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This Week In The NHL: 2/16
This Week In The NHL: 2/16
NHL Betting - The Week Ahead
by Jimmy The Moose
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The NHL playoff race is tighter than ever with last week's action only adding more questions as opposed to providing answers. With the way the standings are shaping up it looks like we'll have to wait until the final night of the NHL regular season to determine who will be in and who will be watching the playoffs from home. Lots of hockey to be played but every loss that a team suffers right now is huge in the standings.
Let's take a look at a few key games on the ice this week.
Tuesday, February 17
New Jersey Devils vs. Florida Panthers
The New Jersey Devils are the top team in the Atlantic Division with a 37-17-3 record. The Devils 77-points have them sitting eight points up on second place in the division. New Jersey has played great hockey this season and that has surprised almost everyone, especially because they have done it without their star goalie Martin Brodeur between the pipes. Scott Clemensen has been huge for the Devils in net and he has carried them into 2nd overall spot in the Eastern Conference. With a 28-20-8 record, and 66-points, the Florida Panthers are currently in 7th place in the Eastern Conference. Florida has been out of the playoffs for several seasons and this may be the year they return to the dance. The Panthers are 13-points behind the Capitals in the Southeast Division and although a division title may be slipping away they need this win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
New Jersey comes into this one having won 4 straight and are 8-2 in their last 10 games overall. The Devils rank 8th in the league averaging 3.1 GPG while the D ranks 4th in the league allowing an average of 2.4 GPG. On the road, the Devils are 18-7-2. The Panthers are 7-3 over their last 10 games and are happy to be playing this one at home. Florida is 15-7-5 at home, a lot better than their 13-13-3 road record. The Panthers are averaging 2.8 GPG and are winning most of their games thanks to their goaltending and great defensive system which ranks 6th in the league allowing 2.7 GPG.
Thursday, February 19
Calgary Flames vs. Minnesota Wild
The 33-18-5 Calgary Flames are leading the Northwest Division and their 71-points have them sitting in 3rd place in the Western Conference. Barring a total collapse, the Flames should easily win their division and remain the 3rd seed in the Western Conference when the playoffs start. The Minnesota Wild start the week with 59-points and that currently has them sitting in 10th place in the Western Conference but the good news is they are only three points out of 5th place in the West making this a big game for them.
The Calgary Flames have been great at home but haven't been overly impressive on the road. Away from home the Flames have posted a 13-11-2 record. Over their last 10 games the Flames are 5-4-1 and they start the week having won two straight. Calgary averages 3.2 GPG while giving up 2.9 per contest. Minnesota has struggled this season but still has a good shot at making the playoffs. The Wild are 5-5 over their last 10 games and this divisional game vs. Calgary is one they must get. The Wild's lack of offense is what hurts this team. Minnesota ranks 25th in the league averaging 2.5 GPG while their D ranks 2nd in the league allowing 2.3 GPG. This will be a tough divisional game.
Saturday, February 21
New York Rangers vs. Buffalo Sabres
Early in the season the Rangers were looking like one of the best teams in hockey, but now they are struggling to hang on to a playoff spot. The Rangers are 30-21-6 and their 66 points have them sitting in third place in their division and they are hanging on to sixth place in the Eastern Conference. New York better wake up because they are only five points out of 9th place in the conference. The Sabres are two points behind the Rangers in the East with 64 points and they are holding on to the 8th and final playoff spot in the conference. Neither team is sitting comfortably and by the time they play one another on Saturday one of them could be on the outside looking in.
The Rangers have lost their last two games and are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. On the road New York is 13-12-3 and will have a tough time in Buffalo. The Rangers offense is horrible sitting in dead last in the NHL averaging 2.4 GPG. Their D is holding them in the playoff race ranking 10th in the league allowing an average of 2.7 GPG. The Sabres are 16-11-2 on home ice and will be counting on that advantage tonight. Buffalo's offense ranks 15th in the league averaging 2.8 GPG while the D has been good ranking 9th in the league allowing 2.7 GPG. Big game for both teams on Saturday night.