Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning
The battle for the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference titles goes on and these two are in the thick of it. Before their most recent clash a week ago Tampa coach Jon Cooper talked about an emerging pattern of his side always beating Montreal, Montreal having supremacy over Boston and Boston owning the Lightning. The trend continued with Tampa's 1-0 overtime win and the Canadiens have scored just three goals across the three meetings. Combined Tyler Johnson and Steven Stamkos have six tallies within the season series so Montreal's top lines need to step up and compete.
Jason Garrison has quietly had an excellent season for Tampa and depth on defence is an advantage for them when the large majority of the Habs' blueline points come from PK Subban or Andrei Markov. Montreal must be fired up to get one over their rivals when a potential playoff series looms, they brushed off the New York Islanders on Saturday to restore their two point lead. Injuries to Braydon Coburn and Ondrej Palat are significant to Tampa but I still think value is with the Lightning to strike again at 2.12.
Arizona Coyotes at Los Angeles Kings
It'd be a huge upset if Arizona can pull this one off, the start with odds of 5.75 to win. I'd say they're justified when the Coyotes have won just once in fifteen games and have sliding down for even longer. They can claim a win over the Kings already this season but that came back in the first week - the next two times they've been dismantled by the cup holders. LA saw a five game point streak at the weekend but could still be in a playoff spot by the end of the night. Clutch scorers like Justin Williams and Marian Gaborik are coming to the fore and that's good news if they do make the postseason.
One area they do need to improve is converting from winning positions which has often been their hallmark. As the Coyotes can barely score more than a goal a game at the moment I can't see them making an impression against a defence which allows so few chances. LA simply can't afford to miss these two points so back them over the -1.5 goal handicap at 1.90.
Best Bet: Tampa Bay Lightning to win at 2.12.