Tuesday's NHL action: What bettors need to know

Sep 30, 2013 |
Tuesday's NHL action: What bettors need to know
The Leafs are 5-1 in their last six games in Montreal.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
The Leafs are 5-1 in their last six games in Montreal.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens (-130, 5.5)

With new divisions, new rules and dozens of players with new teams, it's nice for fans to have something familiar from the get-go. They'll get just that Tuesday night as the Montreal Canadiens host the Toronto Maple Leafs in the season opener for both teams - and the latest chapter of one of hockey's oldest rivalries. Both teams exceeded expectations a season ago, with Toronto halting a lengthy playoff drought and Montreal recording the second-best record in the East.

Following up on their respective strong seasons will be a tall task. The Maple Leafs face a goaltending controversy before they've even played a game, and will be without their top free-agent acquisition for the first 10 regular-season contests. The Canadiens will ice a lineup similar to the one that won them the Northeast Division crown but ultimately ran out of magic en route to a first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Ottawa Senators.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS


* Maple Leafs are 5-1 in the last six meetings in Montreal.
* Under is 15-6 in the last 21 meetings.
* Road team is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings.

Washington Capitals at Chicago Blackhawks (-165, 5.5)

After watching their opponent raise a Stanley Cup championship banner in their 2012-13 season opener, the Chicago Blackhawks have the honor of sending their own title flag to the roof of the United Center before they kick off the 2013-14 campaign against the visiting Washington Capitals on Tuesday. Chicago must have been quite inspired when it witnessed the Los Angeles Kings acknowledge the first championship in franchise history on Jan. 19 as it went on to post a 5-2 victory that began its NHL-record run of 24 consecutive games with at least one point to start a season. The Blackhawks ended as well as they started, defeating the Boston Bruins to capture their second Stanley Cup in four years.

Chicago looks to become the first team to repeat as champion since the Detroit Red Wings accomplished the feat in 1997-98. Washington has aspirations of winning its first Stanley Cup with the help of superstar Alex Ovechkin, who bounced back from a disappointing 2011-12 campaign by capturing the Hart and Maurice Richard Trophies for the third time in his illustrious career. The Capitals recovered from a rough start last season, going 12-1-2 down the stretch to claim their fifth Southeast Division title in six years, but were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the New York Rangers as they were routed in the seventh and deciding game at home.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN


* Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* Home team is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Capitals are 1-4 in their last five road games.

Winnipeg Jets at Edmonton Oilers (-139, 5.5)

The Edmonton Oilers hope their surplus of young talent finally will translate into a playoff appearance as they begin the 2013-14 season against the visiting Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. After landing Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle in the first round of the 2007 and 2008 drafts, respectively, Edmonton added to its offensive arsenal by snagging Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov with the first overall picks from 2010-12. However, the young stars have yet to lead the Oilers into the postseason as the club has not qualified for the playoffs since losing the seventh game of the 2006 Stanley Cup final to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Gagner (jaw) and Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder) are out indefinitely, leaving first-year coach Dallas Eakins without two of his biggest stars as he attempts to help Edmonton snap the longest current playoff drought in the league. Winnipeg has gone nearly as long without a postseason appearance, last qualifying in 2007 while known as the Atlanta Thrashers. The Jets begin their third season in Manitoba and first in the Western Conference, moving into the restructured Central Division after spending the last two campaigns in the Southeast.

TV: 10 p.m. ET, CBC


* Over is 3-0-2 in the last five meetings in Edmonton.
* Over is 5-1-2 in the last eight meetings.
* Jets are 2-6-1 in the last nine meetings.

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