As we get started in hockey in November, one could make a case for three of the four division leaders to be where they are. The one that makes no sense is New Jersey in the Metropolitan Division.
All of SBR's top-rated sportsbooks had New Jersey with the lowest point total figure in the Metropolitan Division entering this season and among a few teams expected to have the worst record in the Eastern Conference. Instead, the Devils are raising hell with a 9-2 SU record, which includes a 5-0 road record.
New Jersey's success has largely come by its offense, which is 5th in scoring and 5th on the power play. The Devils have been solid defensively, listed at 10th in goals allowed. For those of us making NHL picks, should we continue to ride or jump on the New Jersey bandwagon? The best answer is probably jump since they have two troubling signs. The Devils have been out-shot in nine of their first 11 games and are 5th in most shots allowed. Of those in the Top 5 of that category as of Nov. 2 , New Jersey is the only team with a SU winning record.
When Pens Falter, They Do It in Style
Pittsburgh figured to have a pedestrian start mostly because it is coming off back-to-back Stanley Cup seasons. What is odd about the Penguins' season to this point is being last in goal differential in the division. How this has happened is in three of their losses the Penguins have gotten absolutely pummeled by total scores of 24-3!
What Is Wrong With Capitals and Rangers?
Washington had to make moves in the of-season after another disappointing playoff campaign. Those moves were mostly on the defensive side, with blueliners moving on to other teams and less expensive replacements taking their place -- and at least for now not having the same talent.
This is exactly what is happening with the Capitals 25th in goals surrendered and goaltender Braden Holtby not in sync with his new mates as the last line of defense. Also hurting the Caps is league-worst numbers of games trailing 1-0 to start.
The New York Rangers were thought to be a 6th to 8th seed in the East by season's end. If that is to occur, the Rangers will have really elevate their level of play to beat the NHL odds. The Blueshirts dug an enormous hole and collectively jumped in with 1-7 start. While they have played better since, they are miserable 24th in defense and are almost as bad killing penalties at 20th. Rumors are starting to float about a coaching change needed as the Rangers have not been ready from first drop of the puck and been outscored 20-14 in the first period.
Neither the Caps nor Rangers have shown well against opponents with winning record, which every hockey bettor should follow.