NHL Playoff Contenders 2020 in the East and West

NHL Playoff Contenders 2020 in the East and West

A shutout win for the reigning Stanley Cup holders the St Louis Blues over the Chicago Blackhawks takes them to 92 points for the season.

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NHL 2019 - 2020 season has been suspended due to the Coronavirus pandemic until further notice.

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While in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers all make strong cases for a spot in the NHL postseason.

With less than 15 games to play, who else will make the cut?

 

New York Rangers (7.00)

The New York Rangers are way down in the Metropolitan Division in seventh. But with just 8 points between them and the third-place Pittsburgh Penguins, it’s all to play for in the latter part of the regular season.

The Rangers go 36-28-4 for the season outright. They’re averaging the fifth-highest goals per game, with an average of 3.3, while they allow an average of 3.00 goals per game.

Although offensively they’re very strong, it’s on defence where the problems come in for the Rangers.

Mika Zibanejad now leads the line for the Rangers with 39 goals and 33 assists for the season. He’s closely followed by the Russian Artemi Panarin, who has performed excellently since joining from the Blue Jackets. He’s managed 32 goals and a staggering 61 assists this campaign.

Take the New York Rangers to make the Playoffs.

New York Rangers To make the NHL Playoffs 2020
7.00
BetWarrior

 

Montreal Canadiens (7.00)

The Atlantic Division is very tough at the moment. The Bruins and Lightning have created a distance between themselves and the rest of the pack. With 31-30-9 for the season, the Canadiens are just 8 points off the third-place Maple Leafs.

The Canadiens have relied upon their leading offensive player the Slovakian Tomas Tartar. He’s managed to put up 22 goals and 39 assists for the season. Montreal lost their last game 4-1 against the Panthers, largely due to the absence of their starman.

The reliance on Tartar has been a real detriment to the team’s success in this campaign. Montreal is putting up an average of 2.9 points per game while allowing 2.93 ppg.

Having said all that, the distance between them and the Divisional Playoff and Wildcard spot is so small, they could easily turn things around in the last twelve games.

Pick the Montreal Canadiens to make it to the Playoffs.

Montreal Canadiens To make the NHL Playoffs 2020
7.00
Betway

 

Minnesota Wild (3.30)

The Wild has accumulated 77 points, with a record of 35-27-7 for the season. They trail the third-place Dallas Stars, who are looking to snap a five-game losing skid, by just five points and are in excellent form, winning 7 of their last ten games.

On offence, Minnesota has a number of excellent players, the likes of Kevin Fiala (23g, 31a), Ryan Suter (8g, 40a), Eric Staal (19g, 28a), and Zach Parise (25g, 21a) to name a few.

The Wild’s offensive unit is managing an average of 3.2 goals per game while allowing 2.97 per game. Although the stats don’t lie, the Wild is in great form and if they can carry this momentum through these finals games, they are in with a big chance.

Choose the Minnesota Wild to make the Playoffs.

Minnesota Wild To make the NHL Playoffs 2020
3.30
Spin Palace Sports

  • February 24th Predictions

    The Bruins are five points clear at the top of the Eastern Conference, but there are still a lot of teams that can win. In the West, it’s the Blues who are on top - three points clear of Avalanche and the rest of the pack, including the Stars, Oilers, Canucks, Golden Knights, Flames and more.


    We’ve all been here before, and the season is at a point of over 60 games played. So, it’s the see who will make it and who will be left to watch the 2020 NHL Playoffs from home. 


    There are several teams that are right on the cusp of the Playoff spots. But who will make it through to the Playoffs this season?

     

    Edmonton Oilers


    It’s hard not to back the Oilers, though they are consistent in finding a banana-skin every few games, they’re a formidable team and boast an excellent roster. 


    Edmonton is 33-22-7 for the 2019/20 campaign overall. They’re ninth in average goals per game, putting up 3.2 and allowing 2.89ppg. You fancy the Oilers to win games in the Playoffs, but they need to ensure they get there.


    Last season they finished seventh in the Pacific Division. Right now they sit second and are right in the mix with the Golden Knights, Canucks, Flames and Coyotes. 


    Leon Draisaitl (36 goals and 62 assists) and Conor McDavid (31 goals and 53 assists) continue to put up some of the best numbers in the league, and with McDavid back to being fully-fit things are falling into place at the right time. 


    Florida Panthers


    As the Bruins and Lightning battle it out at the top of the Atlantic Division, we look down the table to the Playoffs spots and things are just as heated. 


