Chicago Blackhawks at Montreal Canadiens
As losing conference finalists, both of these clubs were a few wins from playing for the Stanley Cup in June. But they will surely be in the mix this time around as well.
Although they are coming off a very bad loss to Calgary themselves, Montreal should see this is a good time to play Chicago considering their current form. The Blackhawks were shut out by Winnipeg on Sunday, making it two home games in a row in which they've failed to score, all in all it's just two wins from the last seven games for the Cup favourites.
Surprisingly for the amount of talent on their roster lack of offence is the current blighting factor, the Hawks ranked second in the NHL for goals scored per game last year and are right now 26th in that particular statistic at just 2.25. Central to that would be underperformance of their four star forwards; Hossa, Kane, Sharp and Toews, combined they have 12 goals which is only one more than the individual league leader Corey Perry.
I'd say the Canadiens can continue to keep them shackled as their own defensive record is wrecked by two very striking blowouts but for the most part is pretty good. Seems like the time to catch Chicago at a low ebb especially when they're still favourites despite being the road team so back Montreal at 2.70.
Detroit Red Wings at Ottawa Senators
Ottawa could pull to within a point of their Atlantic Division rivals with victory tonight. It won't be easy, though, as Detroit have only suffered two regulation defeats this season and now their big guns are making some noise.
Pavel Datsyuk missed the start of the campaign through injury and his return has been huge contributing ten points in six games, captain Henrik Zetterberg clearly enjoys having his partner in crime around and has experienced a similar upturn in production.
I'd picked out Ottawa to win in their last game on Saturday against Boston and it didn't quite work out in a closely fought contest, their open style can often be to their detriment and the fact captain Erik Karlsson was a -4 on the night.
In that respect a lot hinges on the first goal and getting teams to chase after them so they can use their speed on the rush more readily. Canadian Tire Centre is yet to witness a regulation defeat for the home town Sens and Detroit have been adept at picking up points on the road so I think the right call here is the tie at 3.85.
Best Bet: Montreal Canadiens to win at 2.70.