NHL Predictions November 23: Who will win the battle of first place teams?

The NHL has some excellent games on tap for November 23, including Montreal and Buffalo. However, the must see match up features the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Columbus Blue Jackets, both leaders in their respective divisions. Note that all information is for games played through November 19.

Montreal Canadiens versus Buffalo Sabres

Montreal comes in battling several teams or top spot in the Atlantic Division. They are +25 on the Power Ranking Indicator. Buffalo is “burning hot”, winners of their last six and are within two points of first in the division. Both teams are among the most unstable in the league, so avoid the favorite/underdog status in this one. Buffalo is +30 on the Power Ranking Indicator. They have won the last two meetings between the teams and are a very solid 6-2-1 at home.  Both teams are nearly even in scoring differential and the match up appears very even. Go with the hot team playing at home? Take the Sabres by a goal or two.

Edmonton Oilers versus Anaheim Ducks

The two teams are battling near the middle of the pack in the Pacific Division. Edmonton is just 3-7 over their last ten and are “dead” on the Team Strength Oscillator. Anaheim has not been much better, losers of their last three and “ice cold down”. The Ducks hold an advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator, while the Oilers are one of the most stable teams in the NHL. Being on the road and likely the underdog, this is a strong indicator to stay away from Edmonton in this one. The teams split the four games last season and expect the Ducks to go one-up on Edmonton this season after this one.

Toronto Maple Leafs versus Columbus Blue Jackets

The Atlantic Division leading Toronto faces off against the top team in the Metropolitan Division.  Toronto won the only meeting between the two teams so far this season.  Both teams are “burning hot” , while the Maple Leafs have a slight +29 to +26 Power Ranking edge. The Blue Jackets are just 5-4-1 at home, likely favorites in most of those games. That explains their “tied for third most unstable team” status. Toronto has been outstanding on the road as well, losing just once in ten games. The Maple Leafs will continue this trend.

Ottawa Senators versus Dallas Stars

Dallas tries to battle out of the middle of the pack in the Central Division, while Ottawa sits at .500 in the Atlantic Division. Both teams are “burning hot”, however the Stars have a considerable +24 to +17 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator. Pay attention to the favorite/underdog status for the Senators because they are among the most stable teams in the league. They have also won the only previous meeting between the teams so far this season.  However, one cannot overlook the fact that Ottawa is 2-5-1 on the road and Dallas is 7-3-1 at home. That’s a large home ice advantage. Dallas will win this one rather easily.

Vancouver Canucks versus San Jose Sharks

After a very solid start, the Canucks are on a quick downward spiral, losers of their last six, contributing to their “dead status” . San Jose is tied with Calgary for first in the Pacific Division and hold a +24 to +12 advantage over the Canucks on the Power Ranking Indicator. The Sharks dominated Vancouver last season as well, winning four of the five meetings. Vancouver has one of the worst scoring differentials in the league at -14 and have given up the second most goals in the league. There is little to indicate Vancouver will break out of their funk in this one. Go with the Sharks in a comfortable victory.

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