Pucking the trends: AHL betting news and notes

No NHL. No problem. Get your hockey fix from the young guns in the AHL. Each week we look inside the American Hockey League for the best betting news and notes.

Hot Team: Springfield Falcons

The Columbus Blue Jackets affiliate is off to a flying start, outscoring their opponents 8-2 in wins over the St. John’s IceCaps and the Adirondack Phantoms.

Veteran goaltender Curtis McElhinney looked especially sharp stopping 31 shots in a 4-0 shutout win Sunday against the Phantoms, who have Flyers prospects Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier leading their offence. Both wins were at home, which bodes well for the rest of Springfield’s month. The Falcons only have one road game in October.

Cold Team: Providence Bruins

The Bruins scored first in both of their losses to start the season - a worrying trend if it continues. Even more worrying is that the tying goals they allowed in both games came while they were on the power play.

Providence can take comfort in the fact that two games is hardly a proper sample size, but with road games against the Manchester Monarchs and Springfield Falcons (both 2-0-0-0 to start) this weekend, the Bruins could find themselves in a deep hole before the month is through.

Prospect Watch: Lake Erie Monsters

Lake Erie’s crease has a new, young look this season and it’s paying off so far. The Colorado Avalanche affiliate started the season with two 20-year-old rookies platooning in net: Former Seattle Thunderbirds starter Calvin Pickard and Sami Aittokallio, who was a star for Finland at the 2012 World Junior Championships.

Together, the two 2010 draft picks have allowed just four goals in their first three games. Aittokallio allowed one goal against the prospect-studded Oilers affiliate Oklahoma City Barons to open the season, while Pickard made 40 saves to shut out the Toronto Marlies Sunday.

Scoring Leaders: Week 1

A familiar face is at the top of the AHL scoring race after the opening weekend. Cory Conacher, who finished second in scoring with 80 points last season, picked up right where he left off with five points in his first two games for the Syracuse Crunch.

The diminutive winger has two goals and three assists - one point ahead of top prospects Sven Baertschi and Nino Niederreiter, who have two goals and two assists apiece for Abbotsford and Bridgeport, respectively. Lake Erie’s Thomas Pock is the top-scoring defenseman with a goal and three assists in three games.

Surveying the schedule:

- The Binghamton Senators have only played one game so far, but they’ll catch up to the rest of the league with four games on the schedule this week. After travelling to Rochester Tuesday, the Senators head home to host Hershey Friday and Syracuse Saturday, then travel to Hershey for Sunday’s matinee.

- The Chicago Wolves are next to head west for a double-header against the Abbotsford Heat. The Wolves will start their week Wednesday hosting the Peoria Rivermen, who are returning from dropping two straight to the Heat by a combined score of 10-3. Abbotsford’s location in relation to the rest of the league means teams play double-headers when they visit to cut down on travel costs. The Wolves will face the Heat Friday and Saturday.

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