The New York Islanders slipped to an extremely tough loss against Pittsburgh last night in the final minutes and now have to regroup quickly to go up against another division rival tonight.
A rejuvenated Philadelphia Flyers now look much more testing opposition than they did at the beginning of the month. Philly have more than doubled their points total and goals scored in the space of six games, taking 11 points from 12.
For all their early season struggles and the coaching change they are now above the Isles, so that's how quickly things can change. Captain Claude Giroux and the offence are finally taking the stress off goalie Steve Mason and a stretched defence, who have both coped admirably.
I'm expecting that attacking renaissance to continue as New York are now the third worst defensive side in the NHL. A repeat of a 5-2 win last month for Philadelphia looks likely. Considering where both teams are at, back the Flyers with a -1.5 handicap.
Neither Detroit or Ottawa have had a great time of it lately, but avenging a 6-1 defeat a month ago to the day, should be high on the Red Wings' agenda.
One victory in five for the Sens is better than the Wings' one in eight, though a stretch of bonus point losses kept Detroit on pace without them being particularly impressive.
A clean bill of health is a boost for Ottawa, whilst reporting absent for Detroit are their two major off-season signings Daniel Alfredsson (who would be set for another emotional meeting with his former club) and Steven Weiss, plus young defenceman Danny DeKeyser who had been growing noticeably in stature.
Gustav Nyquist was called up from the minors to fill the gap left by the formers and scored twice in his first appearance of the season. It seemed strange that he hadn't been involved from the start of the campaign considering their forward group lacks vibrancy.
What is even more worrying for Ottawa is the way they've been soundly beaten regularly through this current bad spell. I'm not sure how much longer Paul MacLean can keep giving Craig Anderson the majority of starts in net with Robin Lehner clearly outplaying him. Back Detroit to build on their long awaited success on Thursday at 2.10.
Philadelphia Flyers to overcome -1.5 goal handicap at 2.67
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