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  1. #1
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    Default The Bum's NHL Best Bets-Trends-News Etc. !

    2016-17 Season Predictions
    October 10, 2016


    The 2016-17 NHL season begins this week and we asked our stable of handicappers to provide their fearless predictions on who will meet in the Stanley Cup next June, plus they provided their Best Bet Point Total opinions. Those betting odds could be found at the Westgate LVH SuperBook.

    Be sure to check out their daily pro hockey winners all season long on VegasInsider.com!

    VEGASINSIDER.COM NHL SEASON PREDICTIONS

    Handicapper Eastern Conference Western Conference Stanley Cup Best Bet - Point Total

    Bill Marzano Washington Capitals Chicago Blackhawks Washington Capitals Tampa Bay Lightning
    Under 105 ˝

    Bruce Marshall Washington Capitals Nashville Predators Washington Capitals St. Louis Blues
    Under 100 ˝

    Don Anthony Tampa Bay Lightning Chicago Blackhawks Tampa Bay Lightning Colorado Avalanche
    Over 87 ˝

    Gary Bart Tampa Bay Lightning Dallas Stars Tampa Bay Lightning Nashville Predators
    Under 97

    Joe Williams Montreal Canadiens Chicago Blackhawks Chicago Blackhawks Edmonton Oilers
    Over 88 ˝

    Kevin Rogers Washington Capitals Anaheim Ducks Anaheim Ducks Winnipeg Jets
    Under 85

    Scott Rickenbach Tampa Bay Lightning Chicago Blackhawks Tampa Bay Lightning Philadelphia Flyers
    Over 90 ˝

    Stephen Nover Washington Capitals Chicago Blackhawks Chicago Blackhawks Nashville Predators
    Over 97
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Point Totals - Best Bets
    October 11, 2016



    NHL Futures – Regular Season Points Best Bets

    The 2016-17 NHL season is set to begin on Wednesday and that means that it's time to take a look at some future options offered at Sportsbook.ag.

    While the biggest of those futures will be on teams to win it all, it's the regular season point totals that have me excited as there a couple of great betting options all hockey bettors should consider.

    Sportsbook.ag Regular Season Points Futures

    Best Bet #1: Chicago Blackhawks Under 102.5 Points (-125)

    When you have two of the three highest paid players in the league on your team and allocating $13 million plus to both of them, chances are depth could be an issue for you, especially if one of those key guys misses significant time with injuries.

    That's the scenario for the always cash-strapped Chicago Blackhawks this year as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are definitely two of the better players in the league, but their presence really limits Chicago's overall depth.

    Last year the 'Hawks finished with 103 points and didn't have to really address any of those concerns, but with other division rivals around them likely to be as good or better (Dallas, St Louis, Winnipeg, Nashville), I don't believe we will see Chicago hit the century mark in 16-17.

    What furthers this case is the idea that Chicago's championship window might actually be on the decline now that many of their core depth guys have moved on.

    Chicago will go as far as Kane, Toews, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and goalie Corey Crawford will take them, but after that things really start to thin out and should any one of those five guys get bit by the injury bug, Chicago could end up finding themselves on the outside of the playoff picture by season's end.

    The perception of the Blackhawks is that they are still an elite team in this league and that's why this number is as high as it is, but this should be the year that we finally see all of Chicago's exodus moves finally come back to bite them.

    Best Bet #2: Detroit Red Wings Under 89.5 Points (-115)

    Detroit is another team that could be in for a rather large decline this year as the post Pavel Datsyuk era begins in the Motor City and it could be an uncharacteristically rough one for the organization.

    They've already started the much needed youth movement in recent years with guys like Dylan Larkin and Gustav Nyquist, but losing Datsyuk creates a big void at the top of their depth chart and until all of that youth truly reaches their potential, the Wings will struggle.

    What Detroit does have going for them is the fact that they play in the Atlantic Division and will get some easier wins against the likes of Toronto and Buffalo, but those organizations are also on the uptick while Detroit is currently going the other way.

    With G Petr Mrazek unlikely to post the stellar numbers he did a year ago, 90 points is a bit of a stretch for a Wings team that is clearly in a transitional phase and will very likely see their 25-year streak of being a playoff team snapped this season.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Pacific Division Outlook
    October 10, 2016


    2016-17 Division Odds
    Anaheim Ducks 9/4
    Los Angeles Kings 9/4
    San Jose Sharks 9/4
    Edmonton Oilers 7/1
    Calgary Flames 8/1
    Arizona Coyotes 60/1
    Vancouver Canucks 80/1

    2016-17 Point Totals
    San Jose Sharks 100.5
    Anaheim Ducks 99.5
    Los Angeles Kings 98.5
    Calgary Flames 88.5
    Edmonton Oilers 88.5
    Arizona Coyotes 78
    Vancouver Canucks 76.5

    Odds per Las Vegas Westgate SuperBook - Subject to Change

    Anaheim Ducks
    – Is any team hungrier than the Ducks? After another successful regular season but another frustrating playoff exit, Anaheim sent bench boss Bruce Boudreau packing. In an interesting move, the Ducks re-hired Randy Carlyle who was their coach until the fall of 2011 when he was fired and replace by Boudreau! Carlyle is known as a very demanding head coach but Anaheim has a number of players who have experience with him from his prior time with the Ducks and also even from time he spent coaching the Canucks AHL team. With some aging veterans Anaheim knows the window is closing on their chance to chase the Cup. The Ducks were #1 in the league last season on the power play, penalty kill, and overall defense with just 2.29 goals allowed per game. Watch early for how the Ducks respond to Carlyle. I look for the Ducks to have a big season and they could get off to a quick start depending on how quickly they adjust to having Carlyle back behind the bench.

    Arizona Coyotes – Surprisingly the Coyotes won 22 home games last season despite having some of the worst attendance in the league. This team really needs moved to Quebec in my opinion. However, the fact is they’re still in Arizona for at least another season and be careful playing against them at home as they are known for upsets there. Fade the Coyotes when the line value is there on the road as they only won 13 road games last season. Only one team, Edmonton, had less road wins with 12. Upper management changes have taken place with John Chayka replacing Don Maloney as General Manager and Dave Tippett now adding VP of hockey operations to his duties. Mike Smith in goal, when on, is solid but missed a lot of time last season. The Coyotes allowed nearly 3 goals per game - ranking among the worst in the league. Their penalty kill was also among the worst in the league last season. This team is likely to continue to struggle and look for opportunities to grab the “over” if goalie Smith is struggling or the nights he is out. The Coyotes are targeting improvement on their blue line (through acquisitions and the draft) but it is still a work in progress, especially early this season as the blue line needs time to gel.

