As teams reach the 20 percent mark of the NHL schedule, conference leaders are starting to take shape. Can Toronto take down New Jersey and push Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division? We look at that game and four others for Friday, November 9. Note that all information is for games played through Monday, November 5.
New Jersey Devils versus Toronto Maple Leafs
New Jersey is in the bottom of the Metropolitan Division while Toronto looks to move closer to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. Toronto holds a large +21 to – advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator and “ice cold down” versus “dead” on the Team Strength Oscillator. Both teams are among the most unstable in the league, so betting on favorite/underdog status is not wise in this one. New Jersey took two of the three meetings between the teams last season. The Maple Leafs have struggled to 3-5 at home while the Devils are just 1-4 on the road. Neither team is playing great at the moment, but Toronto is the better overall team and should hold on to home ice and win this one.
Columbus Blue Jackets versus Washington Capitals
The teams are deadlocked in the middle of the tight Metropolitan Division. The two teams haven’t met yet this season and Columbus holds a +12 to +6 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator. However they have lost their last two games, while Washington won their last contest. The Capitals are among the most stable teams in the league and should be a home favorite. Washington is 4-1-2 at home and has a +1 scoring differential compared to -5 for Columbus. Home ice will mean something in this tight fought battle. I lean Washington in this one.
San Jose Sharks versus St. Louis Blues
San Jose looks to move up from the middle of the pack in the Pacific Division, while the Blues are at the bottom in the Central Division. San Jose holds a +15 to +10 edge on the Power Ranking Indicator, however St. Louis has been playing better lately. Both are among the most unstable teams in the league according to the Team Volatility Oscillator. St. Louis is -5 in scoring differential, while the Sharks are +3 in that category. San Jose has done better on the road that the Blues have performed at home. This leads me to believe they will go into St. Louis and steal a win.
Colorado Avalanche versus Winnipeg Jets
Last season the two teams split the four games and are evenly matched in this one. They are stuck in the middle of the Central Division with 17 points and Colorado has a slim +24 to +21 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator. Both have been on a downward trend lately, Colorado losers of their last three and Winnipeg dropping their last contest. Winnipeg is tied for the fourth most stable team in the league and should be home favorites. Solid at home at 5-2-1, the Jets likely have enough to take down the Avalanche, but don’t be surprised if this one is decided in overtime.
Minnesota Wild versus Anaheim Ducks
The Wild are near the top of the Central Division, while the Ducks look to keep afloat in the Pacific Division. Anaheim took two of the three meetings between the teams last season. However, Minnesota is “burning hot” after going 7-2-1 over their last ten. Minnesota holds a +26 to +4 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator. Anaheim’s best chance is the fact the the Wild are a relatively mediocre 3-3 on the road. Going with a bit of an upset, look for the Ducks to bring the Wild down a notch with a hard fought victory, maintaining home ice advantage.
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