THE BOX SEATS by Alex Smith (Edition #2, October 17th-23rd, 2023)
Hello, and welcome to “The Box Seats”, a column designed to keep Pro Hockey fans informed, educated, and entertained with the news and notes from around the National Hockey League, including look-ins at the NHL standings among the NHL table, and maybe even an NHL prediction or two. Here, we will highlight the top players to keep an eye on, team trends to bet on during the week, games to watch on National Television in the United States and Canada, and other fun things like the Jersey of the Week and NHL Trivia. So kick back and read along every week during the National Hockey League season for the best of NHL weekly highlights.
The second week of the National Hockey League season is up and running. The Vegas Golden Knights start off with a perfect three straight victories, picking up right where they left off from last year as defending Stanley Cup champs. Superstar Auston Matthews also got off to a blistering hot start, with back-to-back Hat Tricks to open up the Toronto Maple Leafs season.
The Vancouver Canucks came away with a pair of victories over Pacific Division rivals, the Edmonton Oilers, with the first game an 8-1 blowout by Vancouver in their home opener. Rookie centerman Connor Bedard starts his NHL career with a point in each of his first three contests, including his first career goal last Wednesday against the Boston Bruins. Let’s open up by taking a look at some players to keep an eye on in this opening week of the season:
PLAYERS TO WATCH THIS WEEK
The 26-year-old superstar, who is just two seasons removed from scoring 60 goals, is looking to eclipse that mark with the white-hot start he’s off to, scoring Hat Tricks in back-to-back games to open the year, leading to victories over the Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota Wild for his club, the Toronto Maple Leafs. among last week’s NHL weekly highlights. Let’s take a look at the American-born forward’s Odds to win the Hart Trophy for Most Valuable Player and Rocket Richard Trophy for Most Goals scored in the National Hockey League in a given season:
|Odds to win Hart Trophy||Odds to win Rocket Richard Trophy|
|Auston Matthews (+800)||Auston Matthews (+180)|
The Colorado Avalanche are looking to return to glory in the West, and the entire National Hockey League after their first-round playoff exit last Spring, and one of the key players that will look to help bring them back to the top is Mikko Rantanen, who already leads the team with two goals and two assists in two games played, both victories for the Avs.
The 27-year-old Finnish native is coming off a career-best 55 goals last year, and many sharp bettors picked him before the season to win the Rocket Richard at +1800 odds. The Avalanche will be on ESPN twice this week, on Tuesday, hosting the Seattle Kraken and again on Thursday against Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Other Trends To Watch For
- The Vegas Golden Knights are dominating with defense once again, with each of their first three contests going Under the total
- Dating back to the last postseason, the Florida Panthers have gone Under the total in 11 of their previous 16 games.
- Vancouver takes on Philadelphia on Tuesday, the Under has cashed in seven of their last ten head-to-head meetings.
NATIONAL TELEVISION SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK:
Tampa Bay vs Buffalo – 7:30p ET on ESPN/ESPN+
The Lightning face-off with blooming Atlantic Division foe Buffalo on Tuesday. This has been a very one-sided series going back nearly a decade, with the Bolts winning 24 of the last 31 meetings against the Sabres.
Seattle vs Colorado – 10:00p ET on ESPN/ESPN+
A rematch of last year’s first-round playoff series, in which the Kraken upset the Avalanche in six games to win their first postseason series in franchise history. This game can be one of the best early-season games among the NHL weekly highlights.
Pittsburgh vs Detroit – 7:30p ET on TNT
Sidney Crosby and the Penguins invade the Motor City on Wednesday to do battle with Alex DeBrincat and the Red Wings. The Over in the First Period has cashed in 11 of their last 14 head-to-head meetings.
Chicago vs Colorado – 10:30p ET on ESPN/ESPN+
Two Central Division rivals clash in the Mile High City as Connor Bedard and the Hawks take on Mikko Rantanen’s Avalanche. Colorado has won 15 of their last 21 matchups with the Blackhawks dating back to 2016.
New Jersey vs NY Islanders – 7:30p ET on NHL Network
Toronto vs Tampa Bay – 7:00p ET on NHL Network/CBC
The Hockey Night in Canada matchup on Saturday pits the Bolts and Maple Leafs in a battle of last season’s playoff series, which saw Toronto end their 19-year drought of first-round exits.
Boston vs Anaheim – 8:30p ET on NHL Network
The Bruins head out west to Orange County to wrap up the week against the Ducks. Boston star David Pastrnak scored a Hat Trick in his last time playing in Anaheim, a 7-1 B’s victory back on January 8th of this calendar year, a huge performance of that week’s NHL weekly highlights.
Frozen Fashion: The Hockey Jersey of The Week
Each Week, we will select one NHL team jersey to highlight the design and the history of that specific sweater. This week, we look at an iconic logo redefined in a new anniversary look.
The Anaheim Ducks started playing in the National Hockey League during the 1993-1994 season. As a concept from the Disney motion picture, “The Mighty Ducks”, the children’s conglomerate owned the club until 2005. The famous “Wild Wing” logo, which is of a duckbill-shaped goalie mask, adorns the crest with “Anaheim Ducks” written inside a dark teal circle around the logo.
The original team colors of Eggplant and Jade are all over this, along with some silver striping. Included on the right arm are the words “Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Est. 1993” to signify the official first team name of the franchise, and on the left, the modern “Anaheim Ducks, Est. 2006” when the new rebrand took place under new ownership. The team wore this jersey for the home opener against Carolina on Sunday and will wear it 14 more times during the regular season.
National Hockey League Trivia Question
Last Week: Which NHL Arena had the longest consecutive attendance sellout in league history?
Answer: PPG Paints Arena, home of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The streak started on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2007, and ended on October 16th, 2021.
How Many Division Titles have the Boston Bruins won in their 100 National Hockey League seasons?
Hint: They’ve won at least one in each of the last six decades.
Come Back Next Week to find out The Answer!