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NHL: Who’s Hot & Who’s On Ice?

There’s plenty of hockey to play before we slide into the NHL playoffs. Here’s who’s worth your wager right now.

With the end of NHL regular season in sight, let’s take a look at who’s hot, who’s not, who’s in and who’s out of the playoff picture—at least for now.

  1. Hot, Hot, Hot. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets started the week on 8-1-1 tears. The Philadelphia Flyers were 7-2-1, and showed good form trouncing the Washington Capitals, one night after being blanked by the lowly New Jersey Devils. The Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins were running at 7-3 over their last 10.
  1. Elvis Is In the Building. The NHL’s best goalie since January 1 is probably Elvis Merzlikins of the Blue Jackets. He’s fueled the Columbus run, and propelled the under bets coming in on the team. Has he over-achieved? Can he keep it up? Columbus is in the playoffs as of now—not expected. Merzlikins had five shutouts in eight games, but just lost his first game in a month.
  2. Freezing Cold. The Detroit Red Wings at 2-7-1, the Arizona Coyotes at 2-5-3 and the Los Angeles Kings at 1-8-1 say, “Ouch.” But the Red Wings just did defeat the Boston Bruins at home, and show signs of playing a bit better.

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  1. Who’s In, Eastern Conference. The New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes occupied the final wild-card positions in the Eastern Conference starting this week. On their heels are the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers who are in the hunt, but as of now, belong in the Who’s Out column.
  2. Who’s In, Western Conference. The Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets occupy the final two spots. The Arizona Coyotes, Nashville Predators, Minnesota Wild and warming-up Chicago Blackhawks are right there, but in the Who’s Out slot. Some of these spots can flip-flop.

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Dave Bontempo, a multiple award-winning writer and broadcaster, has covered sports for the Associated Press, ESPN, HBO and Showtime and called boxing matches on every major network. Dave is a winner of the Sam Taub Award for broadcast excellence given by the Boxing Writers Association of America, and is a member of both the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the Atlantic City International Boxing Hall of Fame. He writes regularly for iGamingPlayer.com and Global Gaming Business magazine.

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