Caps look like an Under play in Eastern Conference


Alan "Dink" Denkenson, longtime Las Vegas-based professional gambler, taps out his team-by-team thoughts on the Eastern Conference.

Washington Capitals: Points last year 118  … over under 104…. The Caps continued to play every game as if it was a playoff game and again tailed off when the real playoffs began… they will have a different attitude this year… They have lost some key players, Ovechkin continues to tail off…Oshie overachieved….More importantly they were the healthiest team by far in the NHL last year..the only way to go is down…Can they miss the playoffs?? perhaps ….UNDER.


Pittsburgh Penguins: Points last year 111….over under 105 1/2… A little older but Jake Guentzel is a special young player.. Letang missed an awful lot of time last year and is healthy… They play to peak in March so they leave some points on the table early in the year….Lean over but PASS.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Points last year 108…. over under 97…. The biggest surprise to some as they finally exceeded expectations when everyone just about gave up on them…Their offense is okay, their defense strong, maybe even very strong… Boone Jenner being  injured hurts…Bobrovsky is solid, the back up not so much..Expect a slight drop but not 11 points …. OVER.

Montreal Canadians: Points last year 103 … over under 971/2 …… lose Radulov….pick up Drouin …both prolific one way players so we will call that a push….Starting a 19 year old on the number one defensive unit.. Mete is an offensive player so the team should score more and give up more as well..Very little depth all over and will depend on key players and a goalie to continue to stand on his head… what could go wrong …A lot……UNDER.

Ottawa Senators: Points last year 98…..over under 90… Only one goal away from the Stanley Cup finals last year despite everyone picking them to fail…How did they do it ??  Smoke and mirrors with a ton of luck…They scored 2 less goals than they allowed  which is a good sign they were average at best…Karlsson is the most important player to any team in hockey and he is hurt and will likely get hurt again and again…. 90 seems a little high but it is slightly below the par and that is where I see this team…PASS.

Boston Bruins: Points last year 95……over under 92 1/2…..A hard team for me to gauge … Marchand and Pastrnak overachieved but maybe not…Bergeron played hurt for the first half of the season… There is a changing in the guard towards younger defensemen and that is always an x factor… I think the number is cheap as some decline is expected in other teams … OVER SMALL.

N.Y. Rangers: Points last year 102……….over under 95 1/2…..They have many talented players but there is an overabundance of aging players here….Shattenkirk will help big time…They take a big drop off in backup goalie… Starting healthy…..Number seems about right … PASS.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Points last year 95 …..over under  97 …. They improved hugely with the addition of kids….Everyone knows about Matthews but Marner is great and there are several
others with potential to make a further leap…..the offense is scary good, the defense needs improvement before they hit top tier but they are pretty close to it…..OVER.

N.Y. Islanders: Points last year 94…. over under 89 1/2…. Never thought they were at full throttle until the very end of the season when they put it together for a decent run at the playoffs..Not sure why they should regress…Goaltending is very iffy but if you know me, you know I feel goalies are overrated…not a very popular opinion there…..This team could go in either direction but they have no good reason to regress five points…..OVER SMALL.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Points last year 94…..over under 103……. Losing your best player will gut a team and that is exactly what happened when Stamkos went down last year…it seemed to cause almost everyone to regress some from their expected production… So many good players on this squad and the depth is more than decent…. Defense above average…Starting goalie is not a problem…Backup meh.. Predict they will be the elite in the East this year. …. PASS.

Philadelphia Flyers: Points last year 88……over under 90 1/2………I always like this team but they consistently lighten my wallet…. Great offense weak defense [ especially the defensive part of defense ] ..the goalie situation is questionable… I always liked Neuvirth and never liked Elliot but Neuvirth was shaky last season….Contradictions abound  … PASS.

Carolina Hurricanes: Points last year 87…..over under  93…..The corsi darlings of the hockey analytics believers [ i am so-so with hockey analytics until they improve on shot selection]…They just seem to flounder below expectations every season… Aho might be a rising star and Darling might improve the goaltending but still think that they need more scoring power …Average team with close to an average over under projection … PASS.

Florida Panthers: Points last year 81 …..over under 86….What do you do with a team who has two great players who get injured year after year?  i don't know, i was asking you….If they can stay healthy they should get about 90 points but that seems to be a big if…Their goaltending is iffy at best as it is questionable if Luongo, at this age, is a better goalie or a poker player…Note he is a very good poker player…………PASS OR OVER SMALL.

Detroit Red Wings: Points last year  79……….over under 77 1/2 …it is sad to see what one of the great organizations of any sport has become…they were a bottom feeder last season and are correctly projected to be a bottom feeder again unless Tater and Nyquist find their game…Zetterberg a year older, Larkin regressed, the defense is weak and the goalies are subpar…Hate to go under 77 1/2 since you can be a bad team and crack that total but …. UNDER SMALL.

Buffalo Sabres: Points last year 78…..over under 88 1/2… Huge jumps of ten or more points are difficult but when your best player goes down [ and he was compared to McDavid ] you can justify it…Okposo returns from a scary situation and there is talent all over the place, albeit unproven or aging talent..Seems like a good number as they have to jump some good teams to get in the playoffs… Hard team to gauge so let's just…………..PASS.

N.J. Devils: Points last year 70…..over under 75 1/2 ….Living proof that good goaltending is overrated the team was an epic failure last year….Considering I had season tickets for three years before upgrading to the Rangers { i was there for the " eat another donut you fat pig " year} it was sad to see….Hall couldn't find the right linemates and the rest of the team, for the most part, wasn't any good on paper or on the ice..I like Henrique some and expect a good year from him….But the number seems right and sadly it's another …. PASS.

You can find Alan on Twitter at @dinkinc. If you do well using these plays, you should know that Alan's favorite charity is the Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue.