Boston Bruins at Minnesota Wild
A cross conference contest between two teams level on 33 points that have mostly been acquired at home. Minnesota have two games in hand but have been stagnating of late after bizarrely managing to alternate between wins and losses all the way back to November 22nd, it'll need to be a victory here to maintain that pattern coming off an close defeat in Chicago last night.
It's also much better form than the Bruins can boast with just one victory in December and two through the previous ten games, whilst there's no panic just yet the club who are second in line odds-wise to win the East currently do not occupy a playoff spot. Significant injuries to David Krejci and Zdeno Chara have deprived Claude Julien of significant leadership for long periods as he continues to transition in younger players, captain Chara is back now at least to solidify their underperforming defence.
Since the beginning of last month the Bruins have averaged 3.75 goals against on the road which doesn't bode well when the Wild have found some scoring form of late. Zach Parise has been leading from the front but instead of Thomas Vanek and Mikko Koivu grabbing the goals alongside him it's Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker providing the cutting edge. Back Minnesota to use that attacking edge to get through at 2.25.
Dallas Stars at Vancouver Canucks
Searching for a solution to a four game winless stretch, the Canucks are looking inward for the first time this season. Already in a bad situation, they conceded three times in the opening seven minutes on the way to a 5-1 humbling from the NY Rangers last time out. Starting Eddie Lack would be my suggestion as the Swede has posted better numbers than Ryan Miller despite almost all of his opportunities to shine coming on the second night of a back to back. Dallas can't find any momentum despite averaging close to three goals a game because they're carrying the worst defence in the NHL, that shows up most on their travels as in the last four road games they've conceded a total of 21 times.
It's not enough at the other end that Tyler Seguin has goals in four straight games to lead the individual points category and is now far outstripping his partnership with Jamie Benn to be considered at an elite level on his own. Both clubs average 2.90 goals for per game yet there's 11 points between them in the standings, take Vancouver to bank on their greater stability to gain the spoils.
Best Bet: Vancouver Canucks to win at 1.95.