Pucking the trends: This week's best NHL bets
Every week, we update you on who's hot, who's not and situational betting spots in the National Hockey League.For the week of Jan. 19-26. All stats are prior to Sunday's action. Hot teamSan Jose Sharks (4-0 SU, 4-0 ATS)
The Chicago Blackhawks are off to a flawless 5-0 start, but the Sharks are also perfect at 4-0 and are a better bet on the puckline. Patrick Marleau is doing it all for the Sharks, netting two goals in each of San Jose’s first four games. Marleau is the second player in NHL history to open a season with four straight multi-goal games. The Sharks play the third contest of a six-game home stand Sunday when they host the Canucks. Anaheim, Edmonton and Nashville will also visit San Jose this week.Cold teamWashington Capitals (0-3-1-0 SU, 1-3 ATS)
The Capitals are the only team in the NHL yet to score a win (prior to Sunday). Alex Ovechkin is goalless in the first four games and Washington is allowing a league-worst 4.2 goals per game. The Caps go for win No. 1 Sunday when they host Buffalo and then head to Ontario for road games in Ottawa and Toronto.Over playPhoenix Coyotes (1-4 SU, 5-0 over/under)
Goaltender Mike Smith suffered a lower body injury in Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jackets, leaving Jason LaBarbera as the replacement in goal. The journeyman has a save percent of .897 in relief and the Coyotes are averaging 3.4 goals per game – the eighth best mark in the league. Smith is questionable for Monday’s clash with the Predators.Under playNashville Predators (1-1-0-3 SU, 1-4 over/under)
It’s no surprise to bettors that Nashville has begun the campaign as a solid under play. Barry Trotz employs a defensive system that revolves around stud G Pekka Rinne, who is winless despite boasting a 2.36 GAA and .912 save percentage. NHL schedule-makers have dealt the Preds a tough early slate. Nashville plays the fourth contest of a season-long seven-game road swing Monday in Phoenix.
Surveying the schedule:
-The Montreal Canadiens enjoy a stretch where they play six of their next seven games at the Bell Centre. The Habs make the short trip to Ottawa for their only road contest during that stretch, which is basically a home game for Montreal as its supporters are expected to make the short trip to the nation’s capital. Stud D P.K. Subban is still in a contract dispute with the team but the Montreal defense isn’t missing him, holding opponents to 1.3 goals per game.
-The Chicago Blackhawks are road warriors to begin the shortened campaign. The Blackhawks open with 10 of their first 12 games away from the United Center but are off to a red-hot 5-0 start as mentioned above. Chicago hosts Detroit Sunday before embarking on a season-long six-game road trip.