    Calgary Flames – The Flames regressed badly last season so it’s no surprise they made a coaching change as the head man is now Glen Gulutzan and Bob Hartley is out. Not only does the fresh leadership help at the top for a Calgary team that accumulated 97 points two seasons ago, they also should bounce back from last season’s disappointment (77 points) as they made huge changes in goal. Brian Elliott (came over from St Louis) is the new #1 and Chad Johnson (off solid season in Buffalo) is the new #2. This is going to help turn this team around as last season they were worst in the league with a 3.13 GAA but Elliott had a 2.07 GAA and Johnson a 2.36 GAA. The Flames did average 2.79 goals per game last season which was good enough to rank 10th in the league so, the fact is, if they get better goal-tending and have better team chemistry under Gulutzan they are in for a bounce back season and might even make it to the post-season this spring. I am forecasting the Flames to definitely be “right there” come mid-April.

    Edmonton Oilers – The Oilers are on the uptick with moves made by GM Peter Chiarelli and certainly are excited about moving into a new downtown arena. Of course having arguably the best young talent in the game (Connor McDavid) plus having signed Milan Lucic in the off-season gives Edmonton a boost heading into the new season. It also helps that Todd McLellan is now in his second season with the Oilers as head coach. The Oilers already showed some improvement last season (went from 62 points to 70 points) but should show even bigger improvement as the Oilers have continued to show progress in the way they are rebuilding. The weakness is still the defense but they have plenty of firepower on offense and they also received good goal-tending from Cam Talbot once he settled in last season. Don’t underestimate the addition of Adam Larsson too as the blue-liner will help on the penalty kill. The Oilers power play has firepower and they just need to execute better but the pieces are coming together and special teams play is so critical to success in the NHL. The Oilers are heading in the right direction and should be a “play on” team in the new season.

    Los Angeles Kings – The Kings aren’t projected by many to drop off much this season but I feel this team is heading downward quicker than many expect. Remember they recently won two Stanley Cup titles in three seasons but, since then, they’ve won only one playoff game the past two seasons! Will they even make the playoffs this season? The problem is they spent so much money in prior seasons that they have salary cap limitations now holding them back. Of course Jonathan Quick is fantastic between the pipes but he’s not getting any younger and he’s been a workhorse. If he wears down or gets hurt then the fact that former back-up Martin Jones departed in the Milan Lucic trade (2015, Lucic now with Edmonton) could look even uglier than it already did. LA is now relying on Jeff Zatkoff as their #2 goalie. It will be interesting to see if Anze Kopitar taking over as captain (from Dustin Brown) helps spark this team. The offense is all about puck possession under Darryl Sutter but they still don’t score enough goals. This takes away from a strong defense as Los Angeles is consistently in the Top Ten for GAA. Look for a continued drop-off in LA as San Jose and Anaheim remain strong in the division and Edmonton and Calgary are on the way up.

    San Jose Sharks – After losing to the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals last season, the Sharks saw a few areas to work on. They are a big team that bullied their way through the Western Conference but Pittsburgh’s speed got to them in the Finals. The response for San Jose was the acquisition of David Schlemko and Mikkel Boedker to add some speed on the blue line and up front. The Sharks also struggled on the penalty kill (the power play is their strength in special teams) but they are hopeful a 2nd season under Peter DeBoer helps bring continuity there. Also, Chris Tierney (center who led team in ice time on penalty kill) will now be entering his third season with San Jose. The concern for the Sharks is that when head coach DeBoer stepped in and had success with Florida and New Jersey in his first season as the head coach his teams then regressed in future seasons. Will this be a repeat in San Jose? The Sharks have too much talent to regress too far but I do expect some drop-off this season after the huge playoff run last season. The Ducks could take the division this season and other divisional foes like the Oilers and Flames will provide tougher competition this season too. Look for a drop-off for the Sharks and if Martin Jones gets hurt or drops off at all in level of production, the drop could be even quicker. This is still a very strong team but I do not expect this team to have the same regular season success or post-season success that we saw last season. Look for spots to fade them particularly at home where they only won 18 of 41 games in the regular season last year. They were much stronger on the road – 28 wins in 41 games to lead the NHL.

    Vancouver Canucks – The Canucks could end up being the worst team in the NHL this season. They were one of the worst last season and unfortunately (for Vancouver fans) it looks like another tough season is on tap. It was a surprisingly quick drop for the Canucks last season but it was no fluke. Vancouver dropped from 101 points to 75 points and more struggles are on tap for this season. Keep in mind this is a Canucks team that scored 50 less goals last season in comparison with the prior season. Yes they added a big goal scorer in Loui Eriksson (was with Bruins) in free agency but one man won’t player won’t solve all that has impacted this team. The Sedin twins will form a formidable first line with Eriksson but they are now 36 and Henrik’s campaign was impacted by injuries last season. Simply put, they are not getting any younger. The 2nd line features players who had “career years” last season so will there be a repeat? Unlikely, and after that there is a big drop-off in terms of production from this offense. The loss of right winger Radim Vrbata also hurts the Canucks offense. The defense of the Canucks has some good size but this team allowed 2.91 goals per game last season and they blue line didn’t provide much offense either. Only 23 goals from the defensemen last season and that ranked near the bottom of the league. The Canucks still have solid goaltending with Ryan Miller and back-up Jacob Markstrom but the trouble is they face way too many shots because of the poor play in front of them. The Canucks not only lost Vrbata and defenseman Dan Hamhuis but they also got nothing for those two players. The point is that the roster needs more rebuild before the Canucks are likely to be in the running for a playoff spot again. Vancouver only won 15 home games last season and that was worst in the Western Conference. More of the same is likely on tap for this season.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Central Division Outlook
    October 5, 2016


    2016-17 Division Odds
    Dallas Stars 9/5
    Chicago Blackhawks 5/2
    Nashville Predators 7/2
    St. Louis Blues 7/2
    Minnesota Wild 20/1
    Colorado Avalanche 30/1
    Winnipeg Jets 50/1

    2016-17 Point Totals
    Dallas Stars 103
    Chicago Blackhawks 102.5
    St. Louis Blues 100.5
    Nashville Predators 97
    Minnesota Wild 93.5
    Colorado Avalanche 87.5
    Winnipeg Jets 85

    Odds per Las Vegas Westgate SuperBook - Subject to Change

    Chicago Blackhawks:
    This is a hungry team this season as the 'Hawks were uncharacteristically knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by the Blues last spring. This gave Chicago’s players some extra time to heal up over the summer and they are refreshed and rejuvenated mentally and physically for the new season. This is in stark contrast to the prior three seasons when the Blackhawks were coming off of deep playoff runs. The problem for Chicago is they lost Andrew Ladd and Teuvo Teravainen in the off-season. However, the Blackhawks did re-acquire a key blue-liner as Brian Campbell (a member of the 2010 Cup-winning team) is back with the Hawks. Chicago was one of the top teams on the power play (22.6%) last season but they finished 22nd on the penalty kill with an 80.3% mark. If the Blackhawks improve on the kill and top goalie Corey Crawford stays healthy, Chicago could be in line to make another long post-season run this season!

