Each week, we look back on the NHL betting scene and give you the best - and worst - hockey bets, as well as some spots to keep an eye on with the upcoming schedule.
For the week of Dec. 22 to 28.
Anaheim Ducks (2-0 SU)
Stop us if you've heard this one before. The Ducks have been the class of the NHL for the past month, winning 10 games in a row and earning points in 13 straight. The holiday break limited Anaheim to just two games over a seven-day stretch, but it made good by earning 3-2 victories over the Washington Capitals and Phoenix Coyotes. The Ducks will face their most difficult test in a while this week, taking on the San Jose Sharks in a pivotal home-and-home series, while the week ends with a home game against lowly Edmonton.
Minnesota Wild (0-3 SU)
A hot start to the season has been vaporized by a terrible five-week stretch that has seen Minnesota go just 5-10-1 while losing their starting goaltender (Josh Harding) and top goal-scoring option (Zach Parise) along the way. The Wild played three road games last week, and struggled in each of them - dropping consecutive 4-1 decisions to the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers before losing a 6-4 slugfest in Winnipeg. The coming week offers some relief - home games against the Islanders and Sabres should help - but a game against St. Louis on New Year's Eve will be a big test.
Best Over play
Chicago Blackhawks (3-0 O/U)
Chicago betrayed bettors the week prior to the holiday break, playing three straight Unders after boasting one of the best O/U records in the league to that point. So how did the Blackhawks respond? With vigor, of course. The league-leading Chicago offense reeled off 18 goals in three games this week, earning one-sided victories over the New Jersey Devils and Colorado Avalanche before being bested in a shootout by St. Louis. Expect a tighter game Monday against Los Angeles, but road dates against the Isles and Devils could bear more Over fruit.
Best Under play
New York Rangers (0-2 O/U)
The Rangers were the anti-Blackhawks this week, following up a 4-0-2 Over stretch with consecutive Under plays in a 2-1 shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Washington Capitals. The scoring just hasn't been there for New York, which comes into the start of the week ranked 27th in the league in goals (2.3) despite a power-play ranked 11th (18.9 percent). This week could be a difficult one for the Rangers, who face four-straight road games against Tampa Bay, Florida, Pittsburgh and Toronto.
Surveying the schedule
It's called a holiday break, but few teams enjoyed much of a rest period due to the condensed NHL schedule. The Vancouver Canucks were one of the lucky ones, with a full seven days between their previous game against the Winnipeg Jets and Sunday's showdown with the Calgary Flames. The Canucks will make up for it in a big way, playing five times over an eight-day stretch coming out of the break - following up their game in Calgary with a mini-homestand against Philadelphia and Tampa Bay and games in Los Angeles and Anaheim.