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Monday starts a new week with a huge bang of four highly anticipated games. These games are projected to be close and potentially down to the wire. These are games tonight that have the potential to be conference championship previews and most definitely, potential Stanley Cup Finals previews. This is a night to give the College Football Playoff National Championship game a run for its money in terms of viewers. These will be the games to keep track of for solid betting opportunities. These oddsmakers are giving great opportunities for fans of the NHL and casual bettors to potentially earn some great winnings tonight through DraftKings.
Time: 7:00 PM E.T. - Monday
The first potential Stanley Cup Finals preview this Monday night will be the Western Conference juggernaut in the Vancouver Canucks (25-11-3) going on the road to take on an elite Eastern Conference team in the New York Rangers (26-10-2).
This matchup tonight will be the second time this season that the two teams will meet on the ice. The Rangers won an overtime thriller on the road with a 4-3 score on October 28. The stars for the Rangers came out on fire in this early season matchup as Rangers center Mika Zibenejad accounted for one goal and two assists. Forward Artemi Panarin accounted for a goal and an assist.
The Canucks have shaped themselves into one of the most efficient teams on the ice this season after being in the middle of the pack last season. Vancouver ranks first in the league in goals per game (3.82) while also ranking fourth in goals allowed per game (2.59).
The Canucks have been playing Jackal and Hyde within the last five games as they accounted for six or more goals in the three wins over San Jose, Ottawa, and New Jersey. On the other side of the spectrum, the Canucks only scored one goal in losses at home to Philadelphia and at St. Louis.
The Rangers are among the most efficient scoring offenses, even if they are not as explosive as the Canucks. They are averaging 3.37 goals per game as a result of a smart and aggressive half-court offense. Defensively, New York has ranked among the top teams in the league since the start of the season as they rank seventh in goals allowed per game (2.74).
New York is 2-3 in the last five games as they have allowed a significant amount of goals in their losses. They allowed four goals at the Florida Panthers, six goals at home to the Carolina Hurricanes, and four goals in the shootout loss at the Montreal Canadians. In games where the Rangers played inefficient defenses, the Rangers accounted for five goals against the Tampa Bay Lightning and four against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Both teams are up and down through the last few games in December and the first few games of the new year. Vancouver has struggled at times, but New York couldn't find success offensively against good defenses. The Canucks possess an elite defense that should contain a Rangers' offense, plus they will be looking for revenge earlier in the season.
Time: 7:00 PM E.T. - Monday
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The battle for the state of Pennsylvania is set for a third time this season with the Pittsburgh Penguins (19-15-4) going on the road to take on the Philadelphia Flyers (20-13-6). The Flyers are currently in third place, while the Penguins are second-to-last in an incredibly competitive Metropolitan Division.
The last time these two teams met on the ice, they kicked off the month of December in a consecutive home-and-home series. The Flyers won both games over the Penguins in overtime and a shootout.
The Flyers have won the two matchups this season and possess the best overall record, but the key factor of this game is which team is in a better situation.
Pittsburgh is 8-4 in its last 12 games and 4-2 in the last six games. Their offense and defense have played at a high level in the last six games except for last Saturday's home loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Before the loss to Buffalo, Pittsburgh won a 6-5 thriller on the road to the Boston Bruins.
The Flyers, on the other hand, have won only two of the eight games. Last Saturday's 3-2 home win over the Calgary Flames erased a four-game losing streak where the lack of offensive production was the biggest indicator.
Defensively, both teams are allowing an average of 2.74 goals per game. The Penguins have the edge on the offensive side of the ice by averaging 3.03 goals while the Flyers are averaging only 2.9 goals. Pittsburg is a team with more offensive stars as it should be the edge in this rivalry matchup.
Time: 8:00 PM E.T. - Monday
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The Western Conference matchup tonight between the Dallas Stars (22-11-5) at the Minnesota Wild (17-17-4) isn’t a game that will usually get much attention from a betting perspective. Tonight, the Wild are given more favors since they are at home and because the Stars are currently on a tough run.
The last time that these two teams were on the ice the Stars dominated the Wild 8-3 on November 12. Dallas had multiple players contribute to the huge performance on the ice. Forward Jason Robertson accounted for two goals and an assist, defender Miro Heiskanen accounted for three assists, and center Wyatt Johnston accounted for two goals and an assist.
Dallas’ defense was among the top teams in the league this season, but within the past few weeks, their performance has slipped. The Stars have lost three consecutive games as defense has been the biggest reason, allowing at least four goals during the stretch. Offensively, the Stars have been stout as they have been averaging 3.58 goals per game, fourth in the league.
The Wild haven’t been able to find some form of efficiency on the other side of the ice. Minnesota is averaging 2.97 goals per game (23rd in the league) and allowing an average of 3.18 goals per game (20th in the league). The 4-3 overtime road win over the Columbus Blue Jackets this past Saturday erased a four-game losing streak where they only scored six goals during the process.
The Stars’ defense should find their rhythm back against this Wild inconsistent offense and play to the standards of a Stanley Cup Finals contending team again.
Time: 9:00 PM E.T. - Monday
The final game of the night might be the biggest one as two of the best teams in the league, not only this season but in the past few seasons will meet on the ice. The Boston Bruins (24-8-6) will go on the road to face the Colorado Avalanche (25-12-3) in a potential Stanley Cup Finals preview. This game tonight will be the first time that these two elite teams will meet this season.
This is a game that can go one way or the other, which makes it the riskiest game to bet for the night. The Avalanche are averaging 3.68 goals per game, which is second in the league, but their defense needs to perform up to the same measures by allowing an average of 3.15 goals per game (16th in the league).
The Bruins, on the other hand, possess one of the most efficient defenses in the league by allowing an average of only 2.66 goals per game (fifth in the league). Their offense, while up to the same level of productivity as the Avalanche, is averaging 3.37 goals per game (fifth in the league).
The Avalanche suffered an 8-4 home loss to the Florida Panthers, a team with an elite defense, this past Saturday. That loss erased a four-game winning streak where their offense and defense fluctuated in terms of consistency.
The Bruins' defense hasn't been great in the last six games (where they have gone 5-1), but their offense has been explosive. Boston has averaged five goals in the last six games while scoring at least four. The Bruins are coming off a 7-3 win at home over the Tampa Bay Lightning this past Saturday.
While the Avalanche are good enough to shift their production from game to game, the Bruins have developed a highly efficient offensive rhythm in the last handful of games. Boston should be a great underdog selection in this matchup of potential champions.
For more betting opportunities check out our best NHL betting bonuses and promo codes.
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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