Hockey Betting Preview: Around The NHL For Dec. 2 To Dec. 8

Doug Upstone

Sunday, December 2, 2018 3:42 AM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018 3:42 AM UTC

December is when NHL teams often get hot for an extended period. As you can read in our "Good" section while pondering your NHL picks, some clubs entered the month hot enough to melt snow.

The Good

Who were the teams in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final again? Washington and Vegas. And who is starting the month playing excellent hockey? You guessed it, the Capitals and Golden Knights.

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CAPS TODAY: Nicklas Backstrom recorded his second career hat trick last night and is now tied with Mike Ridley (218) for the fourth-most goals in franchise history. More info on Backstrom and the Caps at https://t.co/HecIC0ECg1 pic.twitter.com/49fJElpfzI

— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) December 1, 2018
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After playing like a team that had a little too much fun after winning the Stanley Cup, Washington has made a move in winning seven straight and leaping Columbus for the Metropolitan Division lead entering Sunday's action. The Caps offense has picked up (sixth in goals scored) and the defense is making improvements, especially with less open lanes for opposing shooters.

The only people surprised Vegas was not performing like last year were the Knights players. Last season's improbable campaign was sure to see them come back to earth. But in winning five of their last six, the Vegas offense has exploded and the defense became tougher than $5 T-Bone steak, posting two shutouts in that span.

While both these teams have made a move, so has Colorado and they have won eight of 10 and put up an avalanche of points to take over as the top scoring team in the NHL.

While all these streaks will eventually end, if you are making NHL picks, you better look at these three clubs as Play On teams.

The Bad

After a solid 5-3 SU start, Montreal began to labor and is in a world of hurt, with five consecutive losses prior to Saturday's win over the Rangers. Anyone making or regularly looking over the NHL odds understood the Canadiens were not as good as they began the season.

Yet, now they are faltering because of a leaky defense that is hovering around 25th in goals allowed and their power play is almost useless, ranked 29th.

Montreal needs to come up with answers quick.

Coming Attractions

It crossed my mind we have seen a vast number of -200 teams lose this season and my early research is proving that to be true. Next week I will have the full report.

Tasty Rink Betting Tidbits
  • SAN JOSE is 3-7 against power-play teams scoring on 19% or better of their chances this season.
  • VANCOUVER is 8-2 "over" after playing a home game this season.
  • N.Y. ISLANDERS are 9-2 vs. division opponents this season.
  • WINNIPEG is 9-2 in road games after three or more consecutive "overs" the last three seasons.
  • PHILADELPHIA is 3-10 against teams scoring three or more goals a game this season.
  • VEGAS started December knowing they were 11-2 in this month a year ago.

What Lies Ahead: The Schedule

Sunday: Colorado will try to stay hot at Detroit, which has cooled off (on ESPN+).

Monday: Excellent contest with Buffalo at Nashville. Sabres still sizzling, the Preds looking to build momentum (on ESPN+).

Tuesday: Buffalo heads home and will face Toronto in a meaningful Atlantic Division confrontation (on NBCSN).

Thursday: Minnesota has slowed down after being piping hot and will try and knock off first-place Calgary.

Hockey Night in Canada: Saturday
Toronto at Boston, 6:30 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh at Ottawa, 6:30 p.m. ET
Nashville at Calgary, 10 pm .ET

Can Boston make up ground in the Atlantic Division at home against Toronto? Can Pittsburgh take a winnable road contest? Plus, a collision of two of the best squads in the Western Conference.

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