    Colorado Avalanche: The huge news came out of Denver at a tough time as head coach Patrick Roy stepped down on Aug. 11. That didn’t leave the Avs a lot of time but I expect the hiring of Jared Bednar to prove to be a good one in the long run. Bednar, last season, was the head coach of Lake Erie (now Cleveland) of the American Hockey League and led them to the Calder Cup championship. Bednar wants the Avalanche to play an up-tempo game and utilize the speed of their forwards up-front. Guys like Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon should be in for big seasons under Bednar. Also, Mikko Rantanen is a young right winger from Finland whom played with the Avs AHL affiliate (San Antonio) last season and whom I, as a resident of the San Antonio area, personally witnessed his domination at the AHL level. He’s ready to step up for Colorado and where I see the value with this team will likely be opportunities with taking the over. The goaltending is a question mark with the inconsistency of Semyon Varlamov and Reto Berra is now with the Panthers. That leaves Calvin Pickard (San Antonio last season) as the back-up. With coach Bednar wanting to push the pace and with defense and goal-tending continuing to be an issue in Colorado, look for high-scoring Avalanche games to be a frequent occurrence this season.

    Dallas Stars: The Stars are starting to put it together in Dallas as evidenced by their 50-23-9 mark in the regular season. The problem in Big D continues to be the lack of a “Big D” as the blue-line is the concern. While Dallas did add Dan Hamhuis, the question relating to the depth of the defense is the lack of experience as they are bringing in good size but youth with guys like Stephen Johns and Esa Lindell. There could be a scoring drop-off for Dallas too. Of course the only way to go is down for a Stars team that was #1 with 3.23 goals per game last season. However, the reason for concern is that point production from the blue line (other than John Klingberg) is truly a question mark because of the changes in D-men for Dallas coming into this season. With goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi, there is still concern that the Stars will make another run but aren’t ready to make it all the way to a Stanley Cup final unless a change is made at goalie. Lehtonen and Niemi combined to rank 19th for GAA and 23rd for save percentage last season and the Stars net-minding is continuing to hold this team back.

    Minnesota Wild: After hitting the 100 point mark two seasons ago, the Wild really dropped off last season as they fell to 87 points. Minnesota had one of the worst penalty kills in the league (77.9%). Also, the Wild were hurt badly by a 1-9 mark in overtime games. The ones that made it to a shootout were okay (3-2) but losing 9 of 10 that were decided in the OT period really hurt Minnesota. Of course the hiring of Bruce Boudreau (8 division titles between Washington and Anaheim) as the new Wild head coach will pay dividends eventually but this hockey club will have to rebuild. There is a ton of pressure on General Manager Chuck Fletcher as he is in his 8th season with Minnesota but they’ve only won a playoff series twice in his seven seasons and they’ve never advanced past the 2nd round. The pressure could be felt early because I expect it will take some time for Boudreau to get his high-octane aggressive system properly rolled out with the Wild. Minnesota is known for being a defense-first hockey club and there will be an adjustment phase here. Fading the Wild early and then riding them later in the season will be an option worth keeping an eye on here.

    Nashville Predators: The Preds won only 2 of 14 games decided in overtime last season. The point is that they certainly could have finished much higher than the #7 spot in the Western Conference. The Predators are building with youth and speed. They are getting away from the defense-first style that was common in Nashville not that long ago. With a solid #1 goalie, Pekka Rinne, between the pipes the Predators can continue to push the pace on offense as they know they have him supporting them in their own end. The concern for the Preds is that they don’t have a whole lot of size on defense. Yes they are mobile D-men and, overall, they are speedy and the acquisition of P.K. Subban for Shea Weber was a big one but do they have enough size? This could have a negative impact on the Predators penalty kill and also could be an issue against very physical teams. Overall, Nashville is solid and I look for an uptick in offensive production this season but I would recommend being leery of match-up issues based on the above.

    St. Louis Blues: The Blues have dropped only a couple of points in the standings each of the last two seasons but this season a bigger drop would not be a surprise. Certainly a post-season berth is still expected but one of the strengths of the Blues has been their special teams. Last season St Louis was ranked 6th on the power play and 3rd on the penalty kill. However, they lost a couple of key special teams performers on the ice as David Backes and Troy Brouwer have departed. The bigger losses though might be in the area of coaching. A couple of key staff-members (Brad Shaw and Kirk Muller) are no longer with the Blues. Shaw led the penalty kill but he is now with the Blue Jackets and Muller led the power play but he is back with the Canadiens. Also, Mike Yeo has already been brought in as a “coach in waiting” as this is Ken Hitchcock’s final year as an NHL head coach. All the transitional issues at the coaching level make for a transitional season with the Blues in my opinion and that means a bit of a regression. I will look for opportunities to go against them especially with the departure of goalie Brian Elliott as Jake Allen will be in his first season as the undisputed #1 netminder here in St Louis.

    Winnipeg Jets: Youth movement is still on at Winnipeg and, of course, the rabid hockey fans in Canada are hungry for a winner. The regression last season after making the playoffs the prior season was tough on the fans in Manitoba but, even with the emphasis on youth, there is a solid chance the Jets are back in the playoffs in April. The key will be the goaltending. Ondrej Pavelec is in a contract year and that could bring out the best in him plus he could be pushed by the other available net-minders as Michael Hutchinson and Connor Hellebuyck will make sure Pavelec is at his best. Hellebuyck had a huge first half last season but then couldn’t sustain it. Hutchison is currently slated in the #2 spot and went 21-10-5 for the Jets in the 2014-15 season. Of course, the Jets must clean up special teams (30th on power play and 25th on penalty kill) and this will be the area to watch early this season as it could be telling as to the direction the Jets season is going to be headed.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    SCHEDULE FOR THURSDAY OCTOBER 13, 2016
    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    7:00 PM Boston Bruins Columbus Blue Jackets Nationwide Arena
    7:00 PM Montreal Canadiens Buffalo Sabres First Niagara Center
    7:00 PM New York Islanders New York Rangers Madison Square Garden
    7:30 PM Detroit Red Wings Tampa Bay Lightning Amalie Arena
    7:30 PM New Jersey Devils Florida Panthers BB&T Center
    8:00 PM Carolina Hurricanes Winnipeg Jets MTS Centre
    8:00 PM Minnesota Wild St. Louis Blues Scottrade Center
    8:00 PM Washington Capitals Pittsburgh Penguins CONSOL Energy Center
    8:30 PM Anaheim Ducks Dallas Stars American Airlines Center

    SCHEDULE FOR FRIDAY OCTOBER 14, 2016
    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    8:00 PM Chicago Blackhawks Nashville Predators Bridgestone Arena
    9:00 PM Edmonton Oilers Calgary Flames Scotiabank Saddledome
    10:30 PM Philadelphia Flyers Los Angeles Kings Staples Center

