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Preseason Odds: Who do you think will win each division?

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‘Tis the season for prognostication. With a steady flow of previews flowing around the internet, everyone is trying to figure out what we can expect from the upcoming NHL season. Some are trying to figure out where their favorite team will finish? Some want bragging rights with friends and others want to know if they should start saving for playoff tickets.

Then there are the people that want to get paid. In what has almost become an annual tradition, gambling sites are starting to release their NHL odds for the upcoming season. We’ve already seen that Bodog.com has tabbed the Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals as the favorites for each conference.

Today, we break down each division (Note: All add courtesy of Bodog)

Despite all of the changes in Philadelphia, the Flyers are still the favorite to win the Atlantic Division. Somewhat surprisingly, there’s more faith in the Devils (and their second-half run) than the New York Rangers.

Odds to win the 2012 Atlantic Division
Philadelphia Flyers: 6/5
Pittsburgh Penguins: 13/10
New Jersey Devils: 15/2
New York Rangers: 9/1
New York Islanders: 25/1

In the Northeast Division, the defending Stanley Cup champions are favored to repeat as Northeast Division champs. They also seem to like the Sabres with all of the moves they’ve made in the offseason to strengthen the team—obviously they were big fans of the Ales Kotalik waiver.

Odds to win the 2012 Northeast Division
Boston Bruins: 5/4
Buffalo Sabres: 3/2
Montreal Canadiens: 5/1
Toronto Maple Leafs: 12/1
Ottawa Senators: 20/1

The Tampa Bay Lightning took the next step last season when they were within 60 minutes and a single goal from the Stanley Cup final. Unfortunately, for fans in Tampa, that doesn’t mean much as the Washington Capitals are still the prohibitive favorites. On the other end of the spectrum, the odds makers managed to remember that the Winnipeg Jets are still just the Atlanta Thrashers in new jerseys.

Odds to win the 2012 Southeast Division
Washington Capitals: 2/5
Tampa Bay Lightning: 9/4
Carolina Hurricanes: 15/1
Winnipeg Jets: 30/1
Florida Panthers: 30/1

It’s no surprise that the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks are expected to be good next season. But for people following the offseason hype machine, it might come as a little bit of a surprise that the Columbus Blue Jackets are tied as the longest of long shots to win their own division. Do you think it’s because people aren’t used to believing in the Blue Jackets or did they make the wrong moves this offseason?

Odds to win the 2012 Central Division
Detroit Red Wings: 10/11
Chicago Blackhawks: 11/5
Nashville Predators: 15/4
St Louis Blues: 16/1
Columbus Blue Jackets: 30/1

The Vancouver Canucks are the favorite to win the Northwest Division? The only thing shocking here is that the they are only 1/8 favorites! It would be interesting to see what the odds would be for a team to come within 10 points of the Canucks this season.

Odds to win the 2012 Northwest Division
Vancouver Canucks: 1/8
Calgary Flames: 13/2
Edmonton Oilers: 20/1
Minnesota Wild: 25/1
Colorado Avalanche: 25/1

It’s a two-horse race in the Pacific between the Kings and Sharks. Apparently, the odds makers have their doubts about the Sharks being able to improve upon their back-to-back Western Conference final appearances. And once again, no one believes in the Coyotes.

Odds to win the 2012 Pacific Division
Los Angeles Kings: 3/2
San Jose Sharks: 8/5
Anaheim Ducks: 6/1
Phoenix Coyotes: 15/2
Dallas Stars: 17/2

What do you think of these odds? Are there any long-shots stick out to you as teams who could make a run at their divisional crown? Are there any favorites who are getting more love than they should? As always, we’d love to hear what you think in the comments.

PHT Morning Skate: Tarasenko gives young fan an unforgettable birthday gift

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Vladimir Tarasenko gave 11-year-old fan Arianna Dougan the birthday gift of a lifetime. Dougan, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was three, was given a trip for two on the team’s charter flight to Arizona and Colorado for her 11th birthday. “I was crying in the background,” said Arianna’s mom, Lorie Zucker. “She’s so over the moon she doesn’t realize what she’s got yet. It won’t hit home until she gets in the car. This has been the best birthday ever.” (NHL.com/Blues)

–To many, Mike Babcock or Joel Quenneville being the best coaches in hockey is a foregone conclusion. But what if they’re not? Yahoo’s Ryan Lambert makes a case for Wild bench boss Bruce Boudreau. “Boudreau didn’t inherit a sleeping giant of any sort when he took this job. The Wild were decent. He turned them into a team that’s not quite among the elites of the league, but is certainly a very good team that could do some damage in the playoffs.” (Yahoo)

–At one point, it looked like the Carolina Hurricanes were going to make a serious push for a playoff spot, but they quickly faded and went back to being a non-contending team. If the Oilers make the playoffs this year, the Hurricanes would own the longest playoff drought in the NHL. Sportsnet’s Luke Fox explains that the ‘Canes need to sacrifice some of their depth on defense so they can acquire an offensive weapon up front. (Sportsnet)

–Don’t look now, but the Florida Panthers are making a serious run at a playoff spot. The team turned the corner once they got injured forward Jonathan Huberdeau back into their lineup and they haven’t looked back. In the 51 games he missed, the Panthers scored just 2.33 goals per game. Since he’s been back, they’re averaging over four goals per game. (The Hockey News)

