NHL continues to work through its labor issues but we are forging ahead with
our divisional previews for the upcoming season. Here's a brief look
at all five teams in the Eastern Conference’s Northeast Division along with
their currents odds to win the Stanley Cup as provided by Bovada.
Boston Bruins 15/2
followed up its run to a Stanley Cup title in 2011 with a first-place finish in
the division last season, but it made a first-round exit from the playoffs in a
seven-game loss to Washington. The Bruins earned the No.2 seed as a result of
winning the Northeast, but were actually tied for the fourth-most points in the
East with 102. Boston had little problem putting the puck in the net with a
goals-per-game average of 3.17 and goalie Tim Thomas helped the team to the
sixth-best goals-against-average in the NHL at 2.43, so all the pieces remain basically
intact for another run to the top of the division this season.
Buffalo Sabres 10/1
failed to qualify for the postseason last year after falling short of the
eighth seed by three points. It ended up third in the division with 89 points
and had an overall record of 39-32-11. A few offseason moves that saw the
signing of defenseman John Scott and a trade with Dallas for forward Steve Ott
and another defenseman Adam Pardy has the Sabres optimistic that they have
filled in some of the holes that will help them compete for a division title in
2012/2013. The real key could be a return to form for goalie Ryan Miller, who
has shown the ability to be one of the top netminders in the league.
Montreal Canadiens 18/1
coming off a dismal performance last season in which it ended up not only last
in the Northeast, but last in the conference with just 78 points. The Canadiens
finished the year with an overall record of 31-35-16 that included a 15-20-6
record on the road. Starting from scratch this offseason, Montreal made sure it
retained its top young players with new contracts and decided to bring back
veteran defenseman Francis Bouillon, who spent the last three seasons in
Nashville. It also added forwards Brandon Prust as a free agent from the
Rangers and Colby Armstrong, who spent last season in Toronto.
Toronto Maple Leafs 20/1
just slightly better than Montreal last season with 80 points, and an overall record of 35-37-10.
Unfortunately, the prospect of any kind of dramatic turnaround this season
does not look to good. The Maple Leafs averaged 2.77 goals-per-game last season
but ranked near the bottom of the NHL in goals allowed with a GAA of 3.16.
James Reimer will most likely be Toronto’s primary goaltender this season after Jonas Gustavsson
decided to sign with Detroit as an unrestricted free agent. Reimer posted a GAA
of 3.10 in 34 starts last year.
Ottawa Senators 20/1
Ottawa qualified for the playoffs as the eighth
and final seed in the East
with 92 points as a result of an overall record of
41-31-10. It pushed the No.1 seed Rangers to the distance in the first round
but lost in seven games. The current hockey odds suggest a downturn for the Senators
this season as a result of them overachieving last year, but the team remains
loaded with some young talent and should once again be in the thick of the
playoff race in the East. The key for Ottawa could be the play of goalie Craig
Anderson, who needs to improve a bit on the .914 save percentage and 2.84 GAA
he recorded last season.