Dallas Stars at Chicago Blackhawks
No side in the West has better form than the Stars and the 7-1 mauling of Minnesota last night to wrap a short homestand which overall has boosted their goal differential by +13 only emphasised that further. They might be leaving the sanctity of American Airlines Center but the Blackhawks lost out in the Winter Classic and the last two sides to visit here scored nine goals between them. Chicago's fans have been out in force to vote their boys into five of the six All-Star Team selections which slightly defeats the process, don't get the impression they've been by far and away the best side in the NHL.
Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook took the two defenceman spots and their partnership is central to what is still the top ranked defence despite those recent result, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn will see a lot of them tonight and although it's a tough assignment Seabrook is the weaker link to target. Chicago have had much the better of recent clashes but a team looking for five in a row way out at 4.25 is always worth a look and I'm backing the Stars to pull it off.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Colorado Avalanche
Columbus opened up their 2015 last night by dropping 6-3 in Arizona. With Sergei Bobrovsky chased out of the net last night and this being a back to back it seems likely Curtis McElhinney will get the nob but the backup has just two wins from nine starts this season. I can't quite work the Avalanche's progress out, even though it doesn't feel like they're playing that well they've only suffered two regulation defeats in the last ten which came versus Chicago and St Louis. Patrick Roy has adjusted his lines a few times recently trying to jump start his forward group, I'm at a loss to explain why he won't pair up Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly when they were extremely effective last year. Defensively I think they are improving, you can see that in the number of shots and chances opposition sides are finding and goalie Semyon Varlamov has been good since returning from injury. The Jackets have lost on each of the four occasions they've iced on a consecutive night and I think 2.05 is a fair price on Colorado consigning them to another defeat.
Best Bet: Colorado Avalanche to win at 2.05