The first two months of the 2019-2020 NHL season are officially in the books. After a scorching hot start, the Buffalo Sabres find themselves 2-6-2 in their last 10 and 10th in the Eastern Conference. To make matters worse, stud defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is out indefinitely with a concussion. The Sabres will face a surging Maple Leafs team this weekend in a home-and-home set. The Leafs are a perfect 3-0 since Sheldon Keefe took over the coaching duties.
Atop the Eastern Conference are the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals. They have played the most consistent hockey this season and look like Stanley Cup contenders. For the first time this year, the Islanders have lost three straight but will look to get back on track with games against Columbus and Detriot. The Penguins seem to be doing just fine without Crosby, as they are winners of three-straight and 6-1-3 in their last 10.
In the West, the defending champion St. Louis Blues lead the way with 36 points. They have been led by goaltender Jordan Binnington, who is on his way to another remarkable season. Two of the hottest teams in the league — the Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars — are not far behind. The ‘Yotes have gone 6-3-1 in their last 10 and sit third in the conference. Meanwhile, the Stars continue to turn their season around with an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games.
- The Florida Panthers have the highest over percentage of any team at 75% (18-6-0)
- The Nashville Predators have gone over in 66.7% of their games (16-8-0)
- The Calgary Flames have gone under in 69.2% of their games (18-8-0)
- The Dallas Stars have gone under in 65.4% of their games (17-9-0)
- The New York Islanders are the most profitable team ATS at a 69.57% win rate (16-7-0)
- The Boston Bruins have a win rate of 68% ATS (17-8-0)
Bests Bets of the Weekend
St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars (Friday, 8:30 PM)
This matchup features two elite Western Conference hockey clubs. The Stars are 13-1-1 in their last 15, while the Blues sit in first place in the West. They are two of the best teams defensively. The Stars have allowed the third-lowest goals per game at 2.35, while the Blues sit fifth in that department at 2.65. We can expect a low-scoring affair if both Jordan Binnington and Ben Bishop get the nod in net. The two have nearly identical stats, with a .925 save percentage and less than a 2.27 GAA. Both teams are in the top-10 on under percentages.
The Pick: Under six goals
New York Rangers at Boston Bruins (Friday, 1 PM)
The New York Rangers have played a ridiculous amount of hockey lately. This will be their sixth game in nine days, and I expect a pretty tired club. Not to mention, the Boston Bruins are dominant on home ice. They have yet to lose in regulation in their home building (9-0-4) and should add to the total Friday night. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are a force on offense for the Bruins, combining for 82 points already on the young season.
The Pick: Boston Bruins, Moneyline
Columbus Blue Jackets at New York Islanders (Saturday, 7 PM)
The Islanders return home after a three-game losing streak where they failed to get a win. They will be on a few days rest and should be ready to get back on the winning track at home. Off to a 10-2-1 start in their own arena, the Islanders have one of the best home-ice advantages. The Blue Jackets rank 28th in the league in goals, and this is big trouble against a defensively-minded Islanders team. Expect Matt Barzal and the Isles to take this one.
The Pick: New York Islanders, Moneyline
Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs (Saturday, 7 PM)
This will be the second game of a home-and-home set between the two clubs. The Maple Leafs are a perfect 3-0 since Mike Babcock was fired and look like a completely different hockey team. They will be starting their backup Hutchison on Friday, so star goalie Freddie Anderson will definitely be in for them. They take on a struggling Sabres team who just lost defenseman Rasmus Dahlin to injury. The Leafs have gone 6-3-4 in their home building, while the Sabres have struggled on the road (5-7-1). The Sabres will be a very tired team, as this will be their fifth game in six nights.
The Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs, Moneyline
Washington Capitals at Detroit Red Wings (Saturday, 7 PM)
The Detroit Red Wings are currently in last place in the entire NHL with a 7-17-3 record. Their goaltending has been awful, and starter Jimmy Howard recently got injured. The Capitals are the best road team in the league with a 10-2-1 record and sit atop the Eastern Conference. Last in both goals per game and goals allowed per game, the Red Wings are looking for answers. The Pick: Washington Capitals, Moneyline