–Former NHLer Jeremy Roenick knows what it feels like to be traded. Roenick told SI.com that the first trade he experienced was “horrifying”. He also described just how tough it is to go to battle with a team one day and be on a different squad the next. (Sports Illustrated)

–On Monday, the Calgary Flames acquired Michael Stone from the Arizona Coyotes. A few hours after the deal, Flames forward Mikael Backlund posted this funny tweet about Stone running him over when they were in junior:

Little-known Langhamer spurns Ducks comeback for Coyotes

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 14:  Ryan Getzlaf #15 of the Anaheim Ducks skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on January 14, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. The Ducks defeated the Coyotes 3-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Both of Monday’s games could have gone beyond regulation, yet the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks were left kicking themselves after failing to generate standings points.

In the case of the Ducks, they simply couldn’t overcome a lousy start to the Arizona Coyotes. They erased most of a 3-0 deficit but ultimately fell 3-2 on Monday.

Again, it was an ugly opening for Anaheim.

Randy Carlyle turned to John Gibson to start the second period and the red-hot goalie didn’t give up a goal; even so, his strong work wasn’t rewarded with anything but nice numbers.

Ryan Getzlaf scored both of Anaheim’s goals, including one with less than 30 seconds remaining in the third period and the Ducks’ net empty. You’d think that would be the end of the drama, but that wasn’t the case.

Mike Smith needed to leave the net during the third, likely because of a collision with Jakob Silfverberg. (Sounds like he’s OK, though.)

This forced Marek Langhamer to close out the game, meaning he had to deal with Anaheim’s endgame barrage. That included making quite the clutch stop against Sami Vatanen, spurning quite the attempt to tie:

Wow.

A quick primer on Langhamer: he was a seventh-round pick by the Coyotes (then Phoenix, 184th overall in 2012). He’s spent chunks of this season in both the AHL and ECHL, so this must be quite the moment for the 22-year-old.

As cool as that story is, the Ducks have to be kicking themselves. Instead of going ahead of the Edmonton Oilers for the second spot in the Pacific, both teams remain locked at 72 points (with Edmonton holding two games in hand).

Coyotes fans might have mixed feelings about the returns for Michael Stone, but beating their division rivals had to feel like a resounding win.

Yes, the Florida Panthers are indeed on fire

SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 09:  Michael Sgarbossa #48 of the Florida Panthers is congratulated after scoring a goal during a game against the Los Angeles Kings at BB&T Center on February 9, 2017 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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The Florida Panthers are on a ridiculous roll right now. They’re even hotter than the also-quite-hot St. Louis Blues.

You could practically hear the air leave the building in St. Louis as Vincent Trocheck‘s goal made it 2-1 with just five seconds remaining in regulation. To little surprise, that ended up being the final score on Monday in what was otherwise quite the goaltending duel between James Reimer and Jake Allen.

The Panthers won all five games of what seemed to be a harrowing road trip on paper:

Feb. 11: 7-4 win against Predators
Feb. 15: 6-5 OT win against Sharks
Feb. 17: 4-1 win against Ducks
Feb. 18: 3-2 win vs. Kings
Tonight: 2-1 win over St. Louis

The Panthers now face a four-game homestand to close out February and also play seven of eight in Florida. (Actually, eight of nine, as they close out that run by visiting the Lightning on March 11).

Anyway, the Cats are in the catbird seat, and they finish the night back in front of the Boston Bruins for third in the Atlantic Division:

1. Canadiens – 70 points in 59 GP
2. Senators: 68 in 57
3. Panthers – 66 in 58

Bruins – 66 in 59
Maple Leafs – 65 in 58
Sabres – 62 in 60
Lightning – 60 in 58
Red Wings – 58 in 59

As you can see, games in hand stand as Florida’s advantage over Boston, but with the Bruins holding the second wild card spot, the Panthers’ position in the playoff picture is clear (if vulnerable).

Again, it wasn’t like the Panthers outright dominated the Blues.

St. Louis and Florida both looked sharp in this one, but the Blues have lost two straight games in regulation after reeling off a six-game winning streak. With a ton of road games on the docket through the next month, the Blues will just need to keep fighting.

At least Mike Yeo has an easy team to point to in explaining how the Blues can overcome such challenges.

Video: Reimer, Allen shut down dangerous one-timers

SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 09:  James Reimer #34 of the Florida Panthers makes a save during a game against the Los Angeles Kings at BB&T Center on February 9, 2017 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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In an ideal world, goalie equipment wouldn’t be such an issue. Teams would be able to “get goalies moving” with great passing and chances just about no one could stop.

Then again, there are also those saves that a select handful of humans can pull off. A big reason why there’s only been one goal between the Panthers and Blues tonight is the lateral movement shown by both James Reimer and Jake Allen.

First, watch as Reimer robs Jori Lehtera on what’s likely the save of the night:

Allen really hasn’t been that far behind Reimer, right down to making a similar stop:

Considering the two nearly identical one-timer goals scored by Arizona against Anaheim in finding seams for big passes through opposing defenses, tonight’s goalies might want to do some extra stretching during intermissions.