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This Week's Best NHL Bets

This Week's Best NHL Bets

This Week's Best NHL Bets

Every week, we update you on who's hot, who's not and situational betting spots in the National Hockey League.

For the week of Feb.3-Feb. 9. All stats are prior to Sunday's action.

Hot team

Vancouver Canucks (3-0 SU, Season: 7-2-0-2, 5-6 ATS)

The Canucks downed the Flames 5-1 Saturday night to extend their winning streak to five games. Cory Schneider has responded after a slow start with a 1.00 GAA over his last two starts and Roberto Luongo has silenced critics with his strong play of late. Vancouver has a full-fledged goalie controversy on its hands, but both tenders seem to be pushing each other to be better, at least for the time being. Additionally, the Canucks could get a boost on offense in coming weeks. Stud center Ryan Kesler (shoulder/wrist) is back practicing with the team and is nearing a return.

Cold team

New York Islanders (0-4 SU, Season: 4-6-1-1, 6-5 ATS)

The Islanders skated to a respectable 4-3 SU start to open the shortened campaign, but they’ve taken a turn for the worst in the past week. New York has dropped four straight, managing only five goals during the losing skid. The Isles host the Hurricanes on Monday before two tough clashes with divisional foes New York and New Jersey.

Best over play

Pittsburgh Penguins (3-1 O/U, Season:  7-5 O/U)

The Penguins are always a tempting over play when Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are both healthy. Pittsburgh played over the number in three of its four games this past week, averaging a hearty four goals per contest in the process. The Penguins play the second half of a home-and-home with the Devils Sunday before welcoming the struggling Senators to The Igloo.

Best under play

Edmonton Oilers (0-2-1 O/U, Season: 2-8-1 O/U)

The Oilers haven’t played over the total in seven straight games. Edmonton is 0-6-1 O/U since playing over Jan. 26 in Calgary and averages just 2.2 goals per game. Surprisingly, the young Oilers have done a great job at keeping pucks out of their own net, allowing opponents to score 2.5 goals per game (10th in the league). Edmonton is in Columbus Sunday before returning to Rexall Place for a five-game homestand.

Surveying the schedule:

The Philadelphia Flyers hit the road for six games starting Monday in Toronto. The Flyers are just 1-5 SU away from home and have been a horrible puckline bet (3-9 ATS).

The Chicago Blackhawks have skated to a league-best 9-0-0-2 start and are entering a favorable stretch in their schedule. Chicago visits Nashville Sunday and then enjoys a seven-game homestand at the United Center. The Blackhawks have only played two home games this season – both one-goal victories.

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Re: This Week's Best NHL Bets

Five Injuries NHL Bettors Should Pay Attention To

Now that we’re about 25 percent of the way through the NHL season, we’re starting to get to that point in the year where injuries are playing a key role in handicapping puck bets.

Here’s a look at a few injuries bettors should be aware of and why. (Statistics are as of before Friday, Feb. 15 games).

Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames goaltender – Knee sprain, hopeful return late February

The injury to the Flames’ workhorse netminder, who has played at least 70 games every year since the 2005-06 season, is huge. It thrusts 24-year-old Leland Irving into the starting role, who had just seven games of NHL experience coming into the season. He has an .895 save percentage with a 2.93 goals against average in five games. The Flames may need to start scoring to win, like they did Wednesday night (7-4 over Dallas).

Johan Franzen, Red Wings right wing – hip flexor, day-to-day but out Friday vs. Anaheim

They don’t call this guy "The Mule" for nothing and his recent injury is especially tough on Detroit, which is now down three right wingers (Todd Bertuzzi, Mikael Samuelsson). He doesn’t always end up on the scoreboard, but Franzen is a huge presence on Detroit’s power play and in the corners. It's no shock the Red Wings had a three-game winning streak snapped without him against St. Louis Wednesday.

Brooks Laich, Washington Capitals center – groin, hopes to return late February

Laich hasn’t played yet this season, but his absence is one quiet reason why the Caps are in the basement in the Southeast. He’s a physical, consistent two-way center who can also score 20 goals and it’s often his line’s shifts that change momentum when Washington plays flat – which it tends to do. With Alex Semin gone to Carolina, Laich's return won’t be too soon.

Jaroslav Halak, St. Louis Blues goaltender – groin, out indefinitely

The Blues are the kind of team that likes to win 2-1. Since Halak got hurt six games ago, they’ve given up at least three goals in every contest and a total of 28 (4.67 goals per game). They gone 7-0-2 over/under in their last nine games overall.

Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators defenseman – Achilles, out for season

Obviously, it’s huge when you lose the reigning Norris Trophy winner, who had 10 points in 13 games for Ottawa. But this could be one of those injuries that oddsmakers and bettors tend to overvalue. A hot goalie can compensate for a lot and Craig Anderson could be the best in the league right now. The Sens are an under team this year with a 4-10 over/under record. When some of their injured forwards start returning, there could be some value here.

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