There was a busy schedule in the NHL and at NHL betting sites alike this week, as the league crams in as many games as possible, ahead of the 2023 All-Star game in Sunrise, Florida. Whilst there are plenty of people who look forward to the All-Star game, none of the selected players will have had much time to take their eyes off the prize this week, as they attempt to get their team into the best possible position for the final third of the season.
The Boston Bruins continue to lead the league by a comfortable margin, with NHL betting sites getting plenty of action on Bruins' futures betting. There are plenty of form teams to keep the Bruins in check, however, as Colorado, New Jersey and Carolina are all picking up the pace in recent weeks.
Saturday night saw just the fifth time in NHL history that an Emergency Back-up Goaltender was required, as Matt Berlin was introduced with 2:26 remaining in the final period of Edmonton's 7-3 win over Chicago. One of the most curious and fascinating rules, the EBUG has been a hot topic in recent years, after Scott Foster, David Ayres, Thomas Hodges and Jorge Alves suited up in regular season games. To his credit, Berlin faced one shot, which he saved. An unforgettable moment for the University of Alberta psychology student.
Johnny Gaudreau had an eventful return to Calgary this week, picking up two assists and missing a penalty shot, before eventually falling to the Flames in OT. Gaudreau's team had a better night against the Oilers on Wednesday, as he assisted on the winning goal in OT. Three points from their four-game road trip to the northwest isn't enough to lift Columbus off the bottom of the standings.
If one thing is for certain about the Arizona Coyotes, their games are becoming more and more tricky to predict. Two games against Anaheim this week presented obvious chances to pick up two points, but resulted in two losses. Two further games against Vegas and St. Louis saw the Yotes as home underdogs on NHL betting apps. They won those games by a combined score of 9-1.
As if lingering around the bottom of the NHL standings wasn't embarrassing enough for a proud organization like the Blackhawks, losing out to an emergency back-up goalie on Saturday night will certainly have added to their pain. That aside, an impressive 5-1 victory over Calgary in the Saddledome in midweek was a high point in a low season.
For the first time since November 2021, the Anaheim Ducks have won three straight games. Two victories over Arizona and one over Colorado have put some daylight between the Ducks and the bottom of the NHL standings. If you take things back even further, that’s 4 wins from their last 5 games, with 20 goals scored. Rarefied air for a struggling team.
Montreal is beginning to realize that life without Cole Caufield is going to look rather bleak for them, for the remainder of this season. In the three games since Caufield's season ended, the Canadiens have lost all three games, averaged under two goals per game, whilst allowing over four goals per night. Canadian betting sites won't be seeing much action on this team in the near future.
The Sharks applied a glossy finish to a dull week by defeating the Penguins 6-4 on Saturday. After consecutive overtime losses, San Jose will be delighted to end their five-game road trip with a win, having lost four straight. Erik Karlsson reached 50 assists for the season in that game, the fifth such landmark in his career, and his first since leaving Ottawa.
All change in Vancouver, as Bruce Boudreau bows out and Rick Tocchet arrives. Subsequent wins over Chicago and Columbus aren't necessarily a gauge of anything changing, just yet. One positive, however, was the two-year contract extension given to Andrei Kuzmenko, a fan favorite who has been one of the few bright sparks in an otherwise dull season in BC.
When it comes to injuries, the Blues just can't catch a break. The return of Vladimir Tarasenko and Torey Krug was long-awaited and highly anticipated, only for Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich to replace them on the sidelines. On the ice, it was another week to forget for the Blues, losing four straight and all but ending their playoff hopes.
Three wins in four nights has created a bit of a buzz around the Senators. The goaltending of Anton Forsberg has been stellar in those games, after he replaced the injured Cam Talbot midway through Wednesday's win over the Islanders. Forsberg has saved 80 of 83 shots in that time, including a 28-save shutout against Montreal in the second half of a back-to-back, on Saturday evening.
Since Christmas, only four teams in the league have allowed fewer shots per game than the Detroit Red Wings. With the skaters doing their job to keep pucks off the net, it then falls on the goaltenders to keep the rest of the shots out. Unfortunately for Detroit, first-choice goaltender Ville Husso has just a .875 save percentage in that time.
Over the last ten games, no team has scored fewer goals than the Islanders. With just 18 goals scored in those ten games, it is a miracle that the Islanders have managed to win three games in that spell. Each of the three victories have come because the Islanders' goaltenders, Sorokin and Varlamov, have held their opponents to under two goals.
If you were to only take results from the last six weeks, the Philadelphia Flyers would be a top ten team in the NHL. At 11-7-2 in their last twenty games, the Flyers have finally come to play, although it is almost certainly too late to count, this season. Still, the signs of growth are encouraging, as is the form of Hayes and Konecny.
It was an earlier finish than most for the Predators, ahead of the All-Star break. Thursday's 6-4 win over New Jersey was Nashville's third straight success, and the perfect way to celebrate an 11-day break from action. After the break, the Predators really need to hit the ground running, to catch those teams ahead of them in the Central Division and Wild Card standings.
Another week, another emotional return to the ice for Kris Letang. Having already returned from a stroke earlier in the season, Letang made his way back once more, following the passing of his father. It was an unforgettable night for Letang, who recorded two goals and two assists, in a barnstorming 7-6 win over the Florida Panthers.