    SCHEDULE FOR SATURDAY OCTOBER 15, 2016
    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    7:00 PM Anaheim Ducks Pittsburgh Penguins CONSOL Energy Center
    7:00 PM Boston Bruins Toronto Maple Leafs Air Canada Centre
    7:00 PM Detroit Red Wings Florida Panthers BB&T Center
    7:00 PM Montreal Canadiens Ottawa Senators Canadian Tire Centre
    7:00 PM New Jersey Devils Tampa Bay Lightning Amalie Arena
    7:00 PM New York Islanders Washington Capitals Verizon Center
    7:00 PM San Jose Sharks Columbus Blue Jackets Nationwide Arena
    7:00 PM Winnipeg Jets Minnesota Wild Xcel Energy Center
    8:00 PM New York Rangers St. Louis Blues Scottrade Center
    8:30 PM Nashville Predators Chicago Blackhawks United Center
    9:00 PM Dallas Stars Colorado Avalanche Pepsi Center
    9:00 PM Philadelphia Flyers Arizona Coyotes Gila River Arena
    10:00 PM Calgary Flames Vancouver Canucks Rogers Arena

    SCHEDULE FOR SUNDAY OCTOBER 16, 2016
    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    6:00 PM Anaheim Ducks New York Islanders Barclays Center
    7:00 PM Buffalo Sabres Edmonton Oilers Rogers Place
    10:00 PM Carolina Hurricanes Vancouver Canucks Rogers Arena

    SCHEDULE FOR MONDAY OCTOBER 17, 2016
    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    7:00 PM Colorado Avalanche Pittsburgh Penguins CONSOL Energy Center
    7:00 PM San Jose Sharks New York Rangers Madison Square Garden
    7:30 PM Ottawa Senators Detroit Red Wings Joe Louis Arena
    8:00 PM Boston Bruins Winnipeg Jets MTS Centre

    SCHEDULE FOR TUESDAY OCTOBER 18, 2016
    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    7:00 PM Anaheim Ducks New Jersey Devils Prudential Center
    7:00 PM Colorado Avalanche Washington Capitals Verizon Center
    7:00 PM San Jose Sharks New York Islanders Barclays Center
    7:30 PM Arizona Coyotes Ottawa Senators Canadian Tire Centre
    7:30 PM Florida Panthers Tampa Bay Lightning Amalie Arena
    7:30 PM Pittsburgh Penguins Montreal Canadiens Bell Centre
    8:00 PM Dallas Stars Nashville Predators Bridgestone Arena
    8:00 PM Los Angeles Kings Minnesota Wild Xcel Energy Center
    8:30 PM Philadelphia Flyers Chicago Blackhawks United Center
    9:00 PM Buffalo Sabres Calgary Flames Scotiabank Saddledome
    9:00 PM Carolina Hurricanes Edmonton Oilers Rogers Place
    10:00 PM St. Louis Blues Vancouver Canucks Rogers Arena

    SCHEDULE FOR WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 19, 2016
    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    8:00 PM Detroit Red Wings New York Rangers Madison Square Garden
    8:00 PM Toronto Maple Leafs Winnipeg Jets MTS Centre

    Updated Thu Oct 13 12:02 AM EDT
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Preview: Bruins (0-0) at Blue Jackets (0-0)
    Date: October 13, 2016 7:00 PM EDT


    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Thursday evening is opening night for the Columbus Blue Jackets as they play host to the Boston Bruins, two teams not expected to place within the top-3 of the Metropolitan Division this season.

    The Blue Jackets begin the 2016-17 season as a team that didn't make any spectacular moves, save for selecting forward Pierre Luc-Dubois ahead of the pundit's choice of forward Jesse Puljujarvi with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 draft.

    Although it was announced Tuesday that the team had sent forward Alex Wennberg through waivers in order to be assigned to the team's AHL-affiliate Cleveland Monsters while Luc-Dubois had apparently "made" the team, the Blue Jackets announced late Wednesday that Pierre Luc-Dubois, 18, had been assigned to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL), and had recalled Wennberg from Cleveland. This was done ostensibly to give them more room under the salary cap with forward David Clarkson on long-term Injured Reserve.

    Wennberg, 22, posted NHL career highs in 2015-16, recording eight goals and 32 assists in 69 games with the team.

    The Blue Jackets signed Sam Gagner, 27, this summer to be a possible integral component of the power play, while also being a potential No. 2 center for the team. Gagner was selected with the No. 6 overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2007 draft. He had eight goals and eight assists in 53 games for the Philadelphia Flyers last season, and has recorded 124-228-352 in 615 NHL games.

    The Blue Jackets also have high hope for 19-year old defenseman Zach Werenski, selected No. 8 in the 2015 draft.

    "I see another gear, a high gear, that a lot of people don't have," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said of Werenski, via BlueJackets.com. "I look at his skill ... I mean, my god, he's just a kid.

    "I look at him as a very intelligent player. I look at him as a guy that can help our power play -- we're gonna give him a whack at it right off the bat here -- because it's been one of our weaknesses."

    The Boston Bruins will be without the services of star-forward Patrice Bergeron to start the 2016-17 season, out with a lower-body injury and currently being evaluated on a day-to-day basis.

    "You're missing one of your better players, so it's not an easy way to start, but it's reality, and I really feel that it's an opportunity, too," Bruins coach Claude Julien told his team's website.

    "We've been talking about having depth -- let's use that depth right now, and if everybody does their job and plays the way we should, we can get through this."

    Julien specified that it was a "minor" injury, and not something major, stating "We're confident it's going to be real short term."

    With Bergeron not starting the trip, forward David Backes took over his spot centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak during Wednesday's practice.

    Bruins' general manager Don Sweeney announced that defenseman Adam McQuaid is currently being evaluated on a day-to-day basis with an upper-body injury, while defenseman Kevan Miller, who underwent successful surgery to repair a fracture in his left hand on Tuesday, is expected to be out of the lineup for six weeks.

    With McQuaid and Miller absent, defensemen Brandon Carlo and Rob O'Gara will likely get the opportunity to make their NHL debuts.

    Forward Tim Schaller was recalled from the Providence Bruins by the team in Bergeron's absence.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Preview: Islanders (0-0) at Rangers (0-0)
    Date: October 13, 2016 7:00 PM EDT


    For the first time since 2007, the New York Rangers on Thursday will open a season at Madison Square Garden, and they will do so against their in-city rival, the New York Islanders.

    Thanks to a three-year arena renovation project that would bleed into October and some odd NHL scheduling, the Rangers haven't started at home since goaltender Henrik Lundqvist's third season. But that's in the past, and whether beginning a season away from home was good or bad for the club, the team is ready to turn the page and look to the future.

    "Something I think our group really needs to focus on is this is a new year," Derek Stepan said to the Daily News on Wednesday. "We're not gonna go back to seasons past. We've done everything in seasons past: We've had great starts; we've had terrible starts; we've made it deep in the playoffs; we've ended short in the playoffs. This is a new year. We're gonna try to avoid talking about years past, but if you're really talking about the feeling in this room, I think the biggest thing we've all been saying for weeks is we just want to get this season started."

