- Sportsbooks have released game lines for opening night of the NHL season on Jan. 13
- Opening night features four long-standing rivalries and a Central Division matchup
Can you feel it, hockey fans? As my daughter would say, just nine more sleeps until opening night of the 2020-21 NHL season!
The season is going to come fast and furious, but I’ll be here with you all season long dishing out game picks, DFS content and news from around the league!
With that in mind, BetOnline has released odds for opening night of the NHL season, taking place on Jan. 13 in five different NHL venues.
Let’s check out each game, the odds and brief summary of the matchup!
Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
- Canadiens (+120)
- Maple Leafs (-140)
- Canadiens +1.5 (-240)
- Maple Leafs -1.5 (+200)
- Over 6.5 (-120)
- Under 6.5 (+100)
The Canadiens made several moves this offseason, adding grit and scoring to their forward mix in Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli while adding Joel Edmundson and graduating top prospect Alexander Romanov to their blueline. Not to be overlooked, they traded for backup Jake Allen to not only give Carey Price a breather, but to deliver results in a season where a quality goaltending duo has never been more important.
The Leafs were also busy this offseason, adding a combination of grit, depth and experience while addressing the right side of their blueline. T.J Brodie is the headliner on that back end, but Zach Bogosian adds grit on the right side of the blueline, as does Wayne Simmonds to the fourth line. Joe Thornton — who will start alongside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner — is a leadership addition and perhaps an underrated play-maker despite entering the season at 41.
? Auston Matthews lives for season openers ?
Make that 9 goals in 4 season openers ? #NHLFaceoff pic.twitter.com/hdu9aDH5pf
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 3, 2019
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
- Penguins (-105)
- Flyers (-115)
- Penguins +1.5 (-275)
- Flyers -1.5 (+230)
- Over 6.5 (+115)
- Under 6.5 (-135)
The Pens were yet another busy offseason club, adding the likes of Kasperi Kapanen, Michael Matheson and Mark Jankowski to the mix while shipping out slow-footed veterans in Patric Hornqvist and Jack Johnson. The hope is a faster team that will lean on its appealing top six to deliver while boasting a fine-looking back end. Gone is Matt Murray, meaning the No. 1 job is now Tristan Jarry’s. Above all else, this Penguins team needs to stay healthy for optimal results.
The Flyers’ roster is largely untouched, but Matt Niskanen retired and the right side of the blueline took a notable blow as a result. Erik Gustafsson could help fill the void, but a young Flyers defense with the likes of Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers, Robert Hagg and No. 1 defenseman Ivan Provorov will be under more pressure to protect young netminder Carter Hart and support an offense largely identical to last season’s group.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
- Blackhawks (+175)
- Lightning (-205)
- Blackhawks +1.5 (-160)
- Lighting -1.5 (+140)
- Over 6.5 (+105)
- Under 6.5 (-125)
For both teams, the storyline for this one is who is not playing.
The Blackhawks are already decimated with the losses of Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach and Alexander Nylander, the latter two long-term while Toews’ status is unclear at this point due to illness. Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, their blueline will be weak, but their goaltender tandem of Malcolm Subban and Colin Delia could be the worst in the NHL. It’s a shortened season, but could turn into a long one quick for the ‘Hawks.
For Tampa, Nikita Kucherov is out for the entirety of the regular season. Fortunately for them, the remainder of their roster largely remains intact after winning the 2020 Stanley Cup. Steven Stamkos should be healthy to return, Victor Hedman remains a beast on the back end and Andrei Vasilevskiy is once again the Vezina Trophy favorite (+600). There’s depth galore with these Lightning, and I’m already all over their puckline odds at +140, so lock that one in ASAP.
Vasilevskiy save on Barzal #GoBolts pic.twitter.com/Uvr3zn9iHv
— Here’s Your Replay ⬇️ (@TheReplayGuy) September 16, 2020
St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche
- Blues (+125)
- Avalanche (-145)
- Blues +1.5 (-240)
- Avalanche -1.5 (+200)
- Over 6.5 (+125)
- Under 6.5 (-145)
The Blues made a late-offseason splash in brining Mike Hoffman to camp, and we can expect an official contract announcement closer to the 13th. Vladimir Tarasenko will return sometime mid-season, but the Blues seem intent on keeping their third-ranked power play from last season going again this year. Despite losing captain Alex Pietrangelo, they added former Bruins power play anchor Torey Krug, who is tied for the NHL lead with 107 power play points among defenseman over the last four seasons (107) and a player in Hoffman who ranks fourth with 49 power play goals in that span.
The Avs, currently the Stanley Cup favorite at +650, added power forward Brandon Saad at the expense of physical blueliner Nikita Zadorov in the offseason, but largely bring back the same roster from a season ago. Despite long-term injuries to key pieces such as Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Nazem Kadri and Cale Makar, the Avs finished just two points shy of the top-seeded Blues in the west last season while the tables could turn quickly on opening night, only this time in the newly-formed West Division.
Vancouver Canucks vs. Edmonton Oilers
- Canucks (+105)
- Oilers (-125)
- Canucks +1.5 (-280)
- Oilers -1.5 (+235)
- Over 5.5 (-125)
- Under 5.5 (+105)
It’s too bad it’s not Canucks and Flames on opening night after Calgary signed Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev and Josh Leivo this offseason. The loss of Markstrom — their MVP from last season — cannot be understated and the hope is Thatcher Demko can step up and seize the No. 1 job with Braden Holtby behind him. They should score, and adding Travis Hamonic on a PTO helps the defense, but this Canucks back end did not get better after tying for 20th in team defense last season.
The Oilers added depth up front with the likes of Kyle Turris and Dominik Kahun and they’ll get 2016 No. 4 overall pick Jesse Puljujarvi back after a one-year hiatus in his native Finland. However, the loss of Oscar Klefbom for the entirety of the season is a monster blow. He ranked fifth with 25:25 in average ice time last season and led the NHL with 180 blocked shots while on pace for a career-high in points before the season was cut short. Other than Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, Klefbom is the last player this team could lose long-term.
So uh, that McDavid and Draisaitl combination is pretty lethal eh?https://t.co/nr30p4D1mc pic.twitter.com/8M3kPzPfLd
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) October 25, 2019