The NHL preseason is completely over and is getting ready to drop the puck on the 2021-2022 season with 32 teams for the first time in league history. The 2019-2020 season was canceled after the coronavirus broke out in North America, making border crossings impossible. They were able to award the Stanley Cup in the Edmonton bubble, one of the most interesting hockey experiences of the last decade. They then had the oddest season on record for 2020-2021 that started in January of 2021. Only teams in division could play each other until the playoffs, where we saw Vegas go to Montreal for the first time in almost two years.
The NHL is fully ready to go, with a complete 82 game season scheduled. NHL teams are able to travel over the border thanks to vaccines and quarantines. The best part is that most NHL teams will have full arenas, with a few exceptions in Canada and California.
The NHL opens with two games on October 12th with the Seattle Kraken heading to Vegas for the first time to take on the 31st team in the NHL, a game any hockey fan is looking forward to seeing. The Penguins also travel to Tampa Bay and take on the two-time Stanley Cup Champions. Pittsburgh and Tampa have won a combined four Stanley Cups out of the last six Stanley Cups.
The games of the week are Seattle at Vegas on NHL Faceoff Tuesday, October 12th. Chicago at Colorado on Wednesday, October 15th. The final game of the week is the battle of Ontario when the Senators take a visit to Toronto on Saturday the 16th.
Seattle Kraken at Vegas Golden Knights- October 12th
In 1917, the Seattle Metropolitans defeated the Montreal Canadians in three games 23-11, to become the first team in the United States to win the Stanley Cup. The Seattle Americans left Seattle in 1958, and now 63 years later, Seattle is ready for hockey once again. Vegas is betting large on Robin Lehner being able to takeover duties Marc-Andre Fleury, and it is really Cup or bust for Knights Captain Mark Stone. The Golden Knights have an expensive core, and if they don’t make it to the Stanley Cup this year, it might be time for a competitive retool. The Golden Knights also scooped up Nolan Patrick from the Predators on a cheap deal, they are hoping he can live up to the second overall pick hype. The Kraken are brand new with coach Dave Hakstol, and lead on the ice by Mark Giordano. They do have a nice forward core with Jordan Eberle, Jaden Schwartz, and Alex Wennberg, back up on defense by Jamie Oleksiak and Haydn Fleury.
Puck Line: Seattle +1.5 (-130) Vegas -1.5 (+110)
Total O/U: Seattle O 5.5 (+115) Vegas U 5.5 (-135)
Moneyline: Seattle +185 and Vegas -230
Chicago Blackhawks at Colorado Avalanche - October 15th
Another post season, another second round exit for the Colorado Avalanche. It really seemed like Nathan MacKinnon and companies year when they won their division and the Presidents Trophy, but it was not meant to be as Vegas sent them home in six games. Vegas later lost to Montreal. Notable subtractions for Colorado were through free agency as Philipp Grubauer left for Seattle and Brandon Saad left for St. Louis, chasing the money and not another cup. The Avalanche also lost notable prospect Conor Timmins in a trade for Darcy Kuemper. Chicago on the other hand is ready to go, with a healthy mixture of new blood and a three Cup dynasty. Jonathan Toews is fully healthy, and Patrick Kane is glad to have him back. DeBrincat is ready to lead the next round of Blackhawks with Kirby Dach, Dylan Strome and Seth Jones. Back stopped by Marc-Andre Fleury, Chicago SHOULD bounce back from last season.
Puck Line: Chicago +1.5 (-111) Colorado -1.5 (108)
Total O/U: Chicago O 6 (-122) Colorado U 6 (+100)
Moneyline: Chicago +210 and Colorado -255
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Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs - October 16th
The unfortunate epitome of hockey disappointment lives in the heart of Canada up in Ontario. The Toronto Maple Leafs last won a playoff series in 2004 versus the Ottawa Senators. The Senators are a few years removed from an Eastern Conference game seven loss, but that team is almost entirely gone at this point. The Maple Leafs have had a decade to remember, tanking for talent and stealing the Islanders captain in free agency a few years back. The Leafs lost goalie Frederik Anderson to Carolina and must rely on Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek to fill the net. The Leafs did add some players upfront in Ondrej Kase, Michael Bunting. Former first-round pick, Rasmus Sandin, is sure to get some serious playing time. It is a team of young guns in Ottawa with Tkachuk, Batherson, Stutzle and Chabot. The team is looking to step forward out from the NHL basement this season but only time will tell.
There are no betting odds on this game just yet, as Toronto plays before this game.