    A new season brings new faces for both the Rangers and Islanders; Mika Zibanejad is the big name among those making their Rangers debut while high-price free-agent acquisition Andrew Ladd will play his first game for the Islanders. Left winger Jimmy Vesey, the prized college free agent many teams coveted, will make his NHL debut with the Rangers.

    Zibanejad was acquired from the Ottawa Senators during the offseason for fellow center Brassard and expects to find himself in high-leverage situations for his new club.

    "When we're up by one with two minutes left, one minute left, or we're down by one and try to get a goal, I want to be out there for every different situation," Zibanejad told the Daily News. "I think I got a taste of that last year and it's something I want to evolve to a lot more this year."

    Ladd brings leadership, experience and a Stanley Cup to Brooklyn after signing a seven-year, $38.5 million deal with a team that lost key players Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen to free agency. The left winger is expected to start his Islanders career playing on a line with center John Tavares.

    With Tavares playing at the World Cup, Ladd didn't get much time in the preseason to work with him, so there could be an adjustment period for both players in the early going.

    "(It) will be good just getting to know where Johnny's going to be," Ladd told Newsday. "All players are different, especially offensively. He's probably a guy who wants a little more space, take guys one-on-one in the corner, stuff like that. Just getting a feel for where he's going to be in certain situations and just have the ability to talk it out from there."

    The Rangers will be without defenseman Kevin Klein, who is out with a back strain.

    Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak is dealing with an illness and his status for the opener is up in the air. Center Anders Lee blocked a shot in practice Wednesday and he could miss the opener as well, although that has yet to be determined.

    Both the Rangers and Islanders have playoff aspirations in a very tough Metropolitan Division and even though it's just the first of 82 games, it's already two important points up for grabs. And if the Rangers want to erase the past, starting with a win against a team that beat them in all four meetings last season would go a long way toward changing the future.

    "We all know that last year they had our number," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told the Daily News. "This season is a new season and I think everyone's anxious to get going here."
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    Preview: Canadiens (0-0) at Sabres (0-0)
    Date: October 13, 2016 7:00 PM EDT


    BUFFALO, N.Y. -- After three years in the NHL's basement, the Buffalo Sabres planned on turning the corner this season. That plan got a whole lot tougher one day before Buffalo's season opener when budding superstar Jack Eichel suffered a severe ankle injury.

    The injury occurred at Buffalo's final practice before its opener against the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m., Thursday). Late in the practice session, Eichel awkwardly fell to the ice after tangling with teammate Zemgus Girgensons. He screamed in pain and was helped off the ice by his teammates.

    The Sabres announced that Eichel suffered a high ankle sprain -- which means he could miss 1-2 months.

    "He has an ankle injury and at this point not a lot to tell after that," Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said, according to NHL.com. "He's going to get evaluated this afternoon. Initially he goes down in a lot of pain obviously and I think the initial shock of it is you see that, but we're going to let it calm down here and get evaluated and see the extent of him turning his ankle there."

    The second overall pick in the 2015 draft, Eichel became an instant sensation in Buffalo and led the Sabres in goals as a rookie with 24.

    Eichel isn't the only key member of the Sabres to begin the year on the infirmary list. Free-agent addition Kyle Okposo will miss the opener with a knee injury, and center Ryan O'Reilly's status is up in the air due to a back injury.

    One positive for the Sabres is the return of defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. Ristolainen returned after signing a six-year deal with the Sabres on Thursday. Goalie Robin Lehner is also in much better shape after a promising but injury-plagued season one year ago; Lehner lost more than 20 pounds in preparation for the upcoming season.

    The Canadiens, meanwhile, will be without their star goaltender for the season opener. Carey Price will not make the trip to Buffalo due to an illness. The Canadiens are counting on Price to return as the backbone of their team; Montreal's season fell apart last year after Price was lost for the season due to a knee injury.

    "Unfortunately, he caught the flu and everyone reacts differently to medicine," Ottawa head coach Michel Therrien said, according to NHL.com "He caught a nasty bug, as we're seeing now. He's day-to-day. There's a chance he'll join the team in Ottawa on Friday, but he'll have to be healthy. It's too bad, but there's nothing we can do about it."

    "That's hockey. There will be setbacks. We all would have liked for Carey to be between the pipes for the first game. Not only us, but our fans too. It's just going to be a matter of time now."

    Al Montoya is expected to start between the pipes for Montreal in his first game for the Canadiens. He'll be backed up by Charlie Lindgren.

    It will be the Montreal debut for defenseman Shea Weber, who was acquired in a blockbuster trade for P.K. Subban this offseason. Weber, 31, spent his first 10 seasons with the Nashville Predators. Gritty forward Andrew Shaw will also make his Montreal debut after spending his entire career with the Chicago Blackhawks.

    The Canadiens also added Russian forward Alexander Radulov, who has spent most of his career in the KHL after brief spells with the Nashville Predators.
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    Preview: Devils (0-0) at Panthers (0-0)
    Date: October 13, 2016 7:30 PM EDT


    SUNRISE, Fla. -- It's Opening Night and virtually everyone's optimistic at this point.

    But is there truly reason for optimism for the New Jersey Devils and/or the Florida Panthers, who will meet Thursday at the BB&T Center?

    For the Devils, the reason for hope revolves around left winger Taylor Hall, acquired June 29 in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers. The Devils gave up defenseman Adam Larsson to get Hall, who produced 26 goals and 39 assists last year.

    Hall, who turns 25 next month, has scored more than 20 goals in four of his six seasons in the NHL. He had more than a point a game in 2013-2014, when he posted 80 points in 75 games, and that's the kind of production the Devils are looking for from their speedy new forward.

    The Devils also made another move to add offense, picking up forward P.A. Parenteau on Tuesday after the New York Islanders released him. Parenteau, who had 20 goals and 21 assists with the Toronto Maple Leafs last year, is expected to play against the Panthers on Thursday.

    "He's a seasoned, veteran player," Devils coach John Hynes told the media. "He's played games -- it just hasn't been with us."

    Those additions -- especially acquiring Hall -- should help New Jersey, but it's important to note that the Devils were 30th in the NHL in goals last season, and that went a long way toward sealing their fate of having just 84 points, 12th best in the Eastern Conference, and a fourth straight season without making the NHL playoffs.

    The picture is legitimately brighter for the Panthers -- at least if they can stay healthy.

    Florida won the Atlantic Division last year with 103 points before losing to the Islanders in six games in the first round of the playoffs.

    The Panthers hoped to build on that momentum by signing high-scoring defenseman Keith Yandle from the New York Rangers, empowering him as the point man on their power play and pairing him with rising star Aaron Ekblad.

