Carolina Hurricanes at Montreal Canadiens
Carolina's brief upturn last month is long gone and replaced by a sequence of two wins from the ten outings, to make things worse Buffalo's own impressive streak has left them seven points adrift and propping up the East for the foreseeable future. It's no more, no less than a goal in each of the last five games too which is unlikely to bring you any success unless your goalie is playing lights out. Cam Ward isn't at that level any more and poor Anton Khudobin doesn't have a win in nine starts.
Whilst the Canadiens have their own issues, home form isn't one of them. Successive Bell Centre wins over Vancouver and LA have settled them down after a disappointing couple of weeks on the road. PK Subban has been leading the offence of late with nine points in seven games, and his eight goals for the season are equal to the total Carolina's entire defence has contributed, and that includes the five from Justin Faulk.
It'd be really poor for Montreal to slip up here on the back of two good results, so take the Habs over a -1.5 handicap at 2.40.
Edmonton Oilers at Arizona Coyotes
Little sign of an end to the turmoil in Edmonton as the 2-0 defeat by the NY Rangers on Sunday signaled the end of Dallas Eakins's tenure as Head Coach, with the club rooted to the foot of the NHL once again. For now GM Craig MacTavish will have an input whilst Todd Nelson steadily assumes an interim role moving up from their AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City. That's a bold move when the coaches revolving door suggests the problem is MacTavish and the team he has put together rather than the man stood behind the bench.
Tonight would be a good place to start improving, as Arizona are currently first in line if they want to get off the bottom of the West and are also short on form dropping four in a row on home ice taking a -11 hit to their goal differential in the process. The Coyotes' last victory came five games ago away in Edmonton and they've actually been reliant on this matchup with three of their ten wins for the season coming versus the Oilers. Reverse just one of those results and the teams are only a point apart in the standings.
Whilst star forwards like Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle sometimes get a free pass because the team spends the majority of the time defending and defending badly they can have few excuses for their inability to make the Oilers powerplay a productive one, put their PP efficiency in line with the Coyotes and again these two might be a lot closer. Only a potential spike due to the changes makes it worth backing the Oilers tonight but MacTavish is unlikely to be a boosting influence, I think the price of 2.02 on Arizona would be good regardless of yesterday's headlines.
Best Bet: Arizona Coyotes to win at 2.02.