game, means that Ottawa's season will almost certainly end in mid-April. Their 33 wins has matched their total for the entire 2021-22 season.
Only the Sharks and Flyers have picked up fewer points since the All-Star break than the Washington Capitals. With just six wins in 17 games over that time, Alex Ovechkin looks set to miss the playoffs for just the second time since 2007. With 37 goals in 64 games, Ovi looks set to record yet another 40-goal season, as he edges towards Wayne Gretzky's goals record.
When the Buffalo Sabres won eight of nine games either side of Christmas and followed that with another five-game winning streak in late January, the playoffs were in their sights. Since then, Buffalo has gone 7-10-3, allowing a league-worst 85 goals. Don't underestimate the loss of Alex Tuch, as Buffalo lost six of the eight games he missed through injury.
It isn't their own strong form that keeps the Calgary Flames in playoff contention, but rather the poor form of the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets occupy the second wild-card spot in the west, and the Flames sit just four points back, with a dozen games remaining. The Nashville Predators have entered the conversation, sitting just one point off Calgary, with three additional games to play.
Back in early March, the Nashville Predators were not popular NHL picks for Stanley Cup success, as it seemed impossible that they would even be in a position to reach the playoffs. Although that still seems like a tall order, the Predators having three games in hand on the Flames and Jets, and a good run of form could well see the gap narrow.
The feeling in Pittsburgh isn't great right now, as the team struggles to find any meaningful defense or goaltending to allow them to compete. With the playoff wild-card race tightening up between the Pittsburgh Penguins, Islanders and Panthers, Pittsburgh knows that it needs to do better. Tristan Jarry was pulled twice this week, and three times in his last six starts.
With seven wins in their last 10 games, the Panthers have managed to reel in the floundering Pittsburgh Penguins, and now sit just one point outside the playoff spots. If Florida does make the postseason this year, they can thank Matthew Tkachuk, who has almost single-handedly dragged this team through their adversity. Tkachuk now has 30 multi-point games on the season.
The New York Islanders picked the right time to start winning games, as the wild-card race in the East narrows down to three possible contenders. With Pittsburgh struggling and Florida chasing hard, the Isles picked up four points on the road this week against the struggling Ducks and Sharks. Every win is crucial at this stage of the season.
The Winnipeg Jets have won only seven of their last 25 games in regulation, going 10-13-2 over that prolonged period, scoring just 2.7 goals per game. There is now a slim, but very real, chance that this team could fall out of playoff contention completely, should Calgary or Nashville hit a run of form that exceeds that of the Jets.
Seattle still looks relatively secure in terms of a playoff spot, but it looks increasingly likely that they will make the postseason through the wild-card spots, and not through a top-three finish in the Pacific Division. With four tricky road games on the horizon, and four defeats in their last five games, the Seattle Kraken could do with a couple of wins to steady the ship.
Marc-Andre Fleury made the headlines this week, as he was so cruelly denied his first ever goalie fight, in the 8-5 road win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night. The 38-year-old was ready to drop the gloves with an angry Jordan Binnington but was denied the chance by some over-protective officiating. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild continue its push for the top spot in the Central Division.
Edmonton has gone 18-6-6 in its last 30 games, a run of form that compares favorably with almost any team in the league. With 132 goals in that span, the Edmonton Oilers have by far the most potent attacking threat in the NHL, which is no great surprise given the form of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who are first and second in league scoring, once again. Both are must-have NHL player prop bet options.
The Tampa Bay Lightning recorded two road wins against the Devils this week, as they attempt to keep pace with the Toronto Maple Leafs in order to secure home advantage for the inevitable first-round series between the two sides. Nikita Kucherov's remarkable 24-game home point streak ended in the 3-2 defeat to Winnipeg on Sunday. He is one point shy of his third 100-point season.
The absence of top scorer Kevin Fiala didn't register too much of a negative impact on the LA Kings this week, as they managed two wins from three, defeating the Islanders and Blue Jackets, before losing to the Canucks on Saturday. At 7-1-2 in their last ten games, the Kings are tied with the Minnesota Wild as the form team in the NHL.
A four-game winning streak came to a spectacular end for the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday, as they were humbled in a 7-2 defeat by Pacific Division rivals, the Calgary Flames. Jonathan Quick allowed six goals on 29 shots, as Vegas suffered its largest defeat since February 2022, when they lost 6-0 to the very same opponents.
Four wins from four this week, and five straight victories overall, have Colorado Avalanche within touching distance of the top spot in the West. Just four points separates the Avs from the Golden Knights, with Colorado having one fewer game played. Only Connor McDavid has more points per game than Nathan MacKinnon, who has 88 points in his 57 games this season, and they are popular picks on US betting apps.
The Rangers have won five of their last six games, including three straight wins over divisional rivals Pittsburgh and Washington. With third place in the Metropolitan Division looking close to set in stone, the Rangers are most likely to face their New Jersey rivals, the Devils, in the first round of the 2023 playoffs. A mouth-watering prospect.
For now, the Dallas Stars hold the lead in the Central Division, with a three-point lead over the Avalanche and Wild. The Avs have two games in hand over the Stars, while Minnesota has one game to spare, leaving the division wide open for the last dozen or so games this season. Jason Robertson has reached the 40-goal mark for the second straight season.
The New Jersey Devils' form has dipped of late, winning just half of their last 10 games. Three consecutive defeats this week, including two home losses to the Tampa Bay Lightning, mean that the Devils have slipped back out of contention at the top of the Metro Division, despite a 3-0 shutout victory over their divisional rivals, the Carolina Hurricanes, last Sunday.
The luck of the Irish was in play as the Maple Leafs became the all-time leader in wins on St. Patrick's Day, in their green-and-white Toronto St. Pats uniforms on Friday night. No fewer than four Leafs players are on a point-per-game pace this season, with Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, William Nylander and John Tavares all in great form ahead of a first-round showdown against the Lightning.
The league's second-best team this year managed to pull one out of the fire on Saturday night, with a late, late equalizer against the Philadelphia Flyers. Martin Necas recorded the tying goal with 0.3 seconds remaining in the third period, before Sebastian Aho won it in overtime with his seventh career hat-trick. Nobody will fancy the Carolina Hurricanes in the playoffs.
The record number of points a team has achieved in an 82-game regular season is 131, set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings. With 14 games remaining in their season, the Boston Bruins have 109 points on the board, and a potential 28 points up for grabs. It's a tall order, but nothing seems out of reach for this season's Bruins.