The season is in full gear, though with minor changes due to some teams’ struggles with COVID-19. It appears that everything is going rather smoothly for NHL teams now, but the intensity in each game can be felt at heightened levels, likely due to the shortened season.
In 56 games, the top four from each division will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Let’s take a look at which teams might be closer to reaching that goal this week.
1. Las Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights are 6-1-1 to start the season, a record that only seems to improve each night. It can be argued that their division is not one of the harder ones, but this is all the more reason to believe that they are definite contenders for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They are currently on a two game winning streak, having beaten the LA Kings by at least two goals in their last two games. They are also on a three game point streak, as they lost in overtime to St. Louis before playing LA. Expect them to put up a great performance in the tough week ahead as they face-off against the Kings and Sharks and the Ducks twice.
2. Montréal Canadiens
The Canadiens’ first seven games of the season gave them at least a point each, with only two of them tallying marks in the overtime loss category. Their offense has been spectacular, as they were blowing teams out of the water with 5 and 6 goals each game. While they’ve shown they’re capable of being defeated in regulation, it doesn’t appear they’ll do much of it this coming week. Their schedule features a matchup against a struggling 6-6-0 Edmonton team and two games against their Canadian rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are 8-2-1. While you can expect close games, the Canadiens offense will likely be too hard to contain, making them the victors.
3. Carolina Hurricanes
This may seem like an unusual pick because they’ve been pretty even with wins and losses over the last week. However, their 6-2-0 record shows they’re capable of rising to the challenge. This week, they face-off against the Stars twice, whom they have already beaten twice this season. They will also play the Blue Jackets, who are keeping their heads above water at 5-4-3. Carolina’s offense will likely shine through this coming week and make them add to their record’s first column.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins recently went on a four game winning streak, and it appears their winning ways aren’t going away anytime soon. They struggled a bit last week, which only means they’re ready for a comeback. That will come against the New York Islanders, who have struggled defensively. It won’t be a blowout, but expect a Penguins’ win.
5. Washington Capitals
The Capitals are one of the best NHL teams in the league and have been for the past few seasons, and nothing has changed. They managed at least a point in their first nine games this season, and their 6-2-3 record is testament to how well they work together. As they take on Philadelphia and Buffalo twice each, expect them to at least win 3/4.
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