Inform your NHL predictions ahead of this week's biggest matches with Pinnacle's weekly update, including analysis, team news, and the latest odds.
It may take a while for the outright odds for Stanley Cup success to truly change as teams settle into the new season but a good or bad start could still have the layers taking note. Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights and Tampa Bay Lightning began the campaign as the top three in the betting and although they are still up there, it is worth noting that they have lost more games than they have won as a trio from their opening five games combined.
There have been a number of sides that have made better starts and should they continue the winning thread, they may start to be taken more seriously for Stanley Cup glory.
Florida Panthers at Boston Bruins predictions
The Florida Panthers are one such team which has flown out of the blocks, winning their first five games to take an early lead in the Atlantic Division. Arguably they have already demonstrated their Stanley Cup credentials, having beaten both the Lightning and the Avalanche, while they have also seen off the New York Islanders, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers.
However, Joel Quenneville's men face another stiff test on Saturday night when they travel to TD Garden to take on the Boston Bruins, who have made a solid enough start, albeit from an easier opening run of fixtures, on paper at least. Boston are the defending champions in the Atlantic Division having hit 100 points to claim the Presidents' Trophy in 2019-20, finishing 22 points clear of Florida, while they lost just four times in regulation at TD Garden in that season.
Although the Bruins were not quite as dominant on home territory last season in the temporarily revamped East Division, seven regulation defeats is more than respectable, demonstrating TD Garden is not an easy place to go for most visiting sides.
The Panthers though will hope to underline their potential this weekend as they boast a good recent record in Boston. They may have lost the last three meetings between the two on home ice, but Florida have won three of the last four meetings at TD Garden, including the last two. Whether they can sustain their opening streak remains to be seen but chalking up another win at a title rival can only enhance Florida's claims in the outright market.
Minnesota Wild at Colorado Avalanche predictions
The Minnesota Wild also made a good start to the campaign, winning their opening four games, but there appears less substance behind potential Stanley Cup talk, given the quality of opposition they have beaten thus far. Victories over the Anaheim Ducks (twice), the Los Angeles Kings and the Winnipeg Jets should arguably be expected for a side that finished third in the West Division last season, while a defeat to the Nashville Predators may have knocked confidence in the camp.
A win over the Avalanche on the road may restore their belief of a post-season run, although the pre-season favourites will be looking to put a run of positive results together after a slow start to the campaign.
Colorado lost three of their first four games but have also beaten the Lightning and will now be hoping to take care of a divisional rival. The Avalanche of won six of the last nine meetings between the two sides, including three of the last four at Ball Arena, although the Wild won the most recent meeting with an 8-3 victory in Minnesota in April.
Edmonton Oilers at Vancouver Canucks predictions
There is an all-Canadian affair taking place at Rogers Arena as the Vancouver Canucks host their Pacific Division rivals Edmonton Oilers, both challenging for the divisional lead in the early stages of the season. The Canucks are looking to bounce back having finished bottom of the North Division in 2020-21, despite having claimed a third-place finish in the Pacific the season before.
The pressure though is likely to be on the Oilers as they look to show that they can back up the undoubted talents of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisatl, who are again at the top of the point-scoring charts, having occupied the top two places in the last regular season. The question-marks over Edmonton will likely centre on their post-season form, but of course they have to get there first and will be hoping to go two for two in the season series against the Canucks this weekend.
The Oilers have enjoyed a run of four wins out of five games on home ice against their compatriotsbut the last four match-ups have all been in Vancouver. Each team has claimed two wins, although it was the visitors who secured the bragging rights in the last meeting at the start of this season, albeit after a shootout.
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