All have welcomed the return to a more traditional NHL season in 2022-22 following the Coronavirus pandemic that struck the previous two years. This was especially welcome by North-of-the-border teams.
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Because of cross-border travel restrictions, all Canadian teams were placed in the same division. Each team only played against other divisional teams last season. The “North” Division is now disbanded, and intra-divisional matches are back.
- This doesn’t mean that everyone isn’t interested in the best team in Canada.
- If a Canadian team is struggling, six other fan bases will jump in to support them.
Despite some disappointments in the beginning of the campaign, most of the seven Canadian franchises have begun strongly, particularly the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are flying high at the Atlantic Division of Eastern Conference.
The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers have knocked on the door of the Western Conference Pacific Division top spot, but the Vancouver Canucks continue their struggle, while the Winnipeg Jets remain solidly in the Central Division.
The Eastern is back in the spotlight. Less is more about the Ottawa Senators or Montreal Canadiens. Both teams have struggled to start the new campaign, and they are yet to reach double digits for wins.
With an increase in Covid cases throughout North America, it may not be the best thing to look forward to the fixtures. Canadiens are now in position to win a string of victories after the postponement against Bruins.
Flames had to cancel three of their games against the Blue Jackets (Ducks), and the Kraken.
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As long as no additional fixtures are lost due to restrictions, the Maple Leafs’ assault on the top of their division appears set to continue when the Maple Leafs take on the struggling Canucks or Kraken in their next two fixtures. They’ll likely be able to pick up two important wins before facing a more difficult assignment against the St Louis Blues in December.
Canadiens are hoping to climb off the bottom of the table quickly and their matches against New York Islanders (and the New Jersey Devils) will provide them with the perfect opportunity. They’ve lost 21 of 31 games thus far and have had a terrible start to the season. The odds are against them.
The Senators are also in a similar bad position to the Canadiens. It doesn’t appear like things will improve anytime soon with upcoming fixtures against St Louis Blues, Boston Bruins, and Philadelphia Flyers.
It’s hard to predict how the Winnipeg Jets or Vancouver Canucks will fare during the holiday period, with the Western Conference standings at the lower-middle. The Canucks have a six-game winning streak that has lifted them to the top of the Western Conference standings. They will be looking to extend their win streak against the San Jose Sharks and Arizona Coyotes.
The only thing that needs to be overcome is a fixture against Maple Leafs.
The Jets will face stiff opposition in the form St Louis Blues or Nashville Predators next. They could also be switching with the Canucks.
Edmonton won 5-2 over the Blue Jackets to end a six-match losing streak and move back into the top half. Calgary is still third after four consecutive defeats.
The Oilers are poised to surpass the Flames with their enforced break. Four of their five fixtures will be against teams below them in Conference standings. The Anaheim Ducks, who are at the joint-top of standings, could be a difficult test.
Both hockey fans from both sides of the border can find the best odds for the expected wins of Maple Leafs, Oilers, and the likely defeat of Senators and Canadiens at gambling.com. There, if they’re loyal, there are also some attractive odds in the win markets.
Hockey is a popular sport in Canada that you can watch, play and wager on. The Canadian Hockey Federation is currently reassessing its laws regarding single- and multiple-game betting. However, they are unlikely to make any significant changes.
It doesn’t matter if you are a fervent NHL fan or a novice to betting on hockey, it can be exciting and difficult to wager on NHL odds. It is worth looking for the best sports betting services in your provinces or signing up at an online sportsbook to get the best NHL odds.
While watching and betting on the NHL’s immediate future rounds may be difficult due to the changing rules of the pandemic and potential fixture cancellations, it doesn’t stop us from enjoying a time-hop back in the past.
We take a look at five of the most successful Canadian teams in the history…
1. 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers
The 84-85 Oilers won a second consecutive championship under the leadership of the greatest player ever. Wayne Gretzky finished a league-high 208 point regular season, ranking first on the scoring charts at 49-20-11. The Stanley Cup final saw the Flyers win 4-1 over Gretzky, ending a playoff streak that had only three losses.
Gretzky set NHL playoff records in assists (30) as well as points (47) for a single postseason. Coffey scored 12 goals, had 25 assists, and was credited with 37 points. These were all NHL records for a defenceman. Kurri had 19 goals and tied the NHL record for the most goals in a single playoff year.
This team is ranked high because of the confidence and swagger that they displayed after their first success in the previous year.
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2. 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens
This Canadiens team really pulled the 84-85 Oilers close on this list. They had a great regular season, going 60-8-12 and scoring 132 points. No other team has ever lost less in an 80-game regular-season. They were led by Yvan Counoyer, and even though he didn’t play in the playoffs, the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup Finals sweep of the Boston Bruins with a playoff record 12-2.
The Canadiens had an amazing season. This was a reason why they could be considered joint best with the Oilers team. They lost only one of their 40 home games. They scored an NHL high 387 and conceded an NHL low 171. 11 future Hockey Hall of Famer were featured and the Canadiens recorded 132 points, which is still a record 40 years later.
3. 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers
The beginning of the dynasty: the Oilers, Presidents’ Trophy-winning Oilers beat the Islanders in five games to win their first Stanley Cup title. This was almost a decade ago. They won four consecutive championships and 19 consecutive titles.
This team had three 50-goal scorers, Gretzky (87), Kurri (52) & Glenn Anderson (54). Gretzky was the team’s most successful player, scoring 205 points. This is way ahead of anyone else.
The Oilers won the Stanley Cup with a record of 57-18-5 and had the most points in NHL history. They were young, bold, and highly-talented.
4. 1987-88 Edmonton Oilers
The 80’s Oilers were the most successful team, scoring more goals than any other. But the 1987-88 season brought new dimensions to the game. The Oilers showed that, while still scoring goals, they were able to take a more tough approach and show, as champions, that they can win in any style.
The team finished second in the Smythe division, behind Calgary Flames. It was also the first time since 1980-81 that they had not achieved 100 points or topped the scoring charts. Gretzky was only able to play in 64 games due to injury.
Edmonton won the postseason with a dominant 16-2 record. To cement their greatness, they defeated the Flames in Smythe Division Final, and then beat the Boston Bruins in Cup Final, which was the third-best defense team in the NHL.
5. Montreal Canadiens
1977-78 The second Montreal Canadiens team that made our list is their 1977-78 squad. They were led by Scotty Bowman, a hall of fame coach. They had a 59-10-11 year and were the best on both ends of ice.
In the 1970’s, the Canadiens were the dominant team. They won four consecutive titles, and this was their third. With a league record 359 goals and 183 losses, they easily beat the Boston Bruins in six games.
The 77-78 edition was just as good as the other four and there were fifteen players who wore the same uniforms for all four teams. This meant that all their opponents knew they would be beaten by the perfect mix of role players and superstars on one of the most prestigious teams in history.
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These are the five teams representing two Canadian franchises, which are widely regarded as being among the best in NHL legends. It is possible that another team from North America will join them in the annals.