The NHL is back in action after the All-Star Break. We are approaching the final third of the regular season, and only a handful of teams are truly out of the playoff race. In the Eastern Conference, every team aside from Montreal and Columbus has at least 50 points, while there are just five teams in the Western Conference to cross off at this point. The Eastern Conference has been the much tougher conference so far as four teams already have 70 points, but the West boasts the defending champions in the Colorado Avalanche.
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NHL Parlay Picks for February 9, 2023
Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning
A lot of casual fans will be tuning in for a repeat of last season’s Stanley Cup Finals when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Colorado Avalanche. Neither team is performing that well in the regular season, as both sides are full of veterans that know to save themselves for the grind of postseason hockey.
Tampa Bay is 20-4-1 at home this season, and the Lightning haven’t lost a home game in over two months. They have won 12 straight games in Tampa Bay, scoring at least three goals in all but one of those games.
Nikita Kucherov is finally healthy for the first time in three years, and he is proving once again why he is one of the best players in the NHL. Kucherov leads the league with 53 assists through 49 games, and he leads the Eastern Conference with 73 points. That makes this top line and power play incredibly potent, as Steven Stamkos has managed to stay healthy too. Stamkos is second on the team with 57 points, while Brayden Point is right behind him with 55 points.
What makes the Lightning truly special in important games is goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. There is no one you’d rather want between the pipes come playoff time as he is 63-38 with a .923 save percentage and a 2.30 GAA in the postseason. Vasilevskiy has led the Lightning to three straight Eastern Conference titles, and they won two Stanley Cups with him in net too.
Colorado won seven of its last eight games prior to the All-Star Break, and some are saying that the Avalanche have turned the corner. However, most of those victories came against teams that are currently outside the playoff picture.
Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen are all having decent seasons, but the team really misses Gabriel Landeskog. Additionally, although it made sense not to re-sign Darcy Kuemper in the offseason, the Avalanche have been unable to find quality goaltending.
Pavel Francouz has been mediocre, and Alexandar Georgiev hasn’t been much better. That doesn’t bode well for Colorado in a tough road spot, so Tampa Bay is the team to ride on Thursday night.
Vancouver Canucks at New York Islanders
The first big trade before the deadline saw the Vancouver Canucks send Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders for Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty, and a conditional first-round pick in this summer’s NHL Draft. Now, Horvat will suit up against his former team when the Vancouver Canucks come to Long Island on Thursday night.
Vancouver showed that it is giving up on the season with the trade. The Canucks have just 44 points after 50 games, and they are 14 points outside of playoff contention. Bo Horvat led the team with 31 goals, but now the Canucks will have to rely even more on J.T Miller, Elias Pettersson, and Andrei Kuzmenko.
Meanwhile, the Isles finally have the goal scoring threat they have long needed to pair with a team that excels at two-way team defense. No one on the tea has more than 20 goals or 50 points, so Horvat should have an instant impact, especially on the power play. Horvat will want to knock off his former team in a bad way, so the Isles are the other play here.
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