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NHL Highs & Lows: Something Special Bruin in Boston

Carolina Continues to Pile Up Points

The Carolina Hurricanes continue to roll with points in 14 straight games to take over the lead in the Metropolitan Division while the Boston Bruins continue to lead the NHL in points.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are now at the bottom of the power rankings after a recent loss to Chicago.

NHL Highs & Lows: Something Special Bruin in Boston
Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins - Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP

The defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche has won four games in a row and, according to the sportsbook, the Avalanche (+600) and the Bruins (+600) have the best odds to win the Stanley Cup.

Here’s a look at the top and bottom-five current teams in the NHL.

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

There have been some bumps in the road recently, but the Bruins have usually found a way to add to their NHL-leading point total.

In the last two games, Boston showed that it knows how to win different games. The Bruins rallied from an early two-goal deficit to top Winnipeg and then had to hold on after visiting New Jersey and scored twice in the third period to pull within a goal.

Boston blocked nine shots in the final 6:13 after New Jersey pulled within a goal in the 4-3 win. The victory improved Boston’s record at home to 18-0-2.

Boston has the third-best points percentage in December with just one regulation loss in 11 games. David Pastrnak has just a little to do with that with 10 goals in his last 11 games.

  • Championship odds: +600

2. Hurricanes

Carolina remains the only team in the NHL yet to suffer a regulation loss in the month of December.

The Hurricanes are 10-0-1 in December and have won eight games in a row. Six of the last seven games have been decided by one goal. That includes a pair of overtime wins with Martin Necas and Jaccob Slavin getting the OT winners.

Goalie Pyotr Kochetkov has taken over as the No. 1 goalie as he is 7-0-1 with a .939 save percentage and a 1.63 goals-against average. Jordan Staal has three game-winning goals during the month and leads Carolina with six goals and 10 points in December.

  • Championship odds: +900

3. Penguins

Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins – Justin Berl/Getty Images/AFP

If not for the two games against Carolina, the Penguins would be perfect in the month of December.

As it is, Pittsburgh is 8-1-1 over the last 10 games. Five of the last seven games have been decided by one goal with one of the others headed that way before a late empty-net goal.

The biggest news was the return of star defenseman Kris Letang after he was sidelined due to a stroke. Pittsburgh is 4-1-1 since his return.

As for the forwards, the points came from the usual suspects with Evgeni Malkin (three goals, 10 assists), Sidney Crosby (seven goals, five assists), Jake Guentzel (four goals, eight assists) and Bryan Rust (four goals, seven assists) leading the way. Tristan Jarry is 7-0-1 with a 2.25 goals-against average during the month.

  • Championship odds: +2000

4. Avalanche

This figured to be the time when teams would make the defending Stanley Cup championship pay for missing so many key players. There were some tough results as the Avalanche tumbled a bit down the Western Conference standings. However, Colorado has won four games in a row and is 6-1-0 over the last seven.

There haven’t been the entertaining, high-scoring affairs that have been commonplace when Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog are leading the way. Without two of its best forwards, Colorado has relied on a more tight-checking approach with just 11 goals scored in regulation over the last four games.

Colorado has won back-to-back overtime games with Mikko Rantanen and Samuel Girard doing the honors.

Goalies Alexandar Georgiev and Pavel Francouz have combined to stop 180 of 191 shots over the last seven games.

  • Championship odds: +600

5. Capitals

In honor of Alexander Ovechkin moving by the legendary Gordie Howe and into second place on the NHL‘s career goal-scoring list, as well as the strong play in December, the Capitals break into the top five.

Washington is 9-1-0 over its last 10 games and currently holds down the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Ovechkin has nine goals and seven assists during that stretch with defenseman Erik Gustafsson having four goals and four assists to go with a +13 defensive rating.

Journeyman Charlie Lindgren has been pressed into service and he is 8-1 with a 1.89 goals-against average during that span.

  • Championship odds: +7000

Bottom Five

28. Senators

Ottawa has dropped its last three games and is in last place in the Atlantic Division despite being ahead of two division rivals in goal differential.

Forwards Alex DeBrincat (four goals, 11 assists in December) and Drake Batherson (six goals in his last seven games) are starting to heat up for Ottawa.

Ottawa had won three of its last four one-goal games before falling to Washington in overtime in the last game before a short Christmas break.

  • Championship odds: +15000

29. Flyers

Things have gotten away from the Flyers since a tremendous effort by goalie Carter Hart in holding New Jersey to a goal in a rare win.

The Flyers have allowed 19 goals over the last four games,

Philadelphia’s special teams have been anything but special over the last four games with the Flyers going 1-for-12 on the power play and allowing three goals on 10 opposing power plays.

Perhaps scoring three times in the third period to throw a scare into the red-hot Carolina Hurricanes the last time out will start Philadelphia headed in the right direction.

  • Championship odds: +50000

30. Ducks

Max Comtois #44 of the Anaheim Ducks – Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP

After back-to-back wins against Montreal and Edmonton, it is back to normal for Anaheim as the Ducks have lost three games in a row. Anaheim did pick up a point the last time out with a 3-2 overtime loss to Calgary despite being outshot 45-23.

The good news is that veteran goalie John Gibson is nearing a return. He hasn’t played since Dec. 13.

Mason McTavish has scored in each of the last two games and has six points over the last five games.

The Ducks are now just 14-21 against the NHL betting lines.

  • Championship odds: +100000

31. Blackhawks

Chicago snapped an eight-game losing streak with veterans Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each having a goal and two assists in a 5–2 win over Columbus. However, Chicago still has the fewest points in the NHL.

Chicago didn’t lead in the third period during the losing streak and was outscored 31-7 in those eight games.

  • Championship odds: +100000

32. Blue Jackets

Columbus has scored just nine times during a six-game losing streak, and the last time out fell to Chicago in a matchup of two of the worst teams in the NHL.

The Blue Jackets began December by splitting their first six games. It has been a different story recently.

Danii Tarasov is 0-5 with a 3.73 goals-against average during December. A bright spot has been the play of 2018 second-round pick Kirill Marchenko, who has three of the last nine goals scored by the Blue Jackets and is one of three Columbus players with a positive defensive rating during the losing streak.

  • Championship odds: +100000

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