2018 Brings New Challenges And New Hope To Some Canadian NHL Teams
Ottawa Is Thrilled 2017 Is Over
There is not one team that's happier about seeing the calendar flip over to 2018 in the entire NHL than the Ottawa Senators. The final two months of 2017 were downright awful for Ottawa as they went 4-17 SU from November 16th through December 31st and were embroiled in numerous negative storylines involving basically every aspect of the organization. Getting to 2018 was viewed as a fresh start for this team and the Senators have definitely treated it as such.
Now three games isn't close to a decent sample size, but Ottawa has gained at least a point in all three of their games played this calendar year, going 2-1 SU with the most recent game being a 6-3 win over the league's best team from Tampa Bay. The offensive scoring issues the Sens had for the final two months of 2017 were seemingly washed away with a three-goal, 3rd period outburst in a comeback win vs. San Jose, and it looks as though this entire squad has regained their confidence again. With two games this week before the mandated five days off, Ottawa would love to stretch this winning streak out to four games if they can. They've still got a long way to go to be playoff-relevant, but anything can happen with half the season left.
Edmonton Is Another Team Looking For Better Results
The Oilers came into this 2017-18 season with some lofty expectations of winning a Stanley Cup, and with that as the backdrop, there is no question they've been one of the league's most disappointing teams to date. If the playoffs were to start today, Edmonton would be 8 points behind Colorado for the final playoff spot in the West, and for a team that opened up the campaign basically as co-favorites for the Stanley Cup, Edmonton fans are hoping every single person involved with the team made, and accomplishes their New Year's Resolutions in 2018.
However, what plagued Edmonton for most of the first three months of the season - inconsistent play and a lack of production outside of Connor McDavid - hasn't really been fixed through four games in 2018, and likely won't until they decide to make some major personal moves - which will happen - during the coming weeks.
In the more immediate future though, Edmonton has to find a way to wrap up this current road trip with some multiple wins (@Nashville, @Arizona, @ Vegas) this week before heading home for the rest of the month and into early February. The time is definitely now for the Oilers to make that first big push up the standings and if the odds are attractive enough from a value standpoint during these next 10 games, Edmonton is a team I'm looking to back.
Winds Of Change Blowing In Montreal In 2018?
The Montreal Canadiens had high hopes for this year as well and while they are in a similar position to Edmonton in the standings (7 pts behind 8th place in East), the conversation is much different in Montreal. Many believe Montreal should look to blow up this entire year and begin building for the future again as it's tough to see them having the talent from top to bottom to make a significant run. I do agree with that sentiment and although management in Montreal has denied thinking about that possibility, it is something bettors should be aware of.
Should Montreal's struggles continue for the next week or two, the chocie to push for the playoffs or tank will basically be taken out of their hands. Tank mode will be out in full force at that point and before the betting lines get priced accordingly, it may be worth it to put Montreal on your "fade" list for the next few weeks.
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