We are at the so-called midseason break in the NHL and this Sunday on NBC at 3:30 Eastern, there is the revised format of the All-Star game. This has become more popular with fans and players alike.
Two years ago, the league went to 3-on-3 style tournament with four different teams. Two teams representing the Eastern and Western Conferences will face off against each other, with the two winners squaring off for the championship. The Metropolitan Division will face the Atlantic on the Eastern side of the bracket, while the Central and Pacific Divisions will battle for Western supremacy.
The rosters will include six forwards, three defensemen and two goalies for each team. The festivities are being held at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay and winning team will share a million dollars in prize money.
Eastern Conference Outlook
The NHL odds have the Atlantic Division as opening -120 favorites. The Metropolitan is the reigning champions and they have a loaded roster again. They will have on the ice three elite scorers in Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and John Tavares, all who have always thrived in their careers with so much open space. They will be supported by Josh Bailey (Islanders), Claude Giroux (Flyers) and Taylor Hall (Devils).
The Atlantic will have the home crowd advantage and they will be cheering for the four Tampa Bay players. They are forwards Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos, along with defenseman Victor Hedman and netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Though the Metropolitan is certainly talented, the Lightning can coordinate players and has great free-lancers in Brad Marchand (Bruins), Auston Matthews (Maple Leafs) and Erik Karlsson (Senators), which is why I will lean with Atlantic.