NHL Betting: Blackhawks to cause an Avalanche in Colorado

The "I told you so" brigade are very much out for a Colorado Avalanche as they have lost their surprise Central division lead courtesy of a three game winless streak.

In their defence they dropped the first two out on the road but far more damning was the limp effort in a 4-1 home defeat to Florida three days ago. It's come at a bad time too as tonight's contest with Chicago kicks off a stretch where they will face five of the six clubs above them in the West.

But it doesn't help in the short term as they are deprived of their leading scorer tonight; Matt Duchene's abdominal injury means he'll only miss a week, Alex Tanguay missing action has also had a significant impact and Patrick Roy's reshuffled lines are searching for chemistry.

A bizarre thumping in Nashville aside, the Blackhawks have had a superb November averaging just over four goals a game, trading to bring Kris Versteeg back was a great move adding even more depth to a stacked offence. As it's the first of five scheduled meetings these two will get to know each other very well over the coming months, back Chicago to seize the upper hand in the head to head.

In the aftermath of Steven Stamkos' leg break the Tampa Bay Lightning rallied to back to back wins but were emphatically reminded of the task in hand by Phoenix at the weekend via a 6-3 loss.

Next up they will try to shock LA who have 11 points from the last 12 available, currently riding a victory streak of three they are back at Staples Center where they will be even tougher to beat.

Ben Scrivens hasn't been beaten in 155 minutes of hockey and covered immensely for a stunted couple of attacking efforts by the skaters, put them on home ice and their goals for record along with their general offensive confidence is much improved.

Dustin Brown and Justin Williams haven't really stepped up in the absence of their purest scorer Jeff Carter, his rookie replacement is doing Tyler Toffoli is doing the business with 8 points in 7.

It's an interesting physical matchup as LA are unsurprisingly one of the leading teams in hits, the Lightning's blueline core isn't adverse to throwing the body but upfront they are more reliant on speed than size. Tampa can be unpredictable and goalie Ben Bishop's status ahead of the game is questionable, take a win for the Kings at 2.05 for the safe option.

Best Bet: Chicago Blackhawks to overcome a -1.5 handicap at 3.50.

Read more by Unibet columnist Mike Fuller.