First up today the Buffalo Sabres have a chance to pile it on to a team I've been really disappointed with so far, the Carolina Hurricanes. 'Canes fans came in to the season with cause for optimism because of their offseason additions, that's been cut back slightly after two performances that were lacking in all facets of the game. Meanwhile everything looks rosy for Buffalo, two wins from two and current scoring leader Thomas Vanek in their ranks. I think you have to go with the Sabres here, especially as they start down at 2.60.
Leading the West at this very early stage with 3 wins from 3 are the Chicago Blackhawks, who've travelled to Texas to faceoff against the Dallas Stars. Consensus before the season began was if the Blackhawks goaltending was solid they would contend, as their skater group rivals any in the league in terms of quality. So far so good from Corey Crawford, providing a backstop for their stacked offense to thrive, his opposite number tonight Kari Lehtonen is running hot right now too. Chicago are worthy favourites here at 2.20, but the Stars are a good team in their own right and taking them at 2.10 including overtime is good value.
Unbelievably, the only remaining team in the West without a point are the defending Champion LA Kings, summing up this season's inherent unpredictability. After crumbling in the third period against Colorado on Tuesday, they face a similarly youthful roster in Edmonton later on. More bad news for the Cup holders is defensive leader Matt Greene is out for the season, his physical presence will be a noticeable loss.
That lack of experience in the Oilers lineup showed when they dropped 6 goals in the first period against San Jose, however they managed to rally later in the game and reduce the deficit. One poor period won't be too much of a long term concern for coach Ralph Krueger, as there was bound to be teething problems with a team in development. Just as with Buffalo, I like their odds of 2.60 against currently out of sorts opposition.
Best Bet: Buffalo Sabres to win at 2.60.