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NHL Highs and Lows: Devils Dressed to Nines on Road

Kraken Hottest Team in Western Conference

The Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils continue to roll along while defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado has played its way back into the list of the hottest teams in the NHL. The biggest surprise has to be a Seattle Kraken team that is in its second season of existence.

On the other side, the teams that were the most active sellers in the last year happen to be among the worst squads in the NHL, as the rebuilding process for teams like Anaheim, Columbus and Chicago is taking some time.

Devils vs Blue Jackets: Game Preview, Live Stream, Odds, Picks & Predictions
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When looking at the sportsbook, Colorado (+500) and Boston (+600) lead the way in the odds to win the Stanley Cup.

Here’s a look at the top five and bottom five teams in the NHL as of now.

Let’s check the latest NHL picks, stats, injury reports, and NHL predictions. We’ve plenty of NHL expert picks for you to consider.

Top Five

1. Bruins

Nobody expected the Boston Bruins to win every game and they were cooled off by the Florida Panthers, who scored three times on the power play in a 5-2 win. It was nearly back-to-back losses for Boston before the Bruins rallied from two goals down to top Carolina 3-2 in overtime to set the NHL record by opening the season with 12 straight home wins.

Goalie Linus Ullmark was injured in the game but Jeremy Swayman, who just recently returned to action, picked up the win in relief. Boston has had trouble keeping both of its goalies healthy. That is about the only criticism so far for a team that not only leads the NHL with an 18-3 record but also leads the way with a 16-5 mark against the NHL betting line.

It wasn’t too long ago when the Bruins lacked scoring punch outside of the top two lines. However, Nick Foligno is already approaching his point total from a season ago in 43 fewer games and Charlie Coyle is thriving as the third-line center.

The Bruins already have 11 forwards with at least three goals. David Pastrnak leads with 14.

  • Championship odds: +600

2. Devils

Winning on the road used to be a struggle for the Devils. Not anymore. New Jersey has won nine consecutive road games and tries to make it a perfect 10-for-10 against the New York Rangers on Monday night. New Jersey won 11 road games last season.

The latest player to make an impact is 22-year-old goalie Akira Schmid. With an injury to Mackenzie Blackwood, Schmid got his chance at the NHL level. He has stopped 58 of 60 shots over the last two games, and in four appearances, he is 4-0 with a 1.24 goals-against average.

Vitek Vanecek is 10-2 with a 2.05 goals-against average so it is obvious that the Devils are taking care of business on their own end. Vanecek is expected to be in goal when the Devils play at Madison Square Garden against the rival Rangers.

There are nine players in the NHL with defensive ratings of +15 or better and five of them play for the Devils, led by Jonas Siegenthaler’s NHL-leading +23.

New Jersey is 6-0 when listed by the Las Vegas odds as an underdog.

  • Championship odds: +1400

3. Kraken

A Seattle Kraken goalie's helmet adorns the venue during the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft
Alika Jenner/Getty Images/AFP

When Seattle opted not to make deals with the players available in the 2021 expansion draft. Similar to what the Golden Knights did, it figured that it would take the NHL’s newest team a little longer to become competitive.

With a 9-1-1 record over the last 11 games, it might be time to start taking this Seattle team seriously.

Seattle has the second-most points in the Western Conference, with a 7-1-1 road record playing a huge role in the success of the surprising Kraken.

Matty Beniers, the first draft pick in team history, has two goals and seven assists in his last four games while leading scorer Andre Burakovsky has brought scoring punch (seven goals, 14 assists) and a winning pedigree after winning Stanley Cups with two different franchises.

Five of Seattle’s last seven games have been decided by one goal and that included three consecutive overtime affairs. A recent 4-2 win over Vegas puts Seattle ahead of the Western Conference-leading Golden Knights in our rankings.

  • Championship odds: +6000

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4. Golden Knights

Even with back-to-back losses to Seattle and Vancouver, the Golden Knights have the most wins and points in the Western Conference.

