Three weeks into the season, we have seen some very surprising storylines. Led by captain Jack Eichel, the Buffalo Sabres are tops in the league with an 8-1-1 record. Not far behind them in the East are the Washington Capitals. Defenseman John Carlson has a league-best 20 points to start the season, and he looks well on his way to a career year. Player of the week David Pastrnak and the Bruins are playing some great hockey, with a 6-1-2 record. The Lightning and Leafs have yet to hit their stride, but the East is shaping up to be super competitive going forward.
In the Western Conference, the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers continue to grab headlines. The Avalanche just suffered their first regulation loss to start the year 7-1-1, while the Oilers are still undefeated at home and carry a 7-2-1 record through their first 10 games. Talented winger Mikko Rantanen is week-to-week with a lower-body injury, so the Avs will have to battle through some adversity. The Arizona Coyotes have won four in a row, while the Stars are turning things around with a couple wins after a super slow start.
Bests Bets of the Weekend
San Jose Sharks at Toronto Maple Leafs (Friday, 7 PM)
Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs are not impressed with the way they have started the season. After their second straight loss on Tuesday night, Matthews was quoted saying how they need to play much better and their leaders need to be held accountable. I expect the Leafs to come out buzzing on Friday night at home, and it is a good spot as the Sharks will be playing on a back-to-back. The Maple Leafs have scored the second-most goals this year (40) while the Sharks have given up the sixth-most (32). It should be a good matchup for the Leafs, and they should get some offense going here.
The Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs, Moneyline (-180 on Draftkings Sportsbook)
Buffalo Sabres at Detroit Red Wings (Friday, 7:30 PM)
The NHL-leading Buffalo Sabres take on the struggling Red Wings on the road Saturday. The Red Wings have lost six straight games and are looking for answers. Coming off of a bad 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night, they will have to re-group quickly to face the league’s hottest team. The Sabres have been propelled by a league-best 12 power-play goals this season. The Wings will have to stay out of the box if they plan on upsetting Buffalo Saturday. Detroit has the worst goal differential in the league (-15), so they have their work cut out for them
The Pick: Buffalo Sabres, Moneyline (-125 on DraftKings Sportsbook)
Anaheim Ducks at Vegas Golden Knights (Sunday, 8 PM)
The Golden Knights are in a good spot Sunday night, as they have the day off Saturday and Anaheim will be on a back-to-back. Vegas had one of the best home records last season (24-12-2), and they were bad on the road (16-23-2). The Golden Knights are the much deeper team offensively, and we may see the Ducks back-up goalie dress on Sunday night. Expect a tired Ducks’ team, as they will be playing their third game in four nights.
The Pick: Vegas Golden Knights, Moneyline
St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins (Saturday, 7 PM)
Two defensively-minded teams will battle it out on Saturday night in Boston. The game will feature two elite goalies, as Tuuka Rask and Jordan Binnington square off. Binnington was a key reason for the Blues’ turnaround last season, and Rask has been a model of consistency for years. Both of these teams faced off in the 2018-19 playoffs, so they know each other well. Six of the seven games in the playoffs featured six goals or less, so I expect another low-scoring affair.
The Pick: Under 6.5 goals (alternate total)