In his weekly column “Pucking the Trends” Illegal Curve’s Ari Baum-Cohen looks at news from around the NHL and the potential impact on bettors.
A losing equation
Minnesota Wild backers are disappointed this season with their club’s 1-6-0 record.
Minnesota recently completed a grueling five-game road trip that included three games in four nights against Anaheim, Edmonton and Vancouver.
Michael Russo of the Star Tribune described the Wild’s season using the following equation: new coach + new players + new philosophy + heavy road schedule = early season struggles.
Wild forward Andrew Brunette is not bothered by his team’s slow start: "We're five games under .500 and we just go from there. You can beat yourselves up over it, but I thought we did some good things on this trip,” said Brunette.
Minnesota plays six of its next nine games at home.
It’s time for bettors to take advantage of the Nashville Predators’ inept offense.
The Preds have scored nine goals in seven games and have gone over the total twice. In both of those games Nashville allowed six goals.
Despite scoring two goals in their previous four games, oddsmakers set a total of six for last Saturday’s game in Washington. Predictably, the game stayed under, with Nashville losing 3-2 in a shootout.
Brian Costello of The Hockey News points out that Nashville lacks an offensive star and its two best forwards (according to Costello), Jason Arnott and Steve Sullivan, are 35 years old.
"We have to get more shots on net," Predators captain Jason Arnott said. "We're passing up too many quality shots."
Arnott will miss the next two weeks with an arm injury.
Intrastate love song
Now may be the best time for future bettors to put their money on the Pacific Division’s last-place team.
Anaheim plays nine of 10 and 16 of 21 games at home. All of those home games should lead to the Ducks to a much better record by Dec. 1.
Meanwhile, division favorites (Sharks) are in the midst of a six-game eastern road trip and play nine of 11 games on the road.
Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle observes: “We’ve got to come together as a team here. We didn’t have a very good first road trip. We’ve got six games against some pretty good teams – Washington, Philadelphia, the Rangers are all playing well.”
San Jose is 2-1-0 after the first three games of its trip.
Condensed schedule… really?
The Calgary Flames are in the middle of a stretch where they play five games in 20 days, all at home. Keep in mind this is supposed to be a year where the schedule is condensed to make way for the Olympic break.
The Flames will use this extra time to conduct an early season mini-camp. Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun points out the Flames had a similar stretch of intense practices last year and went on a 30-11-5 run.
"It's a good time for us to nail down things," said Calgary head coach Brent Sutter.
Watch for a potentially lopsided match-up on Oct. 28: the well-rested Flames take on an Avalanche team playing its second road game in as many nights.
The Dallas Stars are missing four of their top forwards: Brad Richards, Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen and Steve Ott.
Dallas has gone over the total five of eight times this year, but as Mike Heika of the Dallas News observes, the recent injuries have exposed Dallas’ lack of depth and the team is relying heavily on Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow to create offense.
Defenseman Stephane Robidas is trying to keep the injuries in perspective.
"You can't look at who's not in the lineup,” said Robidas. “You've got to control what you can control.”