New York Rangers - New York Islanders
There’s another intra-NYC contest to savour tonight with both the Islanders and Rangers in real need of a positive result as two of the coldest teams in the Eastern Conference.
That's not to suggest that their plights are equal. The Blueshirts might be struggling but the Isles have been in complete free-fall for a couple of weeks now, with just the one victory via a shootout over the past 14 games.
It makes you wonder how much longer can coach Jack Capuano last. He had the team playing excitingly last season and the memories of their play-off participation plus a few recent bonus point losses must be placating GM Garth Snow for the time being.
Evgeni Nabokov's return from injury has perhaps surprisingly been the reason they've managed to pick something up, but their offence has quietened to such a murmur that his efforts weren't enough to earn a victory.
The Rangers almost knocked off Pittsburgh on Wednesday but ultimately couldn't earn what would have been their third win in December. Mats Zuccarello had another solid two point outing and they managed back to back three goal efforts for only the third time this season.
As unreliable as they've been at Madison Square Garden, if they can maintain that level then the Rangers should be good enough to overcome the -1.5 handicap at 2.65.
Carolina - Washington
Carolina's two successes over Washington have played a big part in keeping them in competition with the Capitals for second place in the Metro Division.
Although Washington do hold a four point advantage, a few shoot-out results going the other way would have made a big difference as the Caps have won a league high eight games in that manner.
In fact, no other club has won more than five and only two of their road wins for the campaign have come in regulation time.
The Hurricanes were boosted by a good performance in Phoenix and have had five days off since then. Significant long term injuries in defence were figured to cause damage to their chances but in actuality they've coped sufficiently up to now with a few rookies being thrown in at the deep end.
Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner are ploughing ahead largely without back-up at the lead of Carolina's offence. That being said, all their centers are strong two way players and won't make too many mistakes against the Caps leading lines that are in deficit at even strength.
Only the red hot Vancouver Canucks have sent the Hurricanes away empty handed this month and with their record in the head-to-head as it is, I think they are worth backing.
Back the Carolina Hurricanes to win at 2.40
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