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 Jan. 12-18
Columbus Blue Jackets (3-0 SU)
Welcome back, Sergei Bobrovsky. The defending Vezina Trophy winner's return to the lineup has helped fuel the Blue Jackets' season-high six-game winning streak, which includes victories over the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals and an overtime thriller over the Buffalo Sabres last week. Bobrovsky, who struggled with his form earlier in the season, is 5-0-0 since coming back from a groin injury and has Columbus in position to challenge for a playoff berth in the jam-packed Eastern Conference race.
Washington Capitals (0-4 SU)
One of the streakiest teams in the NHL is at it again, taking itself out of the race for top spot in the Metropolitan Division with losses in eight of its last 10 games. The once-vaunted offense has gone completely silent, with the Capitals managing just six total goals in its four losses last week. And while it managed to pick up single points in shootout defeats against Buffalo and San Jose, the club is ice-cold heading into a rough stretch that will see it play six of its next seven games away from Washington.
Best Over play
Philadelphia Flyers (3-0-1 O/U)
The combination of a strong, balanced offense and some shoddy goaltending has contributed to the Flyers being one of the league's strongest "over" plays last week. Philadelphia earned a push in a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers before edging the Buffalo Sabres 4-3, dropping a 4-3 shootout decision to the Nashville Predators and fending off the New York Islanders 6-4. Goaltender Steve Mason is going through a rough stretch - and suffered a minor indignity by being pulled in the win over the Islanders, just hours after signing a three-year contract extension.
Best Under play
New York Rangers (0-3-1 O/U)
The Rangers went in the opposite direction following the victory over Philadelphia, tightening up what has been a much-maligned defense for most of the season. New York dropped a 2-1 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning before bouncing back nicely with victories over the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators. Netminder Henrik Lundqvist is starting to look like one of the world's top players again, allowing just three goals over his last three appearances; backup Cam Talbot has also been solid, allowing two goals in his previous two starts.
Surveying the schedule
The Toronto Maple Leafs undid much of the damage caused by a four-game losing skid earlier in the month, following it up with an impressive four-game winning streak that included a measure of revenge over the defending Eastern Conference-champion Boston Bruins. But the Maple Leafs' ability to sustain that momentum will be put to the test this week as they hit the road for a pivotal four-game trek. Games in Phoenix, Colorado, Dallas and Winnipeg could go a long way in determining whether Toronto is a contender for a top-four seed in the East.