The Vancouver Canucks against the Colorado Avalanche may no longer be a high-pressure divisional match but there's still enough history and bad blood between the two franchise to make tonight's contest an intriguing one.
Both clubs come in exhibiting good form with the Avalanche immediately managing to shrug off an 8-2 crushing from Edmonton earlier in the week. Vancouver have been winning mostly on the road and their record at Rogers Arena isn't where they'd want it to be.
A solid idea for the Canucks would be to ensure they score first as Colorado have gone on to win all 17 in which they've taken the initial lead. It's easy to see why. It breathes confidence into their young forwards, as well as opening the game up and allowing them to use their speed.
Recently it's been captain Gabe Landeskog and first overall pick Nathan MacKinnon being the chief difference makers, though noticeably squeezing through tight contests has been much more common than running up the scoreline. The Avs have been confounding sceptics all season and the price of 3.15 on them has to be worth it.
After back-to-back defeats in which they conceded five goals the San Jose Sharks will want to close out a short road trip in solid fashion but they'll have to upset Minnesota's excellent record at Xcel Energy Center to do so.
Cutting out the errors that led to a third period collapse on Friday is paramount for the Sharks as Minnesota's offence is unlikely to be able to compete with them unless they get some help.
Wild goalie Josh Harding has been their best player this season and when he was given the night off on Friday the rest of his teammates ended up taking one too as they were on the wrong end of a 4-0 hiding in Columbus. Home ice remains a solace where they've scored 45 goals compared to 26 on unfamiliar ice.
Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise and Jason Pominville's top unit also makes up their top three point scorers so they do struggle when that trio doesn't perform. Further down Dany Heatley continues to be a shadow of his former self as well as a huge salary dump. Having already beaten Chicago at home this week and most other teams for that matter I think the Wild are too good to pass up to at 2.70 to extend San Jose's short blip.
Back Colorado Avalanche to win at 3.15
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