Frozen Assets: 5 Things that Will Surprise You About the NHL Standings
1. The Maple Leafs have rejoined “the Pack”
After a horrendous start to the 2009-2010 campaign (0-7-1) the Toronto Maple Leafs have picked up their game. The Maple Leafs have used a 7-3-1 stretch to bring their record to 10-14-7.
The reason for Toronto’s recent success?
“We’re just doing the things that we should do,” said Maple Leafs forward Jason Blake. “We use our speed and forecheck and make it tough on defensemen. If we don’t do that, we’re easy to play against. The last few games, we’ve been doing that. We’ve been getting rewarded. We’ve just got to keep doing it.”
Though Toronto remains in 14th place in the East with 27 points, they trail Florida by only one point and are only five points out of a playoff spot.
If you are brave enough, Toronto is available at 200/1 to win the Stanley Cup at 5dimes.com
2. The Los Angeles Kings have the third most points in the NHL
You knew the Los Angeles Kings were having a good season, but did you know they trail only San Jose and Washington for the most points in the league?
After a shootout victory over the Phoenix Coyotes, the Kings moved to 20-10-3, good for 43 points. The Kings have been winning at home (9-4-2) and on the road (11-6-1), and have scored the second most goals in the Western Conference (103).
The Kings have not lost in regulation in their last seven games (6-0-1).
Los Angeles is available at +4400 to win the Stanley Cup at Unibet.com
3. The Chicago Blackhawks are not running away with the Central Division
This is not a knock on the 19-7-3 Blackhawks, but instead reflects how well the Nashville Predators have been playing as of late.
The Central Division was projected to be a two horse race between Chicago and the Detroit Red Wings. During the early part of season, it looked like the Blackhawks would run away with the division, but now lead the resurgent Predators by only three points.
Despite the fact that the Central division is close, odds on Chicago to win the division have increased from +120 before the season, to -400 now at Ladbrokes.com.
The Nashville Predators are 18-11-2 and are an impressive 11-3-1 in their last fifteen games. They are 10/1 to win the Central at Ladbokres.com, and 80/1 to win the Stanley Cup at 5dimes.com
4. The Detroit Red Wings are not occupying a playoff spot
Sure, this Red Wings team is not the same dominant team as previous years, but at 14-11-5 Detroit sits in 11th place in the Western Conference.
Losing Marian Hossa and Jiri Hudler was bad enough, but the Wings have also had to endure a string of injuries. Daniel Cleary, Niklas Kronwall, Jason Williams, Valtteri Filppula, and Johan Franzen are all out with injury.
“Every night we play with six forwards who didn’t play for us last year,” said coach Mike Babcock about his revamped offense.
The Red Wings have typically been between 4/1 and 8/1 to win the Cup, are available at odds as high as 16/1 at Ladbrokes.
5. The Columbus Blue Jackets have given up the most goals in the Western Conference
Are you sure Ken Hitchcock is coaching this team?
Not only have the Blue Jackets given up the most goals in the West, but they have scored 95 times. They are killing penalties at a rate of under 80% but they are percentage points behind the Anaheim Ducks for the best power-play in the Conference.
A big reason for the Jackets’ problems giving up goals has been the play of Steve Mason. In what has been described as a “sophomore slump,” Mason is 10-8-5 with a 3.29 goals against average and an .892 save percentage. Last season, in leading Columbus to its first playoff appearance and winning the Calder Trophy, Mason was 33-20-7 with a 2.29 goals against average and a .916 save percentage. He also led the NHL with 10 shutouts.
Columbus is available at 50/1 to win the Stanley Cup.