A seven-game point streak has the Sabres very much in contention for the playoffs, heading into the mid-season break. Five straight wins, bookended by overtime losses, leaves Buffalo just one point short of the Pittsburgh Penguins, for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Sabres continue to use a rotation of three goaltenders, to impressive effect.
Florida did on Saturday what many others have tried and failed to do this season, when they defeated the Boston Bruins. That 4-3 win in overtime ended a three-game slump, and was by far the most impressive start this season for third-choice goaltender, Alex Lyon. Lyon continues to deputize for his injured colleagues, Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight.
Calgary have won three of their last four games, and are, at the very least, keeping pace with their rivals in the Pacific Division. Jonathan Huberdeau has been a massive disappointment for Flames fans, putting up just 33 points through 46 games, which isn't good for those betting on NHL player props. Last season, Huberdeau had 63 points at the same stage of the season, whilst in a Florida Panthers uniform.
A 3-2 shootout victory over the Penguins put a glossy finish on this week, for the Capitals. In reality, Washington is struggling for form and that victory was a very welcome one, after losing 5 of the previous 7 games in regulation. By no means out of the playoff race, the Capitals will need to improve on their recent form, to continue the push towards the postseason.
A much-needed big week for the Kings, who can still feel the Edmonton Oiler breathing down their neck for the third playoff spot in the Pacific Division. A defeat against the Lightning on Saturday was the only blot on their copybook, after three straight wins over the Blackhawks, Flyers and Panthers. Goaltender Pheonix Copley has a league-leading 15 wins, since December 6th.
Minnesota is looking over their shoulders at the surging Colorado Avalanche, and all of a sudden realizing that their playoff chances might be through the Wild Card spots. Consecutive 3-2 wins in overtime this week have the Wild remaining in third spot in the Central Division, for now. Minnesota will host Colorado on February 15th; you won't want to miss that one.
Connor McDavid became the first player in the league to hit 40 goals this season, as the Oilers continue their dramatic uptick in form, winning 7 of their last 10 games. McDavid's form has been nothing short of sensational in 2022-23, as he paces towards the first 150-point season in the NHL since Mario Lemieux hit 161 points back in 1995-96.
The 4-1 win over Vegas on Friday night was the New York Rangers 14th victory against Western Conference opponents this season. The Rangers have established themselves as a playoff team, and with star players in all positions, they could be a threat well into the summer. Panarin, Zibanejad and Fox are all hovering right around the point-per-game mark.
Vegas are very grateful for their early season form right now, because this team's form since early December has been pedestrian, at best. With 25 points from their last 25 games, the Golden Knights are playing like a team who are already out of contention. Should this continue, they are certain to find themselves slipping behind their Pacific Division rivals.
The Seattle train keeps on rolling. Sitting pretty at the top of a tight Pacific Division, the Kraken show no signs of letting this season slip away from them. Two more home wins this week, either side of a defeat to Calgary, means the Kraken have now already eclipsed last season's total of 27 wins and 60 points, with 34 games to spare.
Like their rivals atop the Central Division, the Winnipeg Jets have been floundering lately. The Jets remain in second spot in the division despite three straight regulation losses, but Colorado and Minnesota both have three games in hand, meaning that things are likely to tighten up in the coming weeks. It might be interesting to track their Stanley Cup odds over that time.
The Dallas Stars have hit a little bit of a bump in the road, losing three straight games in overtime, all by a score of 3-2. The Stars have enough credit in the bank to still feel comfortable atop the Western Conference standings, and are still picking up points, even in defeat. Their next game comes after the break, at home to Anaheim.
Only the Edmonton Oilers are in better form in the Western Conference, than the Colorado Avalanche. Two more wins this week, either side of a surprise defeat at home to Anaheim, have the Avs back in playoff contention in a real and palpable way. They now hold the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, and look set to continue their drive up the standings.
Eight wins in their last ten games mean the Devils enter the break just two points off the top of the Metropolitan Division. Jack Hughes has 64 points in 49 games, good for top ten in league scoring. US betting sites are a tad slow to react to this team's good form, and there are some tempting odds out there for the Devils to lift the cup.
Three games against teams currently occupying automatic playoff spots, and three wins for the Lightning. Tampa Bay is going about their business quietly but effectively, and have all but guaranteed a repeat of last year's first round playoff series against the Leafs. The two teams also play each other in the penultimate game of the regular season, so will become very familiar with each other in April.
A heavy defeat against the Ottawa Senators on Friday brought Ilya Samsonov's 15-game home point streak to an end. Samsonov was the first Leafs goalie to record such a streak in over 50 years. Auston Matthews has been ruled out for three weeks, a big blow to their short-term opportunities. Perhaps the All-Star Break comes at just the right time for Toronto.
The Canes are the busiest team in the league in the run-up to the All-Star Break, with three games in four days, facing Boston, LA and Buffalo. Four straight wins have kept Carolina at the top of the Metro Division, ahead of a resurgent New Jersey Devils. Martin Necas leads the team in points, with 44.
For the first time this season, the Boston Bruins have lost in consecutive games. Their road trip south has gone south, by their admittedly high standards, after defeats to Tampa Bay and Florida. With two more games before the All-Star break, against potential playoff opponents Carolina and Toronto, there are imminent opportunities to steady the ship once more, and they're sure to be popular when bettors are making their NHL picks.