    Florida also added Jason Demers and Mark Pysyk to their revamped defense.

    However, all the Panthers' well-intentioned offseason moves have been stunted to some degree by two injuries.

    Right winger Jonathan Huberdeau (left foot) is out, possibly for as long as four months, after getting cut by a skate blade on Sunday. And earlier in the exhibition season, the Panthers lost center Nick Bjugstad (broken hand) for about a month.

    The Huberdeau injury breaks up the team's top trio, leaving Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr in search of chemistry with a new linemate.

    Bjugstad's absence disrupts the team's second line.

    Florida is hoping that Jonathan Marchessault, a speedy forward acquired after he scored seven goals in 45 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning last year, can make up for some of the slack.

    Despite the injuries, Panthers coach Gerard Gallant is taking the high road.

    "I like the players we've brought in," Gallant said. "We've moved forward the past two years. The hope is that we will move forward again this year."

    Thursday's game should feature two standout goalies. Florida's Roberto Luongo has made a quick recovery from offseason hip surgery and is expected to start for the Panthers. Cory Schneider is expected to start for New Jersey. Both goalies are considered solid candidates for the Vezina Trophy.

    Other players to watch include:

    -- Panthers defenseman Michael Matheson, a smooth-skating 22-year-old, could be a Rookie of the Year candidate if he plays up to his prospect rankings.

    -- New Jersey's Ben Lovejoy is the biggest addition to the defense. He signed a three-year deal after helping the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup last season.

    -- Panthers center Derek MacKenzie, 35, will be making his debut as a team captain.

    -- Devils center Pavel Zacha, who was the No. 6 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, is only 19 years old but appears primed for a stellar rookie season.

    One of the biggest things to watch for Thursday -- and indeed all season for the Devils and Panthers -- is the toughness factor on defense.

    The Panthers added an offensive defenseman in Yandle, who has frequently been derelict in his defensive duties throughout his career. The Panthers also got rid of solid defensemen such as Brian Campbell, Dmitry Kulikov and Erik Gudbranson in the offseason.

    Similarly, the Devils traded away Larsson, who led the team in hits and ranked second in blocked shots.

    Which defense plays toughest could go a long way toward deciding Thursday's winner.
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    Preview: Red Wings (0-0) at Lightning (0-0)
    Date: October 13, 2016 7:30 PM EDT


    TAMPA, Fla. -- The Detroit Red Wings open their 2016-17 NHL season on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team that has ended their last two seasons in the opening round of the playoffs.

    The two clubs are hoping to extend two very different streaks this season -- the Lightning are aiming to return to the Eastern Conference finals for a third straight year and the Red Wings, after losing in the first round three years in a row, want to extend to 26 their run of consecutive playoff appearances.

    "We've got to do a better job of making sure that we have a real identity," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill told the Detroit Free Press. "We've talked lots about that as a group. We need to make sure that our team chemistry is great. We need to make sure we win as a hockey team in totality and not as one or two individual players. Those are going to be the focal points of the year."

    Tampa Bay, which lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals, returns nearly intact.

    The Lightning worked hard in the offseason to re-sign star center Steven Stamkos to an eight-year deal worth $8.5 million a year, then locked up defenseman Victor Hedman with an eight-year extension worth $7.9 million a year.

    Just this week, Nikita Kucherov signed a three-year contract worth $4.8 million a year, keeping another core player under contract.

    "He's a big part of our team, make no mistake about it," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said Wednesday. "To see him zipping around out there, it's gratifying, because you want to put your best foot forward. Especially early in the season, you can't let games slip ... He's a big part of that."

    Detroit has some major changes -- veteran Pavel Datsyuk went back home to Russia and the Red Wings have added two veteran scorers. Frans Nielsen, 32, signed a six-year, $30 million deal to come in from the New York Islanders, where he scored 20 goals and 32 assists last year; and Thomas Vanek, also 32, had 18 goals and 23 assists last season with the Wild.

    The two newcomers join a returning nucleus that includes veterans like Henrik Zetterberg and emerging stars like Dylan Larkin, who had 23 goals as a rookie last season.

    "The guys didn't take as big a step as we should have last year," center Darren Helm told the Detroit Free Press. "Everybody this year knows how important that is. We got some pretty good acquisitions and they are definitely exciting guys."

    Tampa Bay opens the season with four home games, then has six straight on the road. Detroit opens with two in Florida before returning home for four of their next five games.

    Detroit returns both goalies from last year in Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard, and the Lightning also have Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy back from last year's run.

    Tampa Bay has made have some promising additions as well, like 20-year-old forward Brayden Point, who made the Lightning roster with an impressive preseason.

    "All the players made decisions to fit themselves into a situation with us where we were able to keep everybody back together," Cooper said. "It shows the team-first mentality of a lot of our players. It's probably why we've had success here the last couple of years."
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    Preview: Capitals (0-0) at Penguins (0-0)
    Date: October 13, 2016 8:00 PM EDT


    PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby is back on the ice, but he won't be in the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup on Thursday when they begin their defense of the Stanley Cup.

    Crosby, the Penguins' captain and arguably the NHL's best player, participated in some of the team's practice Wednesday, but his latest concussion will keep him out of the season opener against the rival Washington Capitals.

    It's a game Crosby certainly didn't want to miss - the Penguins will raise their fourth Stanley Cup banner during pregame ceremonies at PPG Paints Arena. Then again, the ultra-competitive Crosby doesn't like missing a game for any reason.

    Especially for this reason - a concussion, the same dreaded injury that caused him to miss big chunks of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, when Crosby was at his statistical and competitive best.

    "It's a game you want to be part of but, at the same time, I think I've spent more than enough time being in this situation," Crosby said after practicing Wednesday in a yellow no-contact jersey. "I think you understand you have to be patient, you have to listen to your body. If you're ready, you're ready. If not, then you don't take any chances - and give yourself a lot better chance of not having it happen again if you treat it the right way."

    The Penguins started the 2011-12 season without Crosby, going 11-6-3 before he returned briefly only to be diagnosed with a concussion yet again. As center Evgeni Malkin said, "We know how to play without Sid."

    But there are signs this layoff might not be as long as those during Crosby's past concussion issues.

    Crosby's latest concussion diagnosis was on Monday, but the superstar skated Tuesday and took part in drills Wednesday.

    "I'm always happy when I'm on the ice," Crosby said.

    And coach Mike Sullivan is hinting Crosby's time off might not be lengthy.

    "As they (injured players) make progress, you add to the intensity of their workouts and see how they respond," Sullivan said. "As players respond the right way, you can take it to the next level. That's the process we've gone through here with Sid."

    The Capitals, of course, know what they must do to reach the next level, and that's get past the Penguins.

    Washington easily was the NHL's best regular-season team in 2015-16, accumulating 120 points - 11 more than any team in the league, and 16 more than Pittsburgh. But the Capitals lost three of five to the Penguins during the season, and then were eliminated by them in six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals - the seventh in eight series they've lost to Pittsburgh.

