Which Teams Are Hot as We Head Toward December?

Doug Upstone

Thursday, November 23, 2017 9:09 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017 9:09 PM UTC

As we bid adieu to the first quarter of the NHL season, time to take a look at who has done what to polish off November and see if they will twinkle like Christmas lights or be like a blown light bulb.

Who Is Trending Upward?

Tampa Bay helped those making NHL picks earn a good chunk of change to start the season by winning nine of 11 and really has not slowed since in building the biggest lead among the division leaders. The Lightning aren't a brief flash of light, either, rankings first in scoring and on power play percentage and 4th in scoring defense. After a rather rugged four-game road trip starting Nov. 24, Tampa Bay returns home for four winnable contests.

Columbus has won five in a row and would like nothing better than to defy the NHL odds and win 14 straight times it did last December. Not sure the Jackets will reach that level because their offense is around 20th in goals scored, but defensively the Blue Jackets are top notch and ranked second in goals allowed. The next couple weeks are not imposing, but Columbus should win more than it loses.

In the Western Conference, St. Louis continues to leave the competition feeling blue and its goal differential is second only to Tampa Bay. The numbers bear out how well the Blues are playing with a Top 5 offense and defense. Searching ahead, St. Louis will be on home ice for nine of its next dozen contests (as of Nov. 24), and the two toughest clubs they will encounter, the Kings and Lightning, are both at home.

The Blues might have to keep a wary eye on Winnipeg, which is on a 9-3 SU roll and has tallied points in 13 of its past 14 games. The Jets' statistical profile is very similar St. Louis, thought just a tad behind, but they are better in special teams. Winnipeg is in the midst of playing eight of 11 away from home,yet has been solid with a 6-3-2 road record. This team should be watched closely.

Vegas continues to be astonishing and is paying out much better than the slot machines on The Strip where the Golden Knights are located with an 8-1 home record.

Calgary has put together a solid November at 6-3 SU and still has four games to be played this month. The first two will conclude a six-game road excursion, which will flow into a four-date homestand. The numbers do not suggest the Flames will keep playing this well. You have been warned.

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