This Saturday, the NHL returns with postseason action but with one big difference. This season the Stanley Cup playoffs will adopt a 24-team tournament with 12 teams from each conference playing in fan-less arenas in Toronto (for the East) and Edmonton, Alberta (for the West). The top four teams in each conference are in the Round of 16, and the Nos. 5 through 12 seeds will square off to see who will take the next step toward immortality.
NHL Restart Opening Weekend Betting Analysis
Saturday, August 1
New York Rangers vs Carolina Hurricanes
The National Hockey League kicks off their 2020 NHL Playoffs with Rangers versus Hurricanes. NYR was one of the worst squads in 2019. Not in 2020. The Rangers have a chance to win the Stanley Cup.
Chicago Blackhawks vs Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton is one of the bubble host cities. Can the Oilers get back on track? Before the shutdown they had gone 5-3-2 in their last 10. The Blackhawks went 6-4 in their last 10 before the shutdown. They could surprise in the bubble. Pay attention to this and see if Chicago has a shot.
Florida Panthers vs New York Islanders
The Islanders should benefit more than most from the extended layoff. NYI had struggled before things got crazy. In fact, they were in danger of not making the playoffs at all. Also, it’s not a long drive from New York to Toronto. Much less than Florida to Toronto.
Montreal Canadiens vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Pens believe they can win the Stanley Cup. The Canadiens are happy to be here. Pittsburgh shouldn’t have much trouble with Montreal. The Canadiens rank 19th in goals per and goals against per.
Winnipeg Jets vs Calgary Flames
If Calgary picks up where they left off before the NHL hiatus, they should win this match. The Flames were 6-3-1 in their 10 games before the shutdown.
Sunday, August 2
Arizona Coyotes vs Nashville Predators
Arizona’s got a shot in their first game back. The Coyotes rank 3rd in goals against per at 2.6. Nashville gives up 3.1 goals each match. Coyotes-Preds sure looks like a toss-up!
Philadelphia Flyers vs Boston Bruins
The Bruins have become one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. There’s a reason why. Boston averages 3.2 goals per. The Bruins allow 2.4 goals per. Beantown feels they should have won the Cup last season. Expect them to show up big time in their first game after the layoff.
St. Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche
On Sunday, arguably, the two best teams in the Western Conference hit the ice. The defending champion St. Louis Blues are ready. But Colorado is hungry. This match could set the tone for what happens in the Western Conference.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Toronto Maple Leafs
A preseason favorite to win Lord Stanley’s hardware, the Toronto Maple Leafs had yet to get their defense together before the shutdown. The Leafs allow 3.2 goals per. But, their offense is dynamite. Toronto scores 3.4 goals each match. Their offense should lead them by Columbus on Sunday.
Minnesota Wild vs Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver is a good hockey team. Before the shutdown, the Canucks went 8-2 in their last 10. That makes them a team to watch in the NHL Canada Bubble. If they beat the Wild in their first game back, watch out.