USA Today Sports

Pucking the trends: NHL's weekly betting news and notes

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 Dec. 8 to 14.

Hot team

Vancouver Canucks (4-0 SU)

Some are calling it the 'Tortorella affect', but whatever it is, the Canucks are the NHL's hottest team. They have won seven games in a row and now just sit four points out of first in the Pacific Division. A big reason for that has been the recent play of goalie Roberto Luongo. He has won his last six starts, while only allowing one goal per game during that streak. After a nice five-game home stand, the Canucks head out for a three-game road trip, with stops in Minnesota, Dallas and a huge matchup with Chicago. They finish off the week at home versus Winnipeg.

Cold team

New York Rangers (1-3 SU)

The hottest team is Tort's new team and the coldest team is Tort's old team. The Rangers had lost four games in a row, all at home, and seven of their last 10 as they head into Sunday night's tilt with the Calgary Flames. The Rangers are in the midst of a nine-game home stand that has gotten off to a horrible start. They've only scored more than two goals once so far during their current losing streak and have dropped all the way to second-to-last in the Metropolitan Division. The teams who are next up for the Rangers during their extended stay at Madison Square Garden after Calgary are Pittsburgh and the N.Y. Islanders.

Best Over play

Chicago Blackhawks (4-1 O/U)

Lately, the Blackhawks have been lighting the lamp like it's going out of style. The 'Hawks have had a perfect week handling the total heading into Sunday's game versus Los Angeles and have actually gone over the total seven times in the past nine games overall, averaging 5.5 goals per game in that time. Patrick Kane is leading the way for the high-flying 'Hawks with 19 goals on the season and Duncan Keith has recorded 27 assists from the back end. The Blackhawks only play two games next week as they are on the road at Nashville and host red-hot Vancouver.

Best Under play

Buffalo Sabres (0-3 O/U)

It has been just a dismal season in Buffalo for the Sabres, who seem to have issues that go all the way to the front office. They are the lowest scoring team in the NHL and haven't scored more than two goals in a game in their past six contests. They also haven't hit the Over since back on Nov. 16. in a 4-2 loss versus Toronto, going 0-7-4 O/U in that time. The leading scorer for the Sabres this season is Cody Hodgson, who has only tallied 18 points. This week the Sabres host the Winnipeg Jets before a home-and-home series with the Boston Bruins.

Surveying the Schedule:

The Anaheim Ducks have been terrific at home so far this season, compiling a 12-0-2 record at the Honda Center. But this week will be a tougher test for the Ducks as they embark on a East Coast road trip which sees them play four games in a seven day span. The trip includes stop in Detroit, New Jersey, at the N.Y. Islanders and finishing off in Washington.

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