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Florida won the Presidents' Trophy last season
  1. NHL

Weekend Preview

The New York Rangers face the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday aiming to make it three for three to start the season.

Rangers are -105 to be victorious and the Jets -115 in what will be their home opener.

New York came into the new campaign aiming to continue the form which saw them reach the Eastern Conference Final last season and that they have done. 

They beat their conquerors in the Final Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 on their home opening night before scoring seven on the road to beat the Minnesota Wild 7-3. 

Artemi Panarin has scored five points in the two games (1 goal, four assists) which joint leads the NHL. 

The 30-year-old led the Rangers for points last season with 96 (22 goals, 74 assists) in 75 games. Top goal-scorer Kris Kreider (52 goals in 81 games) has also picked up where he left off scoring twice in the emphatic win over the Wild. 

The challenge of containing New York's high-octane offense will be a good opportunity for new Jets coach Rick Bowness to access how effectively his team are able to deploy the improved defensive structure much talked about over training camp. 

Battle of Alberta 

In one of the most exciting playoff series for many a year, the Oilers beat the Flames in five games to progress to the Western Conference Final last season. 

On Sunday in Edmonton, the pair of Stanley Cup contenders collide again, both with a new look.

Calgary (+1500 to win the Stanley Cup in 2022/23) lost top scorers Johnny Gaudreau (to Columbus Blue Jackets) and Matthew Tkachuk (to Florida Panthers) following the playoff exit and they were replaced by Jonathan Huberdeau (via trade from Panthers) and Nazem Kadri (free agent from Colorado Avalanche). 

Each registered an assist on their competitive debut as a Flame in an impressive 5-3 home win over the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Avalanche.

Top-four defenceman MacKenzie Weegar was also acquired in the trade which saw Tkachuk move to Florida and Huberdeau the other way and he had two assists.

With a hat-trick by superstar Connor McDavid, the Oilers won their season opener 5-3 against the Vancouver Canucks which saw a debut for netminder Jack Campbell. 

Campbell, 30-years-old, was signed to a five-year, $25million contract by Edmonton in the summer to replace 40-year-old Mike Smith.

The former Toronto Maple Leaf made 33 saves (.917 save-percentage) to record his first of what he hopes to be many wins for the Oilers.

Edmonton scored on three of four powerplays and with the talent each side possesses, staying out of the box will be key for both teams in Sunday's match-up.

Lightning aim to strike back

After being denied a third straight Stanley Cup by the Avalanche, the Lightning vowed to immediately strike back (+1200 to win the Stanley Cup in 2022/23).

Game one of the challenge to re-capture their title didn't go to plan, however, with Coach Jon Cooper bemoaning their lack of execution which will be the main area of focus on Saturday against Gaudreau's Blue Jackets. 

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NHL - Winnipeg Jets season preview

Columbus (+475) to make the playoffs, and -700 to not) began their season with a 4-1 defeat to the much fancied (+1000 to win the Stanley Cup) Carolina Hurricanes.

To further compound their misery, high-scoring forward Patrik Laine was injured and is expected to miss 4-3 weeks with an elbow sprain. 

Laine scored Columbus' only goal against the Hurricanes and his new partnership with Gaudreau looked as exciting as expected. But the pair will have to wait to be re-united again which will come as a relief to the Lightning and St. Louis Blues (+2200 to win the Stanley Cup) who the Blue Jackets face on Saturday. 

Newbies have higher expectations

The NHL's two newest franchises Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken meet on Sunday, each with high aspirations for an improved 2022/23 season. 

Vegas failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in their five-year history last season, which led to the firing of coach Peter DeBoer and hiring of Bruce Cassidy who departed the Boston Bruins following six years.

Aiming to replicate the Golden Knights' success of their inaugural season (2017/18) when they went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final with their expansion drafted team, the Kraken fell way short in their debut campaign finishing last in the Pacific Division with a 27-49-6 record. 

Coming into the season, Vegas (+1600) had concern over the goaltending position with number-one Robin Lehner ruled out for the entirety. However, in two victories to start the year 25-year-old Logan Thompson has eased those worries by making 54 saves on 57 shots (a league leading .947 save-percentage).

The Kraken also had goalie questions to answer with number-one Philipp Grubauer struggling badly in his debut season in Seattle.

His 22 saves on 27 shots (.815 save-percentage) in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks on opening night did little to inspire confidence of an improved 2022/23.

To the contrary, in a first outing for new partner Martin Jones in game two (signed from Philadelphia Flyers), he was superb stopping 26 of 27 shots (.963 save-percentage) in a 4-1 win over Los Angeles Kings and will hope to get the nod again against the Golden Knights.

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