    The Panthers are 32-24-6 for the season with twenty games to go. Things have been rough of late. Currently on a 2-game losing skid, while going 3-7-0 in their last ten games. 


    Florida has struggled defensively, allowing an average of 3.19 goals per game which is the third-highest in the league. But they’re putting in work at the other end of the ice, with the joint top goal-scoring average in the league, on 3.5. 


    Evgenii Dadonov continues to be a force on offense, putting up 25 goals and 21 assists for the season. He picked up a goal and an assist in the Panthers’ last game, which they lost 5-3 to the high-flying Golden Knights. 


    Calgary Flames 


    We switch over to the Western Conference and the 2018/19 Pacific Division winners the Calgary Flames. They’re 32-25-6 for the season and sit joint fourth alongside fellow Playoff contenders the Arizona Coyotes. 


    Johnny Gaudreau picked up a goal in their last game to bring his total to 16 for the campaign. Though it’s Swede Elias Lindholm, who leads the scoring with 27 goals and 23 assists. 


    Calgary has never really got going this season. They have been lacking on offense, but certainly have the roster to compete for the Playoff positions. Though It may ambitious to back them to lift the Stanley Cup. 


    The Flames are the only team in the running for the Playoff spots in the Pacific Division that have a minus goal difference. The Coyotes who are below them in the league have +7, while the Flames have -9. Now is the time. They need to sort things in defence and make a push for it at the end of the regular season. 

  • February 17th Predictions

    With most teams nearing 60 games played, it’s time to think about who’s going to be Conference winners in 2020. Will it be the Lightning again in the East? Can the Flames claw it back against the odds in the West?


    So without further adieu, let’s get down to the brass tax. 

     

    Western Conference Winner - St Louis Blues (4.33)


    The reigning Stanley Cup holders got our NHL free pick as favourites to take the crown in the Western Conference. Despite the fact they’ve looked less than convincing of late and are on a 5-game losing streak, we see them bouncing back. 


    The St Louis Blues sit joint-first alongside the Dallas Stars on 74 points. The Blues go 32-17-10 for the season outright. 


    They’re led in attack by David Perron, who has been excellent all-round, picking up 23 goals and 33 assists for the season outright - team-high stats in both departments. 


    The Colorado Avalanche sit second-place in the bookmaker’s eyes, with odds of 4.50 to take the Conference. The Avalanche are playing very well this season and are likely their main rivals in the Western Conference.


    Take the Blues to win in the West.


    Western Conference Underdog Winner - Dallas Stars (7.00)


    The Stars have the third-strongest defensive unit in the NHL, letting through an average of just 2.37 per game. Though less can be said about their offensive prowess, scoring an average of only 2.7 per game. 


    None of the Dallas Stars offensive players have managed to break 20 goals this season, which is shocking considering where we are in the campaign. Jamie Benn leads the scoring tables with 18 goals and 14 assists outright.


    The Stars season ended disappointingly in 2019, finishing with a mere 93 points. They already have 74 and are managing to string together some big wins. They are 34-19-6 for the season outright. 


    Expect the Stars to continue to put the pressure on the rest of the contenders in the West, and with a little improvement in attack, they could easily take the title. 


    Pick the Dallas Stars to win the Conference.


    Eastern Conference Winner - Tampa Bay Lightning (4.50)


    The majority of sportsbooks see the Tampa Bay Lightning as joint-favourite with the Boston Bruins to take the Eastern Conference. The Bruins lead the conference at present, but the Lightning is playing in their best form this season.


    Tampa is 39-15-5 for the season overall, boasting the most wins out of any team in the NHL. They have 83 points outright, just three less than the Bruins.


    Defensively they’re solid, letting through the fifth-lowest average in the league, with just 2.51 goals per game. While in attack, they have the second-best scoring average in the league, scoring 3.5 goals per game. 


    Given that they accumulated the highest points total in the league last season, we can see them repeating that feat again this year. They have got 128 last season, and they have 83 so far in 2020 - will they beat 128?


    Take Tampa to win in the East. 

     

    Eastern Conference Underdog Winner - Washington Capitals (5.50)


    It’s been a tussle between the Capitals, Bruins and Lightning at the top of the Eastern Conference throughout the 2019/20 campaign, though now the Atlantic Contingent have their noses in front. 


    The white-hot Russian Alex Ovechkin (42 goals, 17 assists) will continue to cause problems for his opponents into the latter stages of the season. He seems unstoppable at the moment, battling it out with Pastrnak and Matthews for the lead-scorer in the league. 


