Davey’s Fearless Hockey Forecasts
With the NHL season right around the halfway mark, let’s look back at some surprises and forecast a trend or two.
- The Florida Panthers. We expected them to be a welcome surprise and they are, with 45 points and third place in the Atlantic Division on New Year’s Eve. This is without stud goalie Sergei Bobrovsky playing as anticipated with a new contract. The Panthers were ahead of perennial playoff participants the Tampa Bay Lightning on the last day of 2019. Imagine if he catches form in the second half.
- The Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals and Stanley Cup champs the Louis Blues continue to be the Class of the NHL.
- The New Jersey Devils, as expected, are bottom-feeders in the Metropolitan Division.
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- The Philadelphia Flyers, as forecast, are on a pace to make the playoffs. Defense has improved, the coaching of Alain Vigneault has been positive and this team looks capable of reaching the post-season dance they didn’t attend last year.
- Keep an eye on the Vegas Golden Knights. They had 16 points in a 13-game December stretch and have a scheduling quirk bettors can tap into—seven straight home games. That’s practically unheard of. This is a chance for them to make some noise. The Knights brought a 6-3-1 run into the early stages of the homestand. This is when they have a chance to vault into the top tier of NHL teams. The homestand runs from December 28-January 11. The Knights have an excellent chance to enhance their slim lead in the Pacific Division.
Honorable mention: The Toronto Maple Leafs went on a 12-4 tear after making a coaching change and are playing their best hockey now. The Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals have the best goal differentials. The Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings are near the bottom.
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