Rookie goalie Logan Thompson has been unable to maintain his sizzling start. He has a 3.00 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage in November after putting up a 1.69 GAA and a .943 save percentage in October.

Leading scorer Jack Eichel was held without a point in each of the last two games and the same is true for Alex Pietrangelo, one of the highest-scoring defensemen in the NHL.

Vegas is 8-1-1 on the road this season but is just 7-5 at home.

  • Championship odds: +1000

5. Avalanche

It was just a matter of time before the defending Stanley Cup champions returned to the Who’s Hot list.

Colorado had some struggles earlier in the season as it tried to replace some players who couldn’t be retained due to salary-cap constraints. Injuries also slowed Colorado’s surge.

Colorado is 8-2 in the last 10 games to move into third place in the Central Division standings. Both losses have come by one goal so the recent run of success could be even more impressive with a bounce going the other way.

It is not all good news as forward Evan Rodrigues is expected to miss two to four weeks with a lower-body injury.

  • Championship odds: +500

Bottom Five

28. Blue Jackets

Columbus is showing more fights as the season moves on. However, the Blue Jackets still have the fewest points (15) in the Eastern Conference and the worst goal differential (-26) as well.

Only six players have appeared in all 20 games as injuries and ineffective play have resulted in constantly changing lineups. The biggest losses were winger Patrik Laine landing on injured reserve with an ankle injury and defenseman Zach Werenski expected to miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

Columbus has seen 14 games go over the total and only Vancouver has more. That is more of an indication of the defensive woes with this Columbus team.

  • Championship odds: +20000

29. Ducks

The last win for Anaheim came against the New York Rangers, so apparently, the Ducks can do more than pick up points against San Jose.

Anaheim has allowed at least five goals a total of seven times in November and now goalie John Gibson left the last game due to injury.

Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras give the Ducks two exciting forwards to build around, but Anaheim has allowed 36 more goals than it has scored this season and that is the worst mark in the league.

Something to consider for those who bet online: Anaheim is 5-15-1 as an underdog.

  • Championship odds: +25000

30. Sabres

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Buffalo provided a brief glimpse into what the future might look like with 13 goals scored in wins against Montreal and St. Louis. However, brief is the keyword as the Sabres lost eight times in a 10-game stretch with a -19 goal differential in those contests

The fact that Buffalo is three games under .500 but has scored three more goals than the opposition is an indication of how inconsistent this team is.

Buffalo does have the same record (9-12) straight up and against the spread.

  • Championship odds: +12500

31. Blackhawks

Chicago has been outscored 34-14 during a seven-game losing streak. The Blackhawks have allowed at least five goals five times in the last six games. All five of those contests finished over the total.

Somehow, defenseman Jake McCabe has a +4 rating this season while the other defensemen on the team are -37.

Patrick Kane continues to lead Chicago in scoring. However, he has one goal in his last 14 games.

Much of the blame needs to go to the front office as four of the six Chicago players who had more than 10 goals a season ago now play elsewhere. Four forwards who are now with other teams have more points this season than any Chicago player.

  • Championship odds: +25000

32. Flyers

No team has allowed more goals during the month of November than the Flyers. While not all the struggles can be traced to the injuries, the number of games missed by Philadelphia’s star players is pretty staggering.

It could be argued that a team of injured players could give a squad of available Flyers a run for their money.

The Flyers have lost 10 games in a row, with three of those losses coming in overtime or in a shootout. Philadelphia has been outscored 9-3 in its last two games and that coincides with an injury sidelining star winger Travis Konecny. Nobody is struggling more than defenseman Tony DeAngelo, who has a -15 defensive rating in his last 14 games.

James van Riemsdyk, Sean Couturier, and Cam Atkinson have combined to play a total of just six games and that is leaving huge holes to fill in the scoring department.

  • Championship odds: +20000

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