    "We have no bitterness toward Pittsburgh," Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Braden Holtby said. "They earned it, they earned the Stanley Cup. Any bitterness is toward us, how we didn't perform well enough to beat them."

    On Thursday, Holtby said, the Capitals can't be thinking about what happened last year but rather what they need to do this year.

    "We're going in to play our game and get two points to start off the season," he said.

    But while Penguins stars Crosby and Malkin now have two Stanley Cup rings, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has yet to play in the finals - and the Penguins are a big reason why.

    "I don't think we played bad, every game was a close game," Ovechkin said. "But we didn't get it done last year.

    "Every year we're in the same position: We think this is the year. I think it is time to not talk, it is time to move forward."

    Both teams are largely unchanged from 2015-16, a rarity during the free agency era in which clubs often undergo extensive roster alterations from season to season.

    The soon-to-be 40-year-old Matt Cullen will replace Crosby on the Penguins' top line with left wing Conor Sheary and right wing Patric Hornqvist.

    "You can't replace Sid. It's a group effort, to fill holes and play effectively while he's out."

    The Penguins also will be without Stanley Cup-winning goalie Matt Murray, who broke a hand during the World Cup. He'll be replaced by Marc-Andre Fleury, who lost his starting job to Murray late last season after sustaining his second concussion of the season.

    Fleury, who was in net when the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009, will start his 11th consecutive season opener for Pittsburgh, and his 12th in 13 seasons.
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    Preview: Hurricanes (0-0) at Jets (0-0)
    Date: October 13, 2016 8:00 PM EDT


    No pressure, Patrik Laine.

    A day after Auston Matthews, the No. 1 pick in last spring's amateur draft, scored a record four goals in his NHL debut for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the spotlight will shift to the Laine, who was drafted No. 2 but openly lobbied to be taken in the top spot.

    The Finnish sensation hopes to replicate Mathews' debut when his Winnipeg Jets host the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night at the MTS Centre.

    The Jets have every intention of giving Laine, an 18-year-old right winger, the time to get acclimatized to the NHL and have put him on the third line with another teenager, Kyle Connor, who will patrol the left side of Mathieu Perreault.

    With an average age of 26.4, the Jets are the sixth-youngest team in the NHL this season and many observers expect some growing pains after the team finished last in the Central Division with a record of 35-39-8, missing the playoffs last season.

    Laine had a quiet World Cup of Hockey last month, registering zero points in three games, but he had a monster year in 2015-16, leading the Finns to the World Junior title over the Christmas holidays and then picking up the most valuable player award at the 2016 IIHF World Championships as the Finns won a silver medal, falling to Canada in the final.

    But you don't have to be a rookie to get butterflies before the start of season. Just ask Jets coach Paul Maurice, who has more than 1,250 games behind an NHL bench.

    "It's always the same, right? It's mixed with the excitement and then you can feel that NHL tension coming back into your day," Maurice told the Winnipeg Free Press. "It's a good thing."

    "You miss it over the course of the summer. You're planning for it and you know the grind that's coming, but, boy, you live for it. So, we're pretty excited here."

    But as much as the buzz in Winnipeg is centered on the new faces, there's just as much noise about who isn't here. The biggest name to be sent down to the AHL's Manitoba Moose is veteran goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, who has been the starter pretty much since the team relocated from Atlanta in 2011. Also sent to the farm from last year's team are C Andrew Copp and RW Anthony Peluso.

    The Hurricanes did not pack lightly for this roadtrip. They play their first six games away from PNC Arena -- the only team in the NHL with such a schedule -- and eight of their first 10.

    "With a young team, that's not an ideal situation for us," Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis told the Raleigh News & Observer. "But it is what it is. And hopefully we get out there and get a few wins under our belt. There's no sense in complaining about what we face. Let's go make the most of it."

    Defenseman Klas Dahlbeck, who was claimed off waivers from the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday, joined Carolina for one last practice before heading to the airport.

    For the first time since the Hartford Whalers relocated to North Carolina in 1997, the Hurricanes will start the season without a captain. Long-time captain Eric Staal was traded last spring and signed with the Minnesota Wild in the offseason.
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    Preview: Ducks (0-0) at Stars (0-0)
    Date: October 13, 2016 8:30 PM EDT


    FRISCO, Texas -- Former division rivals Anaheim and Dallas are both ready to start the 2016-17 season on Thursday night at American Airlines Center and look forward to doing so for similar reasons.

    The Ducks won the Pacific Division title last season with 103 points but lost in the first round of the playoffs to Nashville, a stinging seven-game defeat that was a big reason why coach Bruce Boudreau was fired after the season.

    Randy Carlyle, who has the most wins in franchise history and led the Ducks to win the Stanley Cup in 2007 during his previous stint in Anaheim, returns for a second go-around in SoCal.

    And after a tough training camp, Ducks regulars like defenseman Cam Fowler are ready to kick off the second Carlisle era in Anaheim.

    "We've all come together for the last month or so and gotten through a tough training camp," Fowler told the teams' website on Wednesday. "It's an exciting time and hopefully the start of good things to come."

    It's a similar story for Dallas, which won the Central Division last season, the Stars' first division title since 2008 and was the top seed in the Western Conference.

    The Stars also won their first playoff series since 2008, eliminating the Minnesota Wild in six games in the opening round before falling to division rivals St. Louis in seven games in the conference semifinals, a series punctuated by a 6-1 loss in Game 7 in Dallas on May 11.

    But any thought about that disappointing defeat lingering with the Stars to start this season is misguided, according to Dallas forward Patrick Eaves.

    "That's in the past and we just have to worry about what's in front of us," Eaves said. "It's exciting to get ready to start a new season. We'll be ready to go. It should be another good year, but we're looking for another good start."

    Dallas, who led the NHL with 267 goals last season, heads into the season with injuries already being a factor.

    Cody Eakin, who centered the Stars' top line for much of last season, is out until at least mid-November with a knee issue. Veteran forward Ales Hemsky, who had 39 points last season, will miss the first few games with a groin injury.

    And even with key offensive cogs Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin both missing time during preseason, the Ducks know that the Stars' mentality remains a simple yet effective one.

    "They like to play that track-meet game," Carlyle told the media after practice on Wednesday in Dallas. "If you allow them to continually enter with speed, you're going to be in trouble. They can put the puck in the net and play at a high pace.

    "Their defensemen like to join the rush. We can't allow their defensemen to be consistently up the ice. That's creating havoc for us."

    Both teams were active in the offseason, but the Ducks made more moves. In June, Anaheim traded goaltender Frederik Andersen to Toronto and then acquired Jonathan Bernier from the Maple Leafs in July.

    The Ducks also added veteran forwards Jared Boll, Mason Raymond and Antoine Vermette along with defensemen Nate Guenin and Jeff Schultz while re-signing Sami Vatanen to a multiyear contract.

