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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 Dec. 8 to 14.

Hot team

Vancouver Canucks (4-0 SU)

Some are calling it the 'Tortorella affect', but whatever it is, the Canucks are the NHL's hottest team. They have won seven games in a row and now just sit four points out of first in the Pacific Division. A big reason for that has been the recent play of goalie Roberto Luongo. He has won his last six starts, while only allowing one goal per game during that streak. After a nice five-game home stand, the Canucks head out for a three-game road trip, with stops in Minnesota, Dallas and a huge matchup with Chicago. They finish off the week at home versus Winnipeg.

Cold team

New York Rangers (0-3 SU)

The hottest team is Tort's new team and the coldest team is Tort's old team. The Rangers have lost four games in a row, all at home, and seven of their last 10 as they head into Sunday night's tilt with the Calgary Flames. The Rangers are in the midst of a nine-game home stand that has gotten off to a horrible start. They've only scored more than two goals once so far during their current losing streak and have dropped all the way to second-to-last in the Metropolitan Division. The teams who are next up for the Rangers during their extended stay at Madison Square Garden are Calgary, Pittsburgh and the N.Y. Islanders.

Best Over play

Chicago Blackhawks (4-0 O/U)

Lately, the Blackhawks have been lighting the lamp like it's going out of style. The 'Hawks have had a perfect week handling the total and have actually gone over the total seven times in the past eight games overall, averaging 5.5 goals per game in that time. Patrick Kane is leading the way for the high-flying 'Hawks with 19 goals on the season and Duncan Keith has recorded 27 assists from the back end. After the Blackhawks play the L.A. Kings Sunday, they only play two games next week as they are on the road at Nashville and host red-hot Vancouver.

Best Under play

Buffalo Sabres (0-3 O/U)

It has been just a dismal season in Buffalo for the Sabres, who seem to have issues that go all the way to the front office. They are the lowest scoring team in the NHL and haven't scored more than two goals in agame in their past six contests. They also haven't hit the Over since back on Nov. 16. in a 4-2 loss versus Toronto, going 0-7-4 O/U in that time. The leading scorer for the Sabres this season is Cody Hodgson, who has only tallied 18 points. This week the Sabres host the Winnipeg Jets before a home-and-home series with the Boston Bruins.

Surveying the Schedule:

The Anaheim Ducks have been terrific at home so far this season, compiling a 12-0-2 record at the Honda Center. But this week will be a tougher test for the Ducks as they embark on a East Coast road trip which sees them play four games in a seven day span. The trip includes stop in Detroit, New Jersey, at the N.Y. Islanders and finishing off in Washington.

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Re: This Week's Best NHL Bets

Beware These NHL Teams Looking Ahead To The Holiday Hiatus

The NHL takes a three-day hiatus from December 24 to 26 and some teams really need it. With some time away from the grind of the hockey season just around the bend, some squads can get caught looking ahead to the break.

Hockey bettors should beware these three teams before the NHL hits the holiday break:

Ottawa Senators (14-16-1-5 SU, 21-15-0 O/U)

Before the break: December 19 vs. Florida Panthers, December 21 vs. Phoenix Coyotes, December 23 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Senators find themselves sixth in the Atlantic Division and have not been able to win back-to-back games in over a month. Following their 5-2 loss to the Devils, the Senators held a closed-door meeting to clear the air.

“(We’re) running out of games to be able to say you're going to get something and have some kind of a season other than a race for the first overall pick,” Ottawa head coach Coach Paul MacLean told the media after that meeting. “Right now we're better in that race than we are to get to the playoffs and that's not acceptable."

The Senators play their remaining games against a Panthers team that has won four straight, Phoenix which is five points behind fifth-place Vancouver and a Penguins team going 9-1-0 over their last 10. It’s obvious that things aren’t going to get any easier for Ottawa before the break.

St. Louis Blues (22-7-3-1 SU, 16-13-4 O/U)

Before the break: December 19 vs. Montreal Canadiens, December 21 at Edmonton Oilers, December 23 at Calgary Flames

The Blues play two of their remaining three games on the road leading up to the three-day hiatus. They have struggled to keep players healthy and find themselves without stars once again..

Center David Backes has been ruled out for the second-consecutive game, nursing an upper body injury and is expected to miss the remainder of the week. Center/left winger Vladimir Sobotka is doubtful for the game against the Canadiens with an upper body injury while Jaden Schwartz should return. St. Louis will likely struggle scoring goals and may find its offensive game slowing down before the break.

Toronto Maple Leafs (17-16-1-2 SU, 17-18-1 O/U)

Before the break: December 19 vs. Phoenix Coyotes, December 21 vs. Detroit Red Wings, December 23 vs. New York Rangers

Toronto has been sliding in the Eastern Conference standings and has put together a 3-7-0 record over its last 10 games. The Leafs have won only three games in regulation over their last 19 played. While the Leafs have struggled with injuries and suspensions, the lack of effort by players is clearly the core issue.

Toronto’s gameplan needs to be reassessed by choosing roles and lines better suited for the players. The lack of cohesion and effort shown is evidenced by lazy skating and mental errors. The Leafs will continue to struggle until something is done. A break is much needed to re-evaluate the team’s terrible play and the future of head coach Randy Carlyle.

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