    Washington sits joint-second in average goals per game, putting up 3.5. Though they have been less impressive in defence, letting in an average of 2.86 per game. 


    The Tampa Bay Lightning sit third in the NHL power rankings this season, though for a long while they led it. They’re playing well overall and with the amount of goals they’re scoring, anything is possible.


    Pick Washington Capitals to win the Eastern Conference.

     

  • February 10th Predictions

    The separate Divisions have started to take more concrete shape as we slowly approach the conclusion of the 2019-20 regular season, which will end on Saturday, April 4, when 30 of the League's 31 teams take to the ice.


    Our NHL Division leaders are currently the Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Vancouver Canucks and the St Louis Blues. Not all of those teams are our picks for the 2020 Division winners, though some made the cut. 


    Will we see any upsets in 2020?


    Central Division Winner: St Louis Blues (1.61)


    The Blues are in a bit of a rut at the moment, with the Colorado Avalanche right on their tails in the Central Division. 


    The Blues form has meant they’ve dropped out of the top 5 in the NHL power rankings this week. Losses to the Jets and Stars has left them twiddling their thumbs - the OT loss to the Stars in their last was particularly disappointing. 


    However, the season is long. The Blues are the reigning Stanley Cup holders and know how to grind out a successful season. They’ve been excellent defensively, allowing an average of just 2.55ppg. While they’re scoring at an average of 3.2ppg, which is ninth in the leagues’ standings. 


    The Central Division will likely be fought for between the Blues, Avalanche and Stars. We don’t think the Stars will be in the running in a month’s time, however we do foresee a tough battle between St Louis and Colorado. 


    Take St Louis Blues to win the Central Division.


    Pacific Division Winner: Vegas Golden Knights (3.50)


    Out of the teams in the Pacific Divison, it made sense to give our NHL free pick of the week to the Vegas Golden Knights. We expect the Oilers inconsistency to cost them, while the Canucks look rocket and a little worn out going into the latter stages of the regular season.


    The Golden Knights also have the immovable object that is Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes. He’s been excellent again this season, allowing an average of just 2.82gpg for the season and playing in 40 of 53 games.


    Vegas has a great offensive setup too. Max Pacioretty (24g, 28a), Reilly Smith (21g, 23a), and Mark Stone (20g, 33a) have all been excellent this season, and they will need to ramp things up as the season progresses.


    Though the Golden Knights will also have to worry about results. The top-of-the-table in the Pacific Division is very close. They will need to focus on grinding out results, which they are more than capable of doing. 


    Take the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Pacific Division.


    Atlantic Division Winner: Tampa Bay Lightning (2.37)


    Tampa Bay is the team in the NHL to beat in the bookmaker’s eyes. Their season ended disappointingly last season after such a good run and Jon Cooper will be keen to make sure that doesn’t happen again. 


    The Lightning is the most in-form team in the NHL right now, as they look for a seventh win on the bounce against the Penguins in their next game. Tampa is just one win off the top spot in the NHL. 


    Tampa Bay join three other teams at the top of the NHL scoring tables, putting up an average of 3.6 goals per game while allowing just 2.58 per game. 


    The Bruins, their Atlantic Division rivals, are the only team to put up better all-around stats for the 2019/20 campaign. Though this doesn’t bode well for this wager, we believe Tampa Bay has more in the locker this year. 


    The Bruins may be a more solid team, but we believe the likes of Stamkos, Kucherov, Killorn, Point and Andre Vasilevskiy will come up trumps as we enter the latter stages of the season.  


    Take the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Atlantic Division.


    Metropolitan Division Winner: Washington Capitals (1.55)


    The Capitals have been atop of the NHL wins table for the duration of the season. This has been reflected in the sportsbooks NHL betting odds, which have favoured Washington to be in the running come the playoffs. 


    The formidable Alex Ovechkin is looking to make it 700 goals in the NHL, while this season he’s put up 40 goals and assisted 17. The man is a machine and will give a lot of confidence to fringe players and the team as a whole. 


    Similarly to the Lightning, Washington is putting up an average of 3.6 goals per game. Though defensively they’re a little worse than the Lightning, allowing an average of 2.85gpg.


    The Washington Capitals know what they can do on their day, and so do their opponents, so it’s vital that they maintain momentum and keep Ovechkin hot going into the playoffs. The young Jakub Vrana has been great alongside the Russain vet, with 23 goals and 23 assists outright. 


    Take the Washington Capitals to win the Metropolitan Division.