New York Islanders at New Jersey Devils
The Islanders make the short trip across the East and Hudson rivers aiming to continue their recent supremacy over the Devils, this is their third clash of the season and New York have banked both victories so far. Before a couple of road defeats this week they'd won seven of nine to stay right with Pittsburgh at the head of the Metro Division. New Jersey hit the ice last night and were limited to no goals and just 14 shots by the Boston Bruins, facing an energetic side like the Isles isn't an ideal scenario on the second night of a back to back.
A shout out to Patrik Elias who secured his 1000th NHL point earlier in the week all coming with the same franchise, the Czech has been an exceptionally consistent performer over his career and has a goal in their last two home outings where the offensive issues are less prominent. The Devils have only won twice all year when their opponent has netted more than twice and with Cory Schneider likely to get the night off it seems a tough ask to keep New York quiet. Even though they are shorter odds than I was expecting can't see past the Isles at 2.12.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Toronto Maple Leafs
A losing start on Wednesday for Maple Leafs interim coach Peter Horachek, but know he's had a couple of practices to at least begin preparing the team in his image, the quote "too many guys on this team don't want to play defence" suggests he knows where the problems lie.
Many have used that to further their criticism of Phil Kessel and whilst the winger isn't without his flaws I'd like to see him paired up with a centreman on his talent level who can act as a perfect foil. Columbus roll in to town riding a pair of wins away at Colorado and Dallas no doubt with a gameplan designed to frustrate Air Canada Centre even further, they've only seen their team twice since December 16th yet across that 120 minutes of hockey there's been 13 goals conceded. Nick Foligno recently inked a major contract extension and has a five game point streak flowing to go along with the hugely influential Brandon Dubinsky returning to the fold, after 12 games back the big center is already a team leading +6.
I'm expecting Toronto to show signs of improvement but if they go behind the atmosphere inside the arena could take a real turn for the worse and I think Columbus can use that to notch a third straight win.
Best Bet: Columbus Blue Jackets at 2.90