Avalanche, Kings Making Some Noise
When the 2022-23 NHL season came to an end, the Vegas Golden Knights were skating around the ice with Lord Stanley’s Cup in the air. When looking at the NHL betting odds, the Golden Knights remain the class of the Western Conference.
The biggest surprises to date might be that Vancouver is sitting in second place in the Pacific Division and the Arizona Coyotes currently hold down the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
The two teams with the top points percentage on the road play in the Western Conference with Los Angeles and Dallas a combined 17-1-2 away from home.
When the season began, the Colorado Avalanche (+800) and Edmonton Oilers (+1000) had the best odds of winning the Western Conference according to the NHL betting lines. They were followed by the Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars. Three of those teams made the cut as the top four contenders in the Western Conference right now.
Edmonton, Minnesota and Seattle made the playoffs last season, but if the postseason began right now, they would not be among the eight playoff teams in the Western Conference.
Things could be changing in the Western Conference. The longest active winning streaks in the NHL are the four-game runs by Arizona and Edmonton.
Here’s a look at the four teams from the Western Conference playing like title contenders.
Vegas Golden Knights
- Record: 16-5-4
- Puckline Record: 13-12
- Odds To Win Stanley Cup: +900
After losing three games in a row, with two of them heading into overtime, Vegas has posted a pair of three-goal wins as the defending Stanley Cup champions have the most points in the Western Conference.
Vegas gave quite a bit to acquire center Jack Eichel a couple of years ago and it is looking like a smart move these days with Eichel coming off back-to-back three-point games. He leads Vegas with 27 points while William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault each have 11 goals.
What a pass from Jack Eichel to Mark Stone. 😮💨 pic.twitter.com/H8ZIWwePn0
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 3, 2023
Keep an eye on the availability of goalie Adin Hill, who is 26-9-3 in the regular season over the last two seasons.
- Record: 15-7-2
- Puckline Record: 13-11
- Odds To Win Stanley Cup: +800
There have been some bumps in the road but Colorado is still sitting atop the Central Division standings and is the team to beat according to the NHL odds.
Losing forward Artturi Lehkonen, who hasn’t played since Nov. 9, hurts. However, six forwards and three defensemen have played every game this season while 11 forwards have taken part in at least 22 of the 24 games.
Defenseman Cale Makar leads the Avalanche with 27 assists, 34 points and a defensive rating of +18 while Mikko Rantanen, Valeri Nichushkin and Nathan MacKinnon have combined for 30 goals.
Alexandar Georgiev has been a little inconsistent at times and that has played a role in the Avalanche’s mark versus the NHL spreads this season.
- Record: 14-5-3
- Puckline Record: 9-13
- Odds To Win Stanley Cup: +1000
The puckline record needs some improvement but it is hard to argue with just one regulation loss on the road.
The ageless Joe Pavelski leads Dallas with 11 goals with Wyatt Johnston scoring nine times.
Nine Dallas players have at least 14 points and seven of them have positive plus/minus ratings, led by winger Mason Marchment.
When he is on, Jake Oettinger is as good as any goalie in the league and he has been in the zone more often than not this season.
Los Angeles Kings
- Record: 14-4-3
- Puckline Record: 13-8
- Odds To Win Stanley Cup: +1400
Los Angeles is third in the Pacific Division standings. However, the Kings lead the Western Conference with a .738 points percentage.
Los Angeles will get busy considering that the Kings have played the fewest games among Western Conference teams.
The Kings are 9-0-0 on the road and that has the Kings in the conversation as title contenders.
Trevor Moore has never scored more than 17 goals in a season, but he already has 12 goals in 21 games. Former No. 2 overall pick Quinton Byfield is one of four Kings with at least 10 points and a plus/minus rating of +10 or better.
Offseason acquisition Cam Talbot, playing for his sixth franchise in the last six seasons, is 11-4-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average.
Questions Of The Day
Which Western Conference team has the best odds of winning the Stanley Cup?
The Colorado Avalanche are priced at +800 to win the Stanley Cup title.
Who is the leading scorer in the Western Conference?
Vancouver’s J.T. Miller has 36 points and teammate Brock Boeser leads the NHL with 17 goals.