Winnipeg Jets at Minnesota Wild
On the back of a close 2-1 defeat last night in Nashville, the Jets will attempt to become only the second team this season to come away from Xcel Energy Center with a victory. Tonight sees them end a five game road trip over which they've alternated between success and failure, that's been just enough to make them lose some ground on the leaders but coach Paul Maurice is still deserving of very high praise for Winnipeg's current position.
No doubt they've picked their spots though as only Buffalo have scored fewer goals on the year, and I'll maintain they don't have the quality on defence or in net to maintain this for a much longer period. Minnesota are back on home ice after squeaking by Dallas yesterday and consecutive successes have picked the Wild up from their worst run, they're also 4-0 against teams from their own division so far.
Although Minny's defensive record has slipped a little recently they remain very good at controlling the tempo at even strength and against a struggling offence I like their chances. Back the Wild over a -1.5 goal handicap for odds of 2.65.
Montreal Canadiens at Detroit Red Wings
Montreal are back on top of the pile and full of confidence courtesy of a five match winning streak, and they rode a quick start and a sparked up powerplay unit to a 6-3 success over Philadelphia last night.
It's times like this they probably don't want the days off to sap their momentum, and in contrast Detroit have had to sit on their very impressive topping of Chicago on Friday night. David Deshairnais's overtime winner gave the Habs a W in the first contest last month, the current points gap is six though the Red Wings have two games in hand. Their performances took a brief drop as Pavel Datsyuk was forced out of the lineup again but the "Magic Man" suited up two nights ago and is always one to watch even though he's probably not 100%.
The Canadiens have converted on scoring the first goal to a victory every single time and their recent success to actually getting it more often, up until a week ago it was frequently coming up that slow starts had been holding them back. I'm looking forward to a close game however Montreal's odds are just too good for a team going after their sixth win in a row.
Best Bet: Montreal Canadiens to win including overtime at 2.32