In case you’ve been lazy about following the NHL offseason and the upcoming regular season, we’re here to help you get up to speed.
The NHL Global Series Games are just around the bend. We’ll see the Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, and Tampa Bay Lightning competing against each other internationally. Chicago and Philadelphia will open their seasons on October 4th in Prague, while the Tampa Bay Lightning and Buffalo Sabres will do battle in Stockholm over a two-game series on the 8th and 9th of November.
We now have three consecutive years that the NHL has traveled to Europe for regular-season games, it makes sense since over one-fourth of the NHL’s active players are from outside of the United States and Canada. We don’t have odds on the matchups yet, but we can check the GTbets review to see what kind of NHL options they’ll have this season.
Both of these teams are +3300 to win the Stanley Cup and are evenly matched. Prior to their October 4th meeting, the Blackhawks will play an exhibition game against Eisbaren Berlin on the 29th of September, while the Flyers will collide with Lausanne HC in Switzerland on the 30th.
The Flyers were fairly sleepy throughout the offseason. They are relying on their young corps of players gaining experience as their road to success, instead of making moves for here and now. Conversely, the Blackhawks snagging Robin Lehner is exciting. By all accounts, he didn’t just come to the windy city as a backup netminder. He is there to play and will be actively competing against Corey Crawford for playing time. The best part about this for the Blackhawks fans is they have some serious depth now at goaltender
“I signed here coming to a team that’s a great team – one that should be in the playoffs. I come to compete with a great goaltender.” – Lehner
This bodes well for Chicago throughout the season. If Corey Crawford goes down with concussion again, they’ll have a capable goalie to mind the net. But where does this leave them against the Flyers on the 4th of October?
That’s tough to say, but I would give the advantage to the Blackhawks. The Flyers have lost three of their first four preseason games. They dropped two against the NY Islanders and then got crushed by the Bruins in Philly. They finally got a win over the lowly Rangers in their fourth preseason game of the season. They get the Bruins again in Boston and then finish their preseason schedule against the Rangers in New York. So, they just may finish 1-5.
On the flip side, the Blackhawks have taken three of four. Their one preseason loss – at the time of writing– came in Washington during OT. The Blackhawks took out the Bruins in PS Game 4, who are near the top of the odds boards to win the Stanley Cup this season.
But the Flyers seem to get the better of the Blackhawks and own a 13-5 advantage in the series. So, this will be a fun game to watch.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Buffalo Sabres
The Lighting are considered overpowered by many and they lead the boards to hoist the Stanley Cup this season. So do the Sabres have a shot at beating them in Stockholm? Yes, the Sabres could definitely split wins. Mainly, because the Lightning didn’t do much over the offseason, so Ralph Krueger will know how to prepare. Now that the Sabres finally have Jimmy Vesey, they should be able to net a few more goals over the pair of meetings.
The Lightning have won three of the last four against Buffalo, but the Sabres took a game from them in November of 2018 and then kept it super close, 5-4 on November 29th.
I expect the Sabres and Lighting to go 1-1 in Switzerland.