NHL conference preview: Flyers new beasts of the East

The new hockey season starts Thursday, so we thought it'd be a good idea to get the help of a hockey expert. Dustin Nielson, who covers the Edmonton Oilers, says there is a new beast in the East this season.

Last year’s lowest scoring team

The New York Islanders were dead last in the goals for in the Eastern Conference last year averaging just 2.42 goals per game, slightly less than the Rangers. Despite not scoring often, the Islanders were still 45-34-3 on the over/under.
 
This year’s best under bet

The Florida Panthers will be a team to follow closely on the under this season. Last season, the Panthers finished under the total 43 times including a record of 14-24-2 over/under on home ice. In the offseason, the Panthers lost power-play quarterback Jay Bouwmeester to the Calgary Flame,s which is not good for a team that ranked 24th with the man advantage. They also added Scott Clemensen to back up Tomas Vokoun, which means there will fewer weak nights between the Panthers’ pipes. Honourable mention to the Devils with Jacques Lemaire back behind the bench and a healthy Martin Brodeur.

Last year’s highest-scoring team

The Boston Bruins averaged 3.52 goals per game last season which was good enough for tops in the Eastern Conference. Last week, they traded Phil Kessel, who scored 36 times last year, to the Leafs so they will have to find those goals elsewhere in the lineup.
 
This year’s best over bet

Nothing against the Washington Capitals but I have to go with the Thrashers being the best over bet simply because of their inability to keep the puck out of their own net. The Thrashers allowed 280 goals last season and have done nothing to address the problem during the past four months. Watch for the Thrashers to lose a lot of 4-2 and 5-3 games this season.

Most improved team

The Senators may have been forced to trade Dany Heatley but overall, they look a lot better than last year. In exchange for Heatley, the Senators picked up two top-six forwards in Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo. The free-agent signing of Alex Kovalev gives the Senators the best depth they’ve had offensively in a long time. After missing the majority of last season with an injury, Pascal Leclaire is healthy and ready to give the Senators the best goaltending they’ve had since Patrick Lalime.
 
Team that will take the biggest step back this season

The New Jersey Devils, unlike several other teams below them in the standings, did very little to improve over the offseason. The Devils lost key forwards

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Posted by puckheadsports
5 years ago

Surprised no mention of Toronto playing to the Under alot. Considerring they went out and got tougher which translated into not picking up the goal scorer they lacked. Toronto will have about 10 goals from there whole blueline this year and should play to the Under alot also no mention of Devils in the Under eithger with a healthy Brodeur and the return of Mr Trap him Jacques Lemaire throw in the loss of Gionta and the Devils will not be lighting the lamp too much or giving up too many shots. As for Philly being the best in the East it seems everyone has them as the team in the East to beat it doesnt matter how Emery does in preseason he is not the answer in goal and will never be the answer for a team with Cup aspirations. A team nobody is mentioning is Boston granted they will take a small step back in points but should win there division with no problem and be a 2 or 3 seed Phill will be in a dog fight with Pitt for the division and Washington is going to have to deal with a pesky carolina team and an improving Atlanta team in there division. Boston is the darkhorse to come out of the East in my opinion. All the attention in the East has been on Philly Pitt and Washington that makes Boston the darkhorse team with a strong Tim Thomas in net and a good core of young players like Lucic,Wheeler,etc.
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Posted by WarmSword
5 years ago

K4ngur- did you read the last sentence? The Penguins are mentioned as being highly skilled. There are about a million articles you could read if you possibly need more Penguins attention
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Posted by ANC_III
5 years ago

I agree completly,the flyers should be on top of the east, but we dont no how emry will hold up all year. i just got back from the flyers practice today and have been been to several of their practices and pre season games and emry really looks good as well as the rest of the team. extremely excited about this season as a flyer fan
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Posted by K4ngur13
5 years ago

Great article...but what about the Penguins?
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Top Response

Posted by K4ngur13
5 years ago

"Great article...but what about the Penguins?"