At or just past the halfway point for most teams in the NHL, teams start positioning themselves for a playoff push. The Boston Bruins versus Toronto Maple Leafs highlight the match ups examined. Note that all information is for games played through January 8.
Boston Bruins versus Toronto Maple Leafs
In this match up, the Bruins and the Maple Leafs are battling for second place in the Atlantic Division. Boston has won five straight and are “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator, while Toronto is 6-3-1 over their last ten and “average down” status. The teams have split the last six games between them. Both teams ranking high on the Power Ranking Indicator, the Bruins have an edge at +28 to +24. The Bruins are also one of the more stable teams in the league at +15 on the Team Volatility Oscillator. They are likely to be a slight road underdog, where they are 9-9-4 this season. The winning streak must end at some point, and it will be in this game. Toronto will win in a squeaker.
Philadelphia Flyers versus New Jersey Devils
The Flyers are in the midst of a terrible downswing, having lost their last eight. They are last in the Metropolitan Division. New Jersey isn’t much better at this point, having lost their last two and second from the bottom in the division. The Devils have a +7 to 0 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator while both teams are trending poorly at “dead” versus “average down”. Both teams are relatively stable according to the Team Volatility Oscillator. The series is even over the last six meetings. Philadelphia has to win eventually and this could be their best chance in some time. Look for the Flyers to get a hard fought victory on the road.
St. Louis Blues versus Dallas Stars
In this Central Division match up, the last place Blues take on the third place Stars. Dallas has won five of the last six games between the teams and has a +17 to +5 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator. They also are trending better at “average up” versus “ice cold down”. St. Louis is one of the most unstable teams in the league, at -8 on the Team Volatility Oscillator. Looking at their favorite/underdog status is not wise in this one. However, the Stars are clearly the better team and should have a relatively easy time of disposing the Blues.
Ottawa Senators versus San Jose Sharks
The Senators are one of the coldest teams in the league, having lost their last eight and last in the Atlantic Division. San Jose has won their last four and third in the Pacific Division. There is little to indicate Ottawa has much of a chance, despite winning the first meeting between the teams in overtime, 6-5. San Jose has a +26 to 0 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator and “burning hot” versus “dead” status. The Sharks are also near the top in stability at +26. This should be a really easy win for San Jose.
Pittsburgh Penguins versus Los Angeles Kings
In another lopsided game, the Penguins at second in the Metropolitan Division face off against the Kings, last in the Pacific Division. The Penguins won the first meeting between the teams by a 4-3 score in overtime. They hold a +20 to +6 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator. At 9-1 over their last ten, they are “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator versus “ice cold down” for Los Angeles. Pittsburgh is 11-5-1 on the road, while the Kings are below .500 at home. Nothing points towards a win for the Kings, so I go with Pittsburgh to extend their hot streak.
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