    Anaheim is currently at an impasse in negotiations with defenseman Hampus Lindholm and forward Rickard Rakell, who are not with the team, creating a noticeable void.

    Despite all the changes the Ducks made to their roster this summer and fall, Stars coach Lindy Ruff has coached against Carlyle enough to know exactly how he likes his teams to approach each game.

    "Well, (they're) tough teams to play against, (have) real good structure," Ruff said. "We really feel that the chances will be limited. We're going to have to use our speed to try to get in behind that defense.

    We're going to have to win our share of one-on-one battles down low to create opportunities because they'll be a tough team once they're inside their own end."

    Dallas made only a few changes to its roster from last season, notably in the back end, where Jason Demers, Alex Goligoski and Kris Russell all departed and Dan Hamhuis came in. The Stars also added veteran forwards Jiri Hudler and Lauri Korpikoski.

    After experiencing several offseasons earlier in Ruff's tenure where plenty of changes were made, Benn likes looking across the dressing room and now seeing continuity in the form of plenty of familiar faces.

    "We've got a good group in here and I think we made another step last year, but it's a whole new year," Benn said. "I don't think we're going to be a surprise to anyone anymore. Teams know how good this team is. It's just up to us to back it up, have that same killer instinct and mentality that we're going to go far every year, we're going to be a tough team to play against and a tough team to beat."
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    NHL Capsules
    October 13, 2016


    OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Auston Matthews needed 40 minutes to get into the NHL record book.

    In the highest-scoring debut in modern NHL history, Matthews scored four goals for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but Kyle Turris scored 37 seconds into overtime to give the Ottawa Senators to a 5-4 victory Wednesday night.

    Matthews got his fourth with 3 seconds left in the second period, bringing his mother to tears in the stands.

    The 19-year-old from Scottsdale, Arizona, is the 12th first overall pick to score in his NHL debut.

    Turris scored twice, including the tying goal 6:45 into the third period. Bobby Ryan, Erik Karlsson and Derick Brassard also scored for Ottawa.

    Frederik Andersen stopped 25 shots for the Maple Leafs. Craig Anderson had 34 saves for Ottawa.

    BLUES 5, BLACKHAWKS 2

    CHICAGO (AP) - Vladimir Tarasenko had two goals and an assist and St. Louis won an opening-night matchup of Central Division rivals.

    Kevin Shattenkirk and Paul Stastny each had a power-play goal and two assists for the Blues, who eliminated the Blackhawks in seven games in the first round of the playoffs in April. Jake Allen had 17 saves in his first game since he became St. Louis' clear No. 1 goaltender with Brian Elliott's June trade to Calgary.

    Richard Panik and Ryan Hartman scored for Chicago, which had six rookies in the starting lineup, including four playing their first NHL game. Corey Crawford finished with 29 saves.

    SHARKS 2, KINGS 1


    SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Brent Burns scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period after Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick left with an injury.

    Logan Couture added a power-play goal and an assist and Martin Jones made 21 saves in San Jose's first real game since losing the Stanley Cup Final to Pittsburgh exactly four months earlier.

    Tyler Toffoli scored a power-play goal in a rough start to the season for the Kings.

    Quick left after stopping 14 of 15 shots in the first period with a lower body injury. He appeared to hurt himself stretching to get to the post to stop a chance by Joe Pavelski late in the period. Jeff Zatkoff replaced him and stopped 15 of 16 shots.

    OILERS 7, FLAMES 4

    EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - Connor McDavid scored two straight goals in the second period and had an assist, lifting Edmonton over Calgary in the first game at Rogers Place.

    Edmonton led the season opener 3-1 after one period on goals by Patrick Maroon, Tyler Pitlick and Zack Kassian. Alex Chiasson had a first-period score for the Flames.

    Troy Brouwer and Michael Frolik scored in the second period to tie it 3-3, but then McDavid got goals with 7:43 and 5:27 left in the second for a two-goal lead - the second score came on a penalty shot.

    First-round pick Jesse Puljujarvi scored for Edmonton in his NHL debut in the third period. Dennis Wideman had the final goal for Calgary, and then Jordan Eberle added an empty-netter.

    Cam Talbot stopped 37 shots for Edmonton.

    Brian Elliott made 21 saves in his first game with the Flames. Elliott was traded from St. Louis to Calgary in the offseason.
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    Preview: Wild (0-0) at Blues (1-0)
    Date: October 13, 2016 8:00 PM EDT

    ST. LOUIS -- Jake Allen did not get much of a chance to celebrate his win in the season-opener for the St. Louis Blues.

    Less than 24 hours after Allen earned the victory in the Blues' 5-2 triumph over the Blackhawks on Wednesday night in Chicago, he will be back in goal when the Blues return home Thursday night to host the Minnesota Wild.

    "It's a great start, still a long ways to go, but heading in the right direction," Allen said. "For us to come out on top in the first game, get momentum and play tomorrow (Thursday) in our home opener, it was huge for us."

    Allen, taking over as the Blues' number-one goalie this season after Brian Elliott was traded to Calgary, faced only 19 shots in the win in Chicago, 10 of which came in the third period. It was the first time the Blues had limited the Blackhawks to less than 20 shots in Chicago since a 17-shot game on Feb. 25, 2007.

    The Blues' offense was led by Vladimir Tarasenko, who had two goals and an assist. His first goal was one of three power-play goals by the Blues, the first time they had done that in a game in Chicago since 2004.

    Kevin Shattenkirk and Paul Stastny also finished with three point nights, each scoring a power-play goal and adding two assists.

    It was the kind of game coach Ken Hitchcock hopes to see often this season.

    "We're looking forward to the emergence of some of these younger guys," Hitchcock said. "It's going to be fun to see. We know there is going to be some rough water, but there also is a ton of growth here."

    Thursday night's game will be the season-opener for the Wild, whose biggest offseason change was bringing in a new coach, Bruce Boudreau, who was fired after coaching at Anaheim for five years.

    Boudreau's first task is to try to get the Wild back into the playoffs, after they finished fifth last year in the Central Division and failed to advance to the postseason for the first time in five years.

    The Wild were 2-3 in the pre-season as they began learning and adapting to Boudreau's system.

    "Those kind of coaches don't come available that often, and we were able to get him and we were able to get him pretty quick," forward Jason Pominville told NHL.com. "He's been around, won a lot of games and usually has a good offensive team. As a player, he was an offensive guy, so he should bring some good ideas to our group."

    One newcomer who could provide an offensive boost is forward Teemu Pulkkinen, 24, who was claimed off waivers from Detroit on Tuesday. He scored 11 goals in 67 games the last two seasons for the Red Wings.

    "He's played a top-six role at every level," Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher told NHL.com. "It remains to be seen whether he can do it at the NHL level, but that's the opportunity we'd like to give him, and we'd certainly like to see if he can do it."
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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