- Defending Western Conference and Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues have joint-best odds alongside Vegas Golden Knights
- Both Colorado Avalanche and Vegas have fallen back to the pack after being clear favorites at one point in Western Conference
- Leading the Pacific Division, Edmonton Oilers have seen odds shorten considerably since start of season
While neither the Vegas Golden Knights nor the Colorado Avalanche reached the Western Conference final a year ago, both were favored to win the conference entering the current season.
And the early returns seemed to back those odds up, as both jumped out to solid starts entering this season, bolstering their positions in the NHL Western Conference odds. But recent form has not been so kind, with Vegas going 3-4-3 in its last 10 games, while the Avalanche are only marginally better at 4-5-1.
As a result, both have slipped down the standings, and while both are still in playoff positions, their chances of running away with the Western Conference are shrouded in doubt.
Odds to Win 2019-20 NHL Western Conference
|St. Louis Blues||+650|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+650|
|San Jose Sharks||+1200|
|Los Angeles Kings||+8000|
Odds taken Nov. 13
Champs Ramp It Up
After a slow start to the season, the St. Louis Blues are the hottest team in the entire NHL outside of Washington, with an 8-1-1 record over their last 10 games.
Best Records – Oct 12 to Nov 12
New York Islanders 11-0-1
Washington Capitals 11-1-2
Boston Bruins 8-2-4
Florida Panthers 8-2-4
St. Louis Blues 9-3-3 pic.twitter.com/15QH9vObe7
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) November 13, 2019
And while they may only have 32 goals over that period – good for ninth in the league in that 10-game spell – the defending Stanley Cup champions have really turned up the heat on defense. As a result, they’ve conceded just 23 goals in that time, good for third in the NHL.
That stretch also saw the Blues put the sword to a number of Western Conference rivals, including wins over the Oilers, the Calgary Flames, the Vancouver Canucks, while losing to the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday in overtime.
The defending Stanley Cup champs are on a 7-game winning streak.
Goaltender Jordan Binnington is 7-1-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage in his past eight games.
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) November 12, 2019
Suffice to say, with a Western-high 28 points, if the playoffs began today, St. Louis would appear to be in pole position to win the conference once again.
No Safe Money on Vegas
Over in Sin City, self-doubt has started to creep into a season that once seemed so poised for greatness. With Western Conference odds now at +650 – joint top with the Blues – the Golden Knights have floundered somewhat against rival teams of late.
The last 10-game stretch includes losses to the likes of the Winnipeg Jets and a 6-1 waxing at home to the Avalanche, which hardly seems the stuff of champions-elect.
? Pacioretty: We have to find a way to be resilient. Hopefully these last few games have can give us the experience we need to overcome adversity and be better from it. pic.twitter.com/A9fSf1VunL
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) November 12, 2019
Statistically the goals for and against back up the team’s current slump. Only the Los Angeles Kings have scored less than the Knights’ 23 goals, and on the defensive end, the team has conceded 35 goals, putting it joint third last in the NHL in that category over that 10-game spell.
Rocky Mountain Sigh
The Avalanche have suffered their fair share of injuries in the early going – and it shows. After being one of the most potent attacks in the early going, injuries to captain Gabriel Landeskog and star forward Mikko Rantanen, have hampered Colorado’s free-wheeling style somewhat.
As a result, the last 10 games have seen the team’s offense land squarely in the middle of the pack. Its 31 goals in that spell has it 15th overall in the NHL, despite it generating 286 scoring chances over that time, good for eighth overall in the league.
40 shots. 40 saves.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) November 13, 2019
Thankfully it is getting some better displays on the defensive end, including standout games from early Calder Trophy favorite Cale Makar and goaltending performances from the likes of rookie Adam Werner, who made 40 saves in his NHL debut on Tuesday night to shut out the Jets for the first time this season.
Best of the Rest
While the likes of the Arizona Coyotes might be a surprise to some, with the young desert dogs going 6-3-1 in their last 10 and now featuring odds of just +800 to win the West, the best of the rest may well be the Edmonton Oilers.
Led by arguably the best forward tandem in the NHL in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who have 31 and 36 points respectively this season, the Oilers are just two points back of the Blues in the West.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 13, 2019
The team also seems poised to take the next step after a disappointing season last year, when it missed the playoffs for the second straight year after being two goals away from the Western Conference final in 2017. With a new general manager and head coach, the team seems to be rolling of late.
Over the last 10 games, the Oilers are tied for the NHL lead in scoring chances at 306 and leads the league in high-danger scoring chances at 137. They’ve also managed to restrict scoring chances at the other end of the tune of 10th overall in high-danger and 13th overall in overall scoring chances, so their aim is clearly to outscore the opposition.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 11, 2019
With the likes of McDavid and Draisaitl, to say nothing of players such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and James Neal, who has the second-most power-play goals in the NHL, the Oilers seemed well poised to do that deep into the playoffs.
Pick: While the Blues (+650) still seem the favorites, the Oilers represent good value at +800
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