NHL Betting: 4 Teams That Should Hit The Panic Button Right Now

When the Buffalo Sabres beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in a shootout earlier this week, it was a case where Hurricanes might have been the real winners even though they lost. With Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel projected to go 1-2 in the 2015 NHL Draft, it was Buffalo that moved one step further away from potentially landing one of those two. The Sabres, Hurricanes, and Florida Panthers aren’t contenders anyway, so there really isn’t any reason to worry too much following a slow start. The same can’t be said about the supposed contenders that have struggled out of the gate. 

Here are the four teams that should hit the panic button now. 

Eastern Conference

New York Rangers (1-3-0)

The Rangers opened the year with a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues but things have gone south for them in a hurry since. New York has dropped three in a row to teams that finished below them in the standings a year ago in the Columbus Blue Jackets, Toronto Maple Leafs, and New York Islanders. Even more concerning has been the way they lost those games as they allowed five goals or more and lost by three in each of them. Henrik Lundqvist allowed six goals in each of his last two starts and at 32-years old there is no guarantee that he can continue to perform at an elite level and help the Rangers steal games the way that he has in the past. Injuries have played a role with top center Derek Stepan out of the lineup but there are concerns about the depth at all three levels and it might be time for GM Glen Sather to push the panic button if his team doesn’t get back on track soon.

Philadelphia Flyers (0-2-2)

Former Flyers GM Paul Holmgren addressed his team’s slow start a year ago in house with the firing of then-head coach Peter Laviolette and even though they rallied to make the playoffs Holmgren was replaced by Ron Hextall at the end of the season. Apparently the more things change the more they stay the same and Philadelphia has started slow again with a 0-2-2 start to the year. Hextall hasn’t hinted at changes and it’s unlikely that head coach Craig Berube will be fired but the team simply has to do a better job defensively. The Flyers have given up an average of four goals per game over their last three losses and while Steve Mason hasn’t been elite the team in front of him hasn’t played good enough either.

Western Conference

Edmonton Oilers (0-3-1)

On the subject of things staying the same despite major changes it wouldn’t be unreasonable for Oilers’ fans to think their team will never be a playoff contender again. Despite loading up on top picks over the years a core that features Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and more has not been able to pull Edmonton back in to contention. The Oilers have invested money at both ends of the ice in an effort to upgrade but they are off to another terrible start with the worst goals against average and the worst goal differential in the NHL. Edmonton could tank again in a bid for McDavid or Eichel but given their track record it might not make a difference if they landed either one.

Colorado Avalanche (1-2-1)

It might still be early but many experts had Colorado taking a step back in 2014-15 and the early indications are that it could be a major one. The Avalanche were dominated by a combined 8-0 score in back-to-back losses to the Minnesota Wild to open the season and while they managed to steal a 2-1 win against the Boston Bruins on the road they were back on the losing end of a 3-2 overtime decision against the Toronto Maple Leafs the following night. Colorado has struggled in its own end and it will be on Semyon Varlamov will have to prove he is more than just a one-hit wonder after he put up elite numbers last season. The Avalanche will wrap up a trip across Eastern Canada this weekend before returning home and if they don’t get back on track in a hurry it could be time to push the panic button soon.