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First impressions as hockey returns

By Andy MacNeil  () 

It’s great to have hockey back, but bettors must temper their expectations and trust their preseason projections. Therefore, this is a great time to share my thoughts on what we’ve seen thus far in each of the four divisions.

East Division

After a pair of wins in their back-to-back set against rival Pittsburgh late last week, the Philadelphia Flyers were generating buzz. However, that was before they started this week by getting blown out by the Buffalo Sabres. Of course, the Flyers were without their best player, Sean Couturier, but this team is supposed to be deep, right? Carter Hart was outplayed by Carter Hutton, and the Sabres generated 2.5 expected goals to the 1.5 the Flyers accumulated. Couturier is expected to miss about two weeks, which means the Flyers have a good opportunity to prove me wrong.

Speaking of the Sabres, the Washington Capitals handed them a couple of losses to start the season, but Buffalo put forth an admirable effort in the second game and probably deserved to win. Despite that and their win over the Flyers, bettors should approach with caution. The Sabres are improved, but the goaltending is still a huge question mark. The Sabres need to string together more than a few strong performances before I will buy in